Sitting in a meeting where someone is clearly passionate about what they’re talking about does this thing to me where I catch fire too – I bask in the glow of their lit passions. They could be talking about anything from growing eggplants, to astrophysics, but I’m THERE. They take me on their journey, and I’m with them 100%.
I sit in amazement as my heart fills – and I always wonder how did she get there, to be so energetic, excited, and passionate in front of a crowd, yet not doing it FOR the crowd? How is she fearless, not thinking about whether her audience would think she was too much?
This happened yesterday at a Graduate Women in Science and Engineering luncheon. Our honored speaker was a notable astrophysicist, MacArthur Fellow, inducted in the National Academy of Sciences, and has seen gravitational waves with her own eyes. While I am a scientist and have a light interest in astronomy and physics, I must admit I kind of prepared myself to not understand much. But when Dr. Mavalvala stood at the podium and re-enacted what a gravitational wave does to us every second (it looked like a funky squat dance) I READ her passion without fear, and I liked the story I was reading.
I recently attended a wellness conference and all that time of deep breathing into my intentions and aspirations seems to have done me well. Since then, things I don’t need in my life have become clearer. I see you– those mental blocks, unkind critiques, feelings of failure that rain down cumbersome bricks in my path before I’ve even begun jogging far down the path to my dreams. I know where they come from.
I see you, thoughts.
I also see restricting (formerly positive) beliefs – those ones where I have a vision of the kind of life or mentor I thought I would have. [Personal AD: WANTED – Personal guide who will be my cheerleader, tell me I’m doing great, and introduce me to amazing people] I will still take applications, though! 😉
So here is what I’m doing differently.
I’m letting go of even my GOOD ideas – pretty shadows – of the ideal mentor, ideal career, ideal time in my life to have finished my Ph.D. Good as they may have been to help structure my journey thus far, they’re holding me back now and I don’t have time to live in fear and doubt. No time.
Let go of those “pretty shadows” and GO ON.
I’m entering into something I’m good at and like doing. I like connecting people and bringing people to think about solutions differently, together. I’m taking every opportunity to do so within the sphere of my life today, and it fills me up and makes me happy. There’s no reason to not do so. Sure, people may say it is a competitive world out there – you don’t want someone to steal your fire and go somewhere with it. I don’t want to live from a place of fear that someone is going to criticize me, be unkind, or steal my ideas. Some people may think you’re asking for too much. That may happen. But, I’ve got news for you: more often than not, people will admire your confidence and fearlessness to put yourself out there to make a positive change, coming from a good place, that glowing best self within.
Find the people that make you light up, and the topics that make your heart beat faster because you can’t wait to tell people about it, and make connections. Give people opportunities to shine, and that will add to your glow. The world needs more people who lift their heads up when they walk down the street and smile, with purpose. Care about the people you work with and meet, and it will change your perspective about what defines success in life. Find those problems you actually want to solve. Never forget the people who solved it with you along the way. Make an extra effort to listen extra carefully in those discussions that you might have before sat back in. There are so many opportunities to write the story that you would want to hear.
You’re just in time. Welcome to your story.