Imagine a knock at your door. You open the door and are greeted by a very dear friend. Before you can say anything your friend reaches out to hand you the most beautifully wrapped gift you've ever seen. Just seeing it fills you with excitement and happiness. It fills you with hope, a sense of expansion, and wonder.
With eager anticipation you reach out to accept this beautiful gift, but just before you touch it you freeze, step back, and refuse to accept it. All the excitement and wonder you just experienced instantly turns into fear, doubt, feeling unworthy, not good enough, and that certainly your friend mistook you for someone else when they presented you with such a beautiful gift. In fact, you completely shut down and slam the door shut.
Has this scenario ever happened to you? You're first reaction might be “Of course not!” But I suggest that it has, on does on a daily basis.
Throughout the day you have ideas, gifts if you will, visions of things you could do, the person you could become, lives you could touch and influence, and a positive impact you could have in the world around you. Yet as quickly as they appear, you usually dismiss them because you don't think you're good enough, worthy enough, have the time or resources, the right person to do such a thing, etc., etc., etc.
And when you quickly dismiss such ideas, it like stepping back and slamming the door shut. These ideas/gifts aren't presented to you to show you how inadequate your are. Just the opposite. They're shown to you because they are real possibilities that exist within you.
I believe you're never given an idea without the potential to fulfill it. Now it's likely true that in order to do so you'll be required to step out of your comfort zone, stretch and grow, and perhaps even stub your toe a time or two. That's often the process of learning and growing, of evolving into the person you are here to be.
Just as you would never treat a dear friend and their beautiful gift to you in such a way, I encourage you to rethink the way you treat these glimpses of potential, these ideas, that come to mind. They're beautiful gifts being presented. In reality, if the above situation happened you'd likely react quite differently. You'd welcome your friend in, undo the wrappings and ribbons to see the gift, and even if you didn't like or need it, you'd graciously accept it and express thanks.
How do you begin to welcome and acknowledge these ideas and gifts? Here's a 5-step process to get you going:
- Write down or record a voice memo of all the ideas you receive during the day. This is a great place to start if you don't believe this really happens for you on a daily basis. My clients are always surprised at how many ideas there really are. At the end of the day, read through or listen to all the ideas. You'll likely notice some of them sound really good, and even lead to more ideas around the subject, and others might seriously be gifts you don't like or need. What often happens for people who do this for several days in a row or longer, is that many of the ideas share a common theme.
- Thoughtfully sort through your ideas. It's to be expected that not all the ideas you have are worth keeping or acting on, but you'll never know until you take a closer look. If an idea:
• make you feel excited and brings up fear or doubt at the same time, that one's a keeper!
• sounds good and you find yourself thinking “there's no way”, that's a keeper too!
• holds absolutely no interest, or leave you feeling neutral it's likely you can let that one go.
- Choose one to explore and act on. This exercise wouldn't be complete without doing something with the new ideas you've discovered. Spend some time meditating, automatic writing, or other reflective, insightful activity to help you get to know this idea better. Next, create 3 – 5 next steps you'll take. Keep it doable.
- Talk about it regularly with others. This starts to make it real and interact with the idea more frequently. Share your ideas with others you trust and who support you. You'll likely be surprised at the positive feedback and encouragement you receive.
- Actively seek the help you need along the way. Finding great mentors and coaches will move you light years ahead. The Lone Ranger attitude generally slows progress or leaves you frus trated and stuck.
Oh wait, what's that I hear. I believe someone's knocking on your door!