"I get by with a little help from my friends."
The other day I was working with a client, listening as she shared an important next step she wanted to take in a meaningful area of her life. Her energy around where she wanted to go in this particular area and how she wanted to get there was palpable through the phone. She was excited, energized and clear about things. She had obviously ignited her inner fire. And then, without missing a beat, she began to rake herself over her own coals. "But I never finish anything. I have great ideas, but never end up completing them." The energy that had been fueling a new and meaningful flame was in danger of being put out by the fire-hose of self-criticism. I could see it clearly because I've put out plenty of my own fires too.
The truth is, she is a fire starter, and always will be.
The truth is, she is not a fire tender, and never will be.
Time to make friends with her truth.
"You should probably make friends with the fact that you are a starter, not a finisher." Her world counts on her to be the spark. To light the fire. To lead the charge. That is how she is wired. These are the gifts she offers the world. That being said, she would probably do well to strengthen her completion muscles so that she can flex them when necessary. Together we came up with some steps that would help her in finishing, so that she could get on to more starting.
Making friends with the truth is the opposite of wasting time and energy wishing things were different. In fact, it is the most direct route to where we want to go. About seven years ago my husband and I took the big step of building a rustic home in the mountains. Our vision began a few years earlier over a glass of wine, as a drawing on a cocktail napkin. Our drawing depicted a rustic cabin in the mountains and we couldn't wait to be sitting in front of the fire "there". Somehow the cocktail napkin vision turned into a dinner size napkin home more akin to a lodge than a cabin. I love our home, and I wish it were paid off. I'd do it all over again, but I wish we hadn't taken on quiet such a hefty mortgage at this stage of our lives. But the truth of the matter is, we did. Living in the land of the wishing, makes it harder to inhabit the land of the living. So, I've decided to make friends with the fact that we still live in a lodge owned by our lender, setting me free (since that is what the truth does) to get on with the work that will take it off their hands.
Making friends with the truth isn't about giving up or giving in. It is about getting on with it! And doing so with the clearest possible view of the trail ahead. My nephew coaches for the Seattle Seahawks. So yes, win or lose, I am a rabid fan. As a team they have a practice called "Tell-the truth Monday", an all team meeting where the previous game is scrutinized, and everyone has the chance to tell the truth about their part in the game and its outcome. What they did well, and what they didn't. What they learned, and what they will do in the next game as a result.
Making friends with the truth empowers us to take hold of the keys to our own kingdom, rather than be a servant to it. With truth on our side we take ownership of life, instead of falling victim to it. I live in the Pacific Northwest, as do many of my nearest and dearest. Someday, probably sooner rather than later, we are going to be hit with the "The Really Big One." Cascadia, as it is known, is the magnitude-9 earthquake that will rock the world of about 7 million people in Oregon and Washington, and is expected to be the worst disaster in the history of North America. Now there is an inconvenient truth for you. Time for all who live here to make a new friend. And fast! My husband is a scientist and usually does a better job of making friends with the truth, since he has spent most of his life uncovering it. He reminds us that the best thing we can do is learn all we can about our "friend" Cascadia, and prepare ourselves and our homes to meet her if and when she comes to call. Friendship with the truth helps us worry less and live more.
Denial is a fair-weather friend who will run for cover at the first tremor, leaving us to fend for our unprepared selves.
Truth on the other hand, is always ready to brave the elements and clear our trail of the debris of delusion, excuses and blame.
What truth is extending the hand of friendship in your direction?
*With thanks to my sister Margie who first shared with me the phrase "Making friends with the truth". And to Kristine Van Raden for banging her hands together to bring this truth home in a new way. Read more on this thought by visiting: http://themattersthatmatter.com/2015/04/15/this-and-that/