Part 5 - Refusal of the Call - Again
Have you ever had different people telling you the same thing over and over and over in different ways, over and over and over, and yet you ignore them over and over and over. Not intentionally, not because you think you know better, not for any good reason, except, maybe you’re a bit scared.
So you ignore what you are being told. Over and over and over.
Way back when I stopped working as a contractor, as I was trying to figure out my next step, as I was navigating that path towards my fifties and midlife I wanted to have write a blog about my experience. I didn’t.
Partly because I wasn’t sure I would have the material to sustain a blog. But also, because in order to contribute anything useful I would have to be open and honest about my experiences, which would include the good and the bad and I wasn’t brave enough to do that. I was okay with the good, I just didn’t want to be judged about the bad.
One of the problems in midlife, that contributes to what may be considered a crisis is the idea that we should be doing better than we are. That we should have achieved more than we have. We get the idea that we have only one calling in our life and if we haven’t fulfilled it by now then we have failed.
But the truth is that we can be called to several things. They may have a common thread, or they may not. It may be important for us to do one type of job in our younger years and do something different after we have experienced life a little.
Sometimes though, that experience leaves us bruised and battered and fearful of coming out of our shells. This is further complicated by the uncertainty that comes with the hormonal changes that come with midlife.
And we refuse the call because we are afraid.
I look at the things I post on Social Media and I see that it’s the personal achievements that get the best engagement. And when I say achievements I don’t necessarily mean the times I’ve done something well. It can be when I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable or if I’ve done something people consider to be brave. Those are types of things people enjoy seeing me post. As a Methodist local preacher I know people respond well to my sermons because I include my own experiences.
And therein lies the rub.
I understand more and more that I’m being called to share my experiences, to share myself with others. Not to show off, and not to get sympathy, but to help others see what is possible or see that they are not alone.
My last challenge for the Every Day for 50 Days project click here to read (Day 50) was to get on a busy train and burst into song. I wanted to see how the passengers responded. I filmed this challenge live on Facebook and in the first 48 hours I got over 1000 views. I wasn’t used to this level of attention and it freaked me out because I wasn’t prepared for it. I didn’t realise the video would garner that kind of attention, so I wasn’t prepared for it. I would come across people who had seen the video – the feedback was always positive. But instead of spurring me on to do more I retreated into my shell. I have since done several live streams on Facebook and Periscope and got good responses. Yet still I hesitate when it comes to revealing myself on Social Media.
Is it a generational thing? We didn’t grow up in the age of social media, or is it that I don’t consider it to be valid use of my time? Or are these just excuses that cover up my fear?
When I first started out as a Career Coach, I got some marketing advice. I was told that I would be my best advert. That my best marketing tool would be to do as many speaking engagements as I can. This means in person and online. And now, six years later I’m still getting the same feedback. Do live events so people can get to know you. Use your Facebook page and YouTube channel and LinekdIn and Instagram and Twitter so people can get to know, like and trust you and I know they’re right.
A few weeks ago, at the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within seminar, I let go of a false belief I used as an excuse. A false belief that to be out there is dangerous. That isn’t the evidence I’ve experienced so far so I can’t use that excuse any longer.
So this is step one.
I’ve been called to help people by sharing my experiences, to share who I am and where I am. That means I share my achievements, but does it also mean I share:
· where I’m struggling like now,
· where things are bit difficult financially, like they are now
· where I feel a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks ahead of me, like I do now
Because I know there’s at least someone else out there who is feeling the same or similar, or who has felt the same or similar and if I can help that one person then it’s mission accomplished.
Like I said in an earlier post, we can continue to refuse to answer the call to adventure. We can refuse to do what it is we are being asked to do to help others. We can. The only thing is we lay ourselves open to that nagging feeling that there’s something that needs to be done. We know what it is, and we convince ourselves we should be doing something else.
But that feeling lingers until we answer.
It’s time for me to answer.
How about you?
To be continued…