“Everything on earth has been made by people who show up before they’re ready…
Let’s just all stop deeming ourselves unworthy of invitations to create and let’s just start trusting the Inviter. Let’s just all show up before we’re ready. Amen.”
Glennon Doyle on Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic Podcast, Sept. 23, 2016.
A couple of days ago I committed to working with a new coach for the next 7 months.
Interestingly, I am not terrified primarily because I just committed to pay several thousands of dollars that I literally do not have – though that is objectively rather scary.
I feel terrified because I know that now, for real, I am going to have to show up and do the stuff I said I want to do.
I feel terrified because I am going to have to take real on-the-ground steps to build a business that helps thousands of women, teachers, and college students to change the world while also caring deeply and joyfully for themselves.
I feel terrified because I am going to have to build an actual business. With people I hire, and then need to pay. Including myself. Not just a side gig that provides (if I’m lucky) a little “pocket money” and helps a couple of people to make their lives a little bit better.
And I’m not anywhere near done with the big work I’m doing to change the field of early care and education for the benefit of parents, teachers and children through my current salaried job. I’m not done working to raise the profile of the field of Early Childhood Education, to see investment increase across the nation, to see “my” teachers get the respect they deserve, to see working parents get the support they need. So, I’m going to need to build this business while still doing that work for the majority of my M-F, and sometimes beyond.
I know some people love the hustle. They love to be busy all day running from one thing to another. Not me. Some people find it torturous to sit in silence and reflect. Not me. I like to dream and write and imagine. I can do it for hours. I can do it for days. I’m afraid I won’t have enough of that kind of time if I commit to real action in the direction of my dreams. I’m afraid my soul will shrivel up and die for lack of nourishment. I really am.
But I’m MORE afraid of the kind of soul-death that I know will come from dreams deferred (if you don't know the poem I'm referring to check it out here.)
My dreams deferred, yes, but also the dreams of other women and students of color whose dreams are being deferred all over the country. All over the world. Through my reflection and dreaming and writing I’ve gotten pretty clear that I need to increase my capacity to stoke the fire of those dreams and help bring them into on-the-ground reality.
As I told my husband—after we spent a day crunching numbers so I could see FOR REAL what needs to happen in the next three years for me to create a viable business that will really help teachers, moms and college students—I prefer magical thinking. Dreaming without doing. Wishing without taking responsibility.
But my dreams aren’t going to come about without my participation. Neither are yours.
Mind you I’m not giving up on magic, miracles and dreams. I truly believe that our dreams and desires – they let us know what WANTS to happen. And when I’ve moved toward what I long for and feel called to do I’ve experienced the way that unseen forces – and real people – tend to show up to help in ways I can’t explain. Faith in those forces for good outside of myself keeps me going some days. It's essential.
But I also I know that the working out big change usually requires a whole lot of unsexy, often scary, feet-on-the-ground actions.
After all. I can’t help support teachers who have never come in contact with me.
And that mom who feels stuck and knows she has more to offer the world, but can’t quite figure out how to take another step? I can’t help her to get unstuck if she doesn’t know that I’ve been there and I know something about the way out.
And I can’t help change universities into places where under-represented and first-gen students thrive because they’re getting the support they deserve and need to figure out their own ways forward in systems that weren’t built for them—and need to be changed by them—if I don’t create new programs and start putting them in front of high level leaders who have the power to implement them.
And that’s what I want to do. I want to do all of these things.
AndI want to relax and love my husband and kids and buy cute clothes and go on vacation too. And I want to make good money to support it all. And I want to help other women make good money to support their dreams and their families and to challenge the stereotypes around making money being a bad thing that is somehow particularly incompatible with caring about and for children, or with making art, or with loving God.
Because money is a powerful tool we can use for good. We can invest it in beauty. In joy. In healing. In laughter. In our dreams. Money’s not the Source of all that, but on this Earth it’s useful. And we need good-hearted people to have more of it – artists, teachers, moms, advocates, allies. And lately I’ve been learning that often what has us stuck financially is, at its root, the same stuff that has us stuck in other ways.
So I’m putting my money where my dreams are. Because as powerful as my vision is, I know I’m very good at talking myself out of taking action.
As another great life coach, Martha Beck, said in her book Steering By Starlight "You will never realize your best destiny through the avoidance of fear. Rather, you will realize it through the exercise of courage, which means taking whatever action is most liberating to the soul, even when you are afraid."
I’m putting my a** on the line. I’m not ready, but I'm doing it anyway.
How about you?
What's your dream deferred? Show up before you're ready, Amazing One. I know you can do it. And I'm willing to be that some amazing goodness will meet you halfway too.
Here’s to thriving – and equity!
P.S. Do you want my help getting yourself unstuck? Sign up here for a free strategy session and we’ll see if we’re a good fit for each other. My commitment to you is that you’ll leave the conversation with more clarity about your next steps even if working with me isn't one of them. It will be worth your time either way. It will be a step in support of your dreams.
I only have one spot left for January-June 1:1 clients, so if you feel a nudge in this direction, don't wait until your ready. Sign up now.