I had my weekly coaching session with my business coach yesterday, and it was a humbling experience because I felt like I had run out of runway to take my life in the direction that I have wanted to for so long.
My writing business has taken a while to recover from losing an anchor client back in April. So for going on five months now, I’ve been trying my best to get a new one. Technically, this anchor client would be my coach: we barter writing services for coaching services.
But I have tunnel vision–no, myopia, about this goal.
And that’s a typical Capricorn–get that money!
But I am miserable.
And it’s not just because of limited funds. It’s that life has become about this one thing, and the rest of me is resisting–and rightfully so.
Last week, my coach and I talked about scheduling my time better (something that came up around this time last year). And I didn’t do anything about it last week because somehow time got away from me. 🙄
I dealt with the pressure of time pretty well last year. I was having these low-key panic attacks over writing, waiting until the last minute to get things done. I sought out an astrologer, we worked on those issues, and then I had more structure.
But then I slowly got out of the habit of having structured time to do the things I want and need to do.
Being so driven for one thing has made me dull. What am I outside of this one goal, outside of what is, or isn’t in my bank account?
I’ve quoted Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club before, but this quote really reminds me of what I am.
You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.
This individuation from old coping mechanisms–chiefly delaying gratification to the point that I never get any when tasks are done–it’s painful, but it’s also one that makes me laugh because this is when I feel like the all singing, all dancing crap of the world.
Coping mechanisms work until they don’t. I’m not sure how long I’ve been running on fumes, but I’ve reached the point that effort alone isn’t enough. Working hard isn’t getting me anywhere because I feel terrible and self-defeated about it. It’s an inescapable ouroboros of misery, a leminscate of terror.
When I reach out to people about business opportunities, it almost feels like I am tossing coins in a fountain, just wishing for something to come back. But I’m putting in much more effort and intention in every email and contact request I make.
Why can’t I give myself any credit for that skillful effort?
Sure, I can rewind back to how my parents were hypercritical of me, how they rarely gave me praise for any good I did. Their brittle view of their little girl and firstborn was one that already interfaced with my unyielding, intense, and, at times, cruel way I looked at myself.
Yet my “inner mean girl” never seems to be hurling insults and epithets at me–well, not that often. It’s more that she withholds any credit, any praise, any celebration of success. If I do celebrate, it seems stupid because it’s not the big win. That’s all that matters to me.
And what an empty life that is. It’s not self-discipline. It’s self-deprivation.
No carrots, just sticks.
Business is actually picking up, but I am acting like I’m going to go through my own personal recession again. The fear keeps me on this treadmill of terror. I keep running, running, running…and getting nowhere. I’m lost in a labyrinth of longing and loss.
I’m just tired, sweaty, and sore–and for all the wrong reasons.
And to my credit–having a successful business isn’t for some deep personal reason. I’m still doing this because there aren’t any other options right now. This is it. This is about survival. I am committed, whether I want to be or not–but I want to be.
What’s interesting about all this, too–this is all happening in the background. It’s subliminal messaging I’ve given myself probably for my whole life. It worked for a while, being this driven and merciless to myself.
But not anymore.
My coach asked me what success looks like–without this big win that I’m obsessed with.
It was laughable but ultimately sad because I didn’t think I was that successful.
My coach pressed back with questions: well, what about finishing your client work on time? What about following up on emails from prospective clients? How many people did you reach out to last week?
The problem is a lot of what I do just ends up disappearing into the ether of time. I don’t keep track. They are just tasks or events that occur, and I move onto the next.
I can only seem to congratulate myself for tough wins, like when I finished this project over the weekend that seemed to be mired in doubt and confusion from the client. So I just decided to finish it and hope for the best.
The client accepted the work and gave me a 5-star review. And here’s the GIF I used to celebrate:
I celebrated that win on Twitter today, but according to my coach, I should be celebrating much more often.
And back to how I grew up–we didn’t really celebrate much of anything, not even my birthday after a while.
But I am tired of feeling like life is a slog when it comes to my everyday life. If life is about the journey, not the destination, then it’s time to start acting like that. It’s time to start embracing the bulk of my life.
So my homework for this week is to schedule my time so I can start doing more of the other things I love–like tarot and astrology professional development, writing professional development, and journal about my work day.
Astrologically, I realized today that there’s a lot of restructuring (Saturn) and healing (Chiron) that has been going on in my life for the past few months. It’s uncomfortable, painful, and even embarrassing sometimes.
A lot of old hurts and wounds are being drawn to the surface for healing. But the timing isn’t quite right yet. But that’s OK. Healing is still in progress.
What’s funny is that so many times as I’ve been working to get to a place of OK to better, I always think–now the real healing is going to begin. I’ve finally arrived! But there are always layers, layers which have served as protection for a battered and weary heart.
The healing journey is never-ending, but it does get easier, because eventually there are less layers, even if we accumulate new hurts and wounds along the way. And also–we accumulate wisdom and other therapeutic tools to keep us safe and to help us heal more quickly.
This time, I’ll say again that this seems like I’m in the inner chambers of all that I’ve endured and what’s befallen me…and letting the weight of all the years just all fall off of me. I wish it was some dramatic reveal, like a slinky evening gown that I could shrug off.
And that’s because I’m impatient. And rightfully so. It’s been a constricting time–not only by circumstances, but my own almost grandiose ambitions and expectations I have for myself.
I hate to glorify suffering, but I can at least see some semblance of sanity woven through the last six years of my life. It’s like what I said last time, how my heart has expanded with empathy. I feel so much more connected to my fellow human beings because I’ve been so much closer to my dusty existence than the loftier life of the mind.
I didn’t have to choose that empathy, though. And I didn’t all the time. Sometimes I chose bitterness and entitlement–and sometimes I felt those choices were unavoidable and inevitable. Even still–choice or no choice–I want to choose differently now.
And failing over and over, but still rebounding and trying again after each failure–sure, that’s part of my journey as a double Capricorn, trudging up and sometimes falling down the mountain. But so is triumph, the mountaintop view.
That brings me back to what I believe success is. It’s not the just the glittery, glorious triumphs, the accolades, the praise and the parades.
It’s the gritty rebound.
It’s picking yourself up out of the mud and trying again. It’s letting people help you get up again. It’s helping others get up and keep going.
So it brings tears to my eyes to admit this to myself for the first time: my time in Florida has been extremely successful, that my life is a glittering, glorious success.
It’s time to feel good, and proud, about that.
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