Dear Brave Ones,
Sometimes the best gift of all is the gift you don’t want.
If you have been through a phase of your life when you keep getting crappy jobs, weirdo stress-inducing clients or projects that completely drain you, you have reason to celebrate.
Because you have received a gift.
The gift of contrast.
The gift of contrast is when you are shown something that is the complete opposite of what you DO want. These gifts show up in our lives to point us in a better direction and more importantly, to reflect on where we really want to go. And while they in no way feel like a gift at the time, with time and some reflection, you eventually see they were a way for the oh-so-cheeky Universe to say, ‘Um, no, you gotta head THAT way, over there… to land of calm and grateful clients.”
The other night I was having dinner (thai food - yum, my fave) with a great friend I met through a personal development workshop years ago. She - let’s call her Lisa - recently went back to a corporate on-site contract job after having worked remotely for the better part of two years. She thought she wanted to be back in an office where she could enjoy face-to-face collaboration, the energy of a cool downtown office, and that she would feel satisfied working more full-time hours. Unfortunately (or fortunately) Lisa had two contracts in a row as Project Manager and both suuuuuucked. The first one was led by a high-strung toxic boss with unrealistic expectations, and the second one was completely exhausting, annoying and just not in any way satisfying. I believe Lisa said at least once, “I just didn’t give a f*ck about any of it.” She was clearly not in the right place or with the right people. Lisa was not happy - and not having it.
Lisa’s story ends well because she is totally self-aware and done powerful self development work. She instantly knew she was being shown what she didn’t want - because she thought she DID want those jobs.
Sometimes the only way to know what you don’t want is to experience a shitstorm.
You have to get your hands dirty and see what it really feels like, and then you can experience the freedom of walking away from something knowing it is absolutely NOT for you.
So the next time you freak out about being served a challenging situation, think long and hard about whether you actually wanted it. Maybe you THOUGHT you wanted a high-power Creative Director job. Maybe you THOUGHT you wanted demanding Type A clients. Maybe you THOUGHT you wanted to burn the midnight oil 24/7 at a posh ad agency. But then once you were living those experiences you found yourself feeling disappointed, frustrated and sad. I, too, have been there (many, many times).
The way to gracefully handle these ‘reality wallops’ is to admit you DON’T want those things (yes, it is ok to not want what everyone else wants). Then muster the courage to head towards a new path. Even if the next path you find yourself on is not your true paradise, stay committed to honouring your feelings and allow yourself to explore a new route. If you keep going - and listen to your gut - you will eventually feel more at peace. You will be able to appreciate these stubborn gifts of contrast, thank them for their service, and head on your merry way towards graceful alignment.
To your brave success,