There was a time when everything was possible. It didn’t just seem possible, it was possible. Nothing could stand in your way. No obstacle was too big, no challenge too great. Those were the days. Remember them?
Maybe you do, or maybe they have slipped from memory, nothing more than a vague and distant recollection of something that, once upon a time, was better. Nowadays, where once you pursued the cry of your soul with the heart of a lion, you pull yourself through each day, longing for that chance to slide into the chair, glass of beer or wine in hand, and just unplug from the drudgery of the day. What happened? Where did it all go wrong?
You stopped being you and became someone else: a version of you constructed by the people and circumstances in your life. A version that was compliant. A version that didn’t rock the boat. A version that did what was ‘right’, instead of what was right. A version of you that simply wasn’t you.
But you – the real you – never went anywhere. You just slipped from view, overshadowed by the multiple versions and personas of you that took shape as you sought to ‘fit in’ and keep the wheel turning. All that potential that once you found impossible to contain is still there, just waiting to be unleashed. Those dreams – they still live on, just waiting to be brought out to play once more.
So if the real you is still present, if your potential still waits to be set free, and those dreams still long to be explored, why is it so damned difficult to break out of this prison to which you have become so accustomed?
Because the world doesn’t want the real you. The world is so determined to suppress the real you that it will do everything within its gift, and sometimes beyond that gift, to contain the disruptive, unruly, radical, pioneering, unconventional, revolutionary force that simmers within you; while building and supporting that version of you that maintains the status quo, that plays the game, that toes the line. That version of you that is not you, at all.
And so you go to your cubicle, your station, or whatever your work may require, and you follow the rules. You have learned not to think for yourself, not to question or challenge, not to search for answers or alternatives. You do the work, you collect your paycheck, pay your bills, drink your glass of wine, watch your mini-series, and then you do it all over again.
Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
And you know that sucks. But what choice do you have? What alternative is there? This is just how life is. To believe it could be any different is naive. In fact, it’s not just naive, it’s unhelpful and destructive, because the discontent you feel when you dare to dream of what might have been threatens to derail everything that you have come to accept as normal.
But what that discontent threatens to derail is not normal. Not even close.
Normal is the full glory of your potential unleashed. Normal is the excitement of dreams pursued. Normal is the wonder of disruption, innovation, evolution and chaos. Normal is the real you, fully alive. But how do you find normal?
It’s a process, and it starts with what we talked about last week – finding real happiness. Because, as you find that real happiness, and begin to unlock the real you and step into your best life, that heart of a lion that used to beat so fiercely begins to beat once more, and those obstacles and challenges that have become so insurmountable begin to crumble. And those dreams that once burned so brightly begin to glow once more.
And, as with any process, you have to start somewhere. So, start where you are.
Where you are, right now, what is your biggest obstacle? What is your biggest challenge? And what is your biggest disappointment? Make a note of each of those. And then, for each one, consider why you think that. Make a note of that, too.
Now dare to imagine what life might look like if that obstacle and that challenge were not standing in front of you. What possibilities would be open to you? What space would be created? Write down some ideas.
And how might you go about tackling that challenge and that disappointment. What could you actually do to dismantle them?
Then turn your attention to your biggest disappointment. What would put that right? How could you overcome the disappointment you feel, and replace it with excitement and fulfilment? What would that look like? Capture your thoughts on paper.
Now bring it together: without those biggest of obstacles and challenges in front of you, what opportunities are there to address that biggest of disappointments? What would need to happen to bring into reality the excitement and fulfilment you just captured on paper a moment ago?
You now know what needs to change. So change it.
Look, it may not feel like it right now, but your potential is limitless, so set it free. Start today by committing to just one of those actions that you identified as something that would take a wrecking ball to things that stand between the version of you that you are today and the person you really are.
Little steps. That’s all that’s required. And, piece by piece, the blockages will fall away and the real you will emerge once more.