I Have a Rule for Myself

How many times have you been offered an opportunity that would thrill and fulfill you, if it goes well? The “if it goes well” is what seems to trip me up a lot. You know the questions – What would you be doing if you knew you’d be successful? What risks would you take if you knew that you’d be safe? What would you try if you knew you couldn’t fail? If money and time were no barrier, how would you choose to spend your time? Since we don’t know if we’ll be successful, safe, free of failure, and endlessly abundant in time and money, do these questions just remain theoretical? Or do we use them as a guide to what our hearts really deserve to experience?

This is where my vision board comes in. It feels pretty safe to me to put pictures of my goals and motivational sayings on a board that I’ll see daily. I look at them and feel the excitement I’ll have if I accomplish each goal. I look at the pictures of women from magazines and Google Images and imagine that I’m the one sitting lotus style at the ocean, feeling peaceful, hearing the waves lapping, watching the faraway horizon alight with a glorious sunrise, as bills of money fall gently all around me. Yeah, that would work for me. Or perhaps I’m the woman who is swimming in the infinity pool outside of her mansion that is nestled between trees, mountains, and a gorgeous lake in what I imagine is Colorado. I may be the person standing in front of a microphone on a stage speaking inspirationally to what seems to be thousands of people. That would be exciting. Perhaps I’m holding the hands of the children from all over the world in one picture. I might be the woman leading workshops and potentially changing lives. Or maybe I’m the free-spirited woman singing and playing guitar around the campfire on the beach, warmed up by true friendships, long summer nights, and my talented self. There are many more versions of ideal future me, nestled among powerful mantras, all over these boards I have.

All of this seems safe and pleasant until I am faced with the possibility of some of these images and inspirational sayings becoming my reality. Which is amazing. And…terrifying. I have some real dreams and goals for this one life that I am currently experiencing and as exciting as it is to think that I may realize some of these desires, it’s also scary to think that given the opportunity, I may fail at them.

So now comes the deliberation. The age old question – Which is worse? To try something and fail at it or to never try something that I’d love to do? I’m actually not sure. I would do anything to avoid embarrassment. But I also want the opportunity to live an abundant, fulfilled life and I can’t get there if I don’t take some chances. I could analyze this forever, ensuring that I get no closer to my intentions as I take no new risks. It’s an exhausting process.

About a year ago, to combat this analysis paralysis, I made a rule for myself. If an opportunity presents itself to me that aligns with something on my vision board, something that I put out there before I considered all of the doubting thoughts, then I must say Yes. I am not allowed to deliberate or give fuel to the gremlins in my head that give me just enough fear of failure to protect me against any possibilities of screwing this up. I am required to access inner confidence and Fake it Til You Make It-ness to forge ahead into the wild unknown, following the pathway laid out by my more enlightened inner self.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve had a few chances to use my rule. I will admit that I started to become overwhelmed. I wondered if maybe the universe has gotten me confused with someone else as the windows of opportunities kept presenting themselves. I decided that it would be okay to skip out on one of the possibilities being asked of me and I told my friend that I was going to decline the offer. As soon as I shared that a voice popped up, “You can’t decline Mom. What about your rule?” And I realized that this rule is not just for me. Apparently this rule has been noticed by my kids. And showing them that having the courage to try new things and go after your dreams is what’s going to lead them to lives filled with intention and purpose. Nothing will stand in their way if they embody this rule because once you say yes to one opportunity, another knocks on your door.

So I said yes. And it’s been fun! There is definite nervousness at times but overall, it’s been a very helpful rule. I bypass days of anxiety and making everyone around me crazy with my indecisiveness and I just make it happen. I carve out the space and time where before I had none. I access the creativity where before I was blocked. I conjure up the confidence where before I was nervous. And I permit my dreams to come true. I allow the images on this board to come to life and as I do I gaze at them with joy, and dream anew, adding new goals for myself, knowing that I can create my own experiences of life and I choose to go big. And when I do arrive on that island that rains money, I’ll be sure to let you know!

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