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Are You Here Willingly?

I was recording my podcast episode for the week and I had a discovery or a realization in the middle of it. This is the kind of thing that used to happen all the time, but hasn’t happened in a while and so it was fascinating when it did.

One of the things I’ve been writing about in my new book, The Art of Self Mastery, is the idea of having a captive audience. One of my biggest beefs with teaching school children was that they were captive; for the most part they didn’t want to be there. I did not enjoy teaching people that didn’t want to learn what I was teaching.

I was recalling my time spent teaching computers. I taught basic skills, things like sending emails and organizing folders. I was teaching newbies how to use a computer. My audience was generally people that needed to learn computers to keep up with their grandkids or for their jobs. They weren’t a willing audience necessarily. Do you see the problem here?

When I started my healing journey I wasn’t a willing participant in this journey either. I was doing this as a means to an end. I had goals that I was going after. It wasn’t until only 4 or 5 years ago that I started doing this willingly. I realized in the middle of telling these two stories that the problem with my computer business was that I was teaching skills that didn’t match the group I wanted to teach.

I wanted to teach people that wanted to learn computers. I wasn’t teaching skills to people that were interested in expanding on what they already knew. I was teaching beginners. They hadn’t yet reached the part of the journey where they enjoyed it and wanted to learn more. They were just getting started. Oops.

My argument was in who my audience ended up being at the time. I was telling myself a story about my audience that wasn’t true. I didn’t connect to the idea that beginners don’t necessarily want to be there.

You see I willingly learned computers. The internet just became a thing as I was turning 19 or 20 years old. I willingly wanted to engage with that. What I wanted to do was find other people that were like me. But I was now in my late 20’s and early 30’s and I wasn’t catering to a teenage audience. I was looking for people that were my age and older. The people that were my age that had avoided computers were doing so because they didn’t want to learn them. Suddenly they were finding themselves forced into it for one reason or another and that would bring them in my direction. But I didn’t want them because they weren’t there willingly.

I created my own problem yet again. If I had targeted my beginner skills to kids or even teenagers, I probably would have had a lot more success because I would have found a willing group in a younger crowd. That would have changed the game entirely.

When I started this, I also started catering to a newer crowd, to people that were just awakening. I got led very differently by my intuition, which is a good thing. I would have ended up on the same problem train as I did with my computer business if I hadn’t followed my intuition.

I have a thing with teaching beginners and it’s got a lot to do with my lack of confidence. If I teach beginners then I don’t have to question my skills. My confidence in teaching people that knew a bit more wasn’t as high so I stuck to what felt safe.

I’ll spare you some of the details here, but it’s offering me some interesting questions around some of what I share and whether that’s attracting people that aren’t yet doing some version of this willingly. It’s an interesting idea that I will sort out in my private writing to spare you the pain! :)

So let’s talk about willingness for a minute because I think that idea is important. Let’s put this out here right now before we go anywhere. There is nothing wrong with beginning the journey because you’re in pain and you’re trapped and you need a way out and this seems like the only viable option you have left. It’s not a willing journey, it’s just a needed one. That’s where I started. That is my story. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that story.

Willingness often comes later. Why? Because willingness gets buried in the pain. Willingness requires one to be okay with what they are about to do. It requires acceptance. Acceptance requires healing. Sometimes you just have to get there first.

The place I want to go has an address on a specific street. I have to get to that street before I can get to that address. There may be multiple different streets between me and the street I need. I have to navigate those other streets first and eventually I will get to the street that I need and the place that I want to go. That is in fact how healing also works. You have to navigate the other streets, the other smaller goals, to get to the main road you’re trying to find. The street where willingness hangs out just comes later in the route sometimes and that’s okay.

There are other people that are better suited to helping manage the earlier parts of the journey. I am here for the ones that have tried the other maps and not had much success. I’m here for the ones that aren’t completely terrified of the journey.

Can I talk about fear? Yeah, all day. I sat in that nonsense for a long time. Me and fear go way back. We’re old friends. Can I help you when you hit a hurdle and the fear kicks in? Absolutely. Do I want to try to convince you to heal or go on the journey when you’re not yet willing? No. Am I going to make you do the thing? No. The only thing I ask is that you’re willing to face it and go there, fear or not.

Willingness matters. Sometimes willingness comes from a goal or motivation to get somewhere or do a thing. That was certainly my experience. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the goal has to be enough to get you over the hurdle so that you become willing. I can’t teach you willingness. You have to have that innately. That has to be built into the framework because I can’t convince you or give it to you if it’s not already there.

Willingness became a sticking point for me when I started my teaching journey with captive audiences. From there I moved to lack of confidence in my skills, which kept me teaching people that were earlier in the process than I wanted them to be. Then I had a mismatch between what I was teaching and who I wanted to teach. Now there is not as much of a mismatch, but I was still missing some of the mental clarity that would allow me to understand who I wanted to work with and what that needed to look like. Now that piece will fill itself in and make sense.

My goals were such that my willingness to do the work was greater than the fear I needed to sit in along the way. My willingness to do the work resulted in a life-changing commitment to a discipline of regular self-improvement. That’s how I got here.

Before I finish this blog up for another week, I just want to remind you that it never stops; the learning keeps happening. Make that okay. Continue to learn. Continue to allow yourself to explore the things you find along the way. Don’t stop just because you think you’ve already done it or you should be past it. It’s there for a reason and your job is just to figure out what that reason is. Sometimes it’s pretty simple and sometimes it’s more complicated, but regardless of why it shows up, it’s important.

I honor these little realizations even when they come through in old ways, the same way I honor the bigger things, the things I think are more important. Why? Because it all has value. I don’t know which things are going to matter more in the long run. I just know that sometimes perception can be a little wonky and that what I think is not so important now may turn out to be critical later. I take it all in and I enjoy every second of it.

If you got this far, thanks for reading. I appreciate you and your support of my writing journey.

Love to all.



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