Life happens, and...
Recently I had the opportunity to hear Former Massachusetts Attorney General, Martha Coakley, speak at a Chamber Networking Breakfast. I had no idea that I would enter the breakfast as one person and leave as another. I may have looked the same: same blue shirt, same black slacks, same pearl necklace and pearl earrings; however, something significant had begun to shift inwardly as a result of what Ms. Coakley shared. I had a new spring in my step as I headed back to work.
Ms. Coakley's career is marked by perseverance, courage, and strength of character. She has been a candidate in 7 political races and won 4. When someone with her scope of experience says she is going to share her rules for success, I started rifling through my purse for a pen and paper. I was determined to get these down even if I had to write them on the back of a napkin.
Her first five rules were:
- Life is not a dress rehearsal
- Lean in
- If you don't run, you can't win
- Confidence comes from experience
- Be prepared for lifelong learning
When she gave her 6th rule, something inside me stirred: Define yourself. Don't let others define you. For emphasis, her 7th point was: Don't forget rule #6. Then she recommended a book to reinforce her point: "You Are a Bad***", by Jen Sincero.
I am a strong believer in the power of personal affirmations. I have declared with emotion everything from, "I am a business builder magnet" to "I love looking like a hotty in my size 6 body". I have affirmations written on my bathroom mirror, on my screensaver, in my journal, on my Vision Board, and on sticky notes throughout my home office. However, I can honestly say, I have never considered chanting to myself: I am a Bad***.
As I reflected on rules 6 and 7 on the train ride home, I asked myself who or what defines me? How often do I let the opinions of others color my opinion of myself? When do I let my circumstances define me rather than choosing to define my circumstances? What shifts could I make to be less affected by the opinion of others? I decided the first step was to order the BAD*** book Ms. Coakley recommended.
When it arrived two-days later, I noticed the subtitle: "How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life." I couldn't wait to crawl into bed that night and start reading. When Ron complained about the light, I held up the book so he could read the title and said, "Don't mess with me." He chuckled, rolled over and covered up his head with an extra pillow.
I wasn't very far into the book when I read this statement: Watching someone else totally go for it can be incredibly upsetting to the person who's spent a lifetime building a solid case for why they themselves can't.
I paused and asked myself where in life I was making excuses and letting myself off the hook. What limiting beliefs were running my show and keeping me from taking accountability for my results? How often do I use my age, my education, my family, or my circumstances as an excuse for creating mediocre results?
The next thought to jump out at me was: You've spent a lifetime creating the reality you presently have based on your limiting beliefs. If my current circumstances were created with limiting beliefs, what could be possible if I chose to grow those beliefs? What could I experience and contribute if I refused to limit possibility by letting myself off the hook? My answer was given a few pages later: Our fantasies are our realities in an excuse free world.
As I put the book down for the night, I asked myself if I was ready to live in an excuse free world. Was I ready to embrace new beliefs designed to create a new reality? What would life look like if I chose to be a BAD***?
I haven't finished the book so I don't know all the ramifications of approaching life like a BAD***; however, to quote my new inspiration, Jen Sincero, "Your job isn't to know the how, it's to know the what and to be open to discovering, and receiving, the how." That translates to me as: WATCH OUT WORLD!!!! MAKE ROOM FOR THIS BAD***.