He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction
that human beings are not born once and for all
on the day their mothers give birth to them,
but that life obliges them over and over again
to give birth to themselves.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
Since last I wrote. . .
You’ve zoomed your eyes out, experimented with styles of masks, all of which fogged-up your glasses, indulged in all sorts of exotic and comforting Trader Joe’s and Costco’s delicacies, managed (put up with?) the virtual peculiarities of colleagues and clients, spent waaaaay too much time getting to know the Tiger King, the Mandalorian and the Queen’s Gambit, and took up an array of new physical exercises you may or may not stick with now that we’re venturing out with more resolve.
It hasn’t been easy. But here we are. A new Spring and you survived, and I hope those near and dear to you have as well.
I was sidetracked for a while with some health issues and although I had to pull back on some projects, I continued to teach and coach. Hey, I’m from NYC and the show must always go on!
I’ll admit, in looking back on the past 14 months I marvel at what a number of my clients and students have accomplished.
My godson Finn finished his AA degree and decided to head off to Texas to join his family in a new venture. Jeff, who’s cut my hair for over twenty years, bought a house in the desert and is looking to turn it over into an Air BnB in retirement. Stacy stopped saying she wasn’t “enough” and applied for a job at a company she’s keen on working at. Melissa is packing up her family and heading to Canada for the luxury of a writing fellowship. And Raz? Well, he read War and Peace! Yes, I was gobsmacked when he casually mentioned this to me.
And my students at UCLA Extension continued to engage in workshops and classes that asked them to experiment with thinking and doing things differently.
And for some, like me, there’s the wistful sense of, “I should have done more.”
No matter, for as we’ve all learned (the hard way) there’s only TODAY. And so, at the beginning of this new Spring, we continue to grapple with the question, “What am I going to do now?”
There’s just the now.
As the writer Kazuo Ishiguro said,
“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.”
For the folks I just mentioned, each reached a moment where they said: Enough!
They said: No more to the cycle of fear and lies.
They wanted more than what they’ve been doing or what they’ve had.
Tired of the B.S. that would have persisted even without Covid, they took action.
They did something new or at least tried something new or invited into their life someone new.
In and of itself the “new” didn’t change their lives.
It was the sheer act of embracing something or someone new that has set them on a course of change.
Read a book
Applied with new strategy for a job
Sought to reward themselves with the luxury of a fellowship
Tip-toed into a new relationship
Settled in a culturally different city
Challenged themselves to learn a skill set that they previously thought, “someday”
Tried on a different attitude
What does it mean to be confident?
to be confident means
To embrace the new in times of normalcy and in times of upheaval
How do you do this?
How do you “do” the new?
There are 3 steps. . .
Know your demons.
Yes, it sounds dramatic! What I mean is you have to understand your fears and why they are fears.
Fear is grounded in story. What Audible story do you lull and paralyze yourself with?
Does the thought of the new drain you? What Lie are you telling yourself?
Does the thought of the new make you afraid? What Lie are you telling yourself?
Does the thought of the new make you emotionally shut down? What Lie are you telling yourself?
Renowned psychologist William Perry shrewdly observed –
Whenever someone comes to me for help, I listen very hard and ask myself, “What does this person really want— and what will they do to keep from getting it?
The first step is to ask yourself – What do YOU really want and what are you doing to keep yourself from getting it?
Devise a Plan, a Strategy.
Not a permanent plan. Not a perfect strategy.
Just something you can begin doing and then you can make adjustments as you go along.
Take a Class. Enroll in an online workshop. Find a Mentor at work. Seek out a Coach. Locate an accountability buddy.
Each of the folks I mentioned, along with others like them, followed these three steps.
I’m not going to say any of it is “easy” because it’s not. It is though straightforward.
Prentis Hemphill, who in his podcast, “Finding Our Way,” helps explore healing and social justice, believes that –
Each of us has a brilliant piece of the puzzle to share.
I love that.
I admit, over the last six months I became distracted and lost sight of this truth.
But it is never too late to remember truth.
Whatever the “new normal” may look or feel like, let it have a renewed brilliance
because it has a renewed YOU. . .
THAT is the business of confidence. . .