Most of us consider a cornerstone a good, strong and most importantly, a positive thing. But what if the cornerstone in question is holding up the wall between you and success?
Many of us find ourselves working hard at removing the component bricks that make up the wall between ourselves and success. Brick by brick, stone by stone, we chip away at the mortar that holds our ineffectiveness in place, hoping that someday, one day, we’ll create a hole large enough to squirm through to the life we dream of on the other side. This may be the way we’ve been taught is the process to reaching our own version of success, but what if there is another way? What if we really can fell the wall by digging up just one foundational piece of masonry?
Instead of taking down the wall from the top, brick by brick, piece by piece, how about we look at what began building the wall in the first place?
A long, long time ago in a childhood far, far away, our sole mission in life was to gather information and make decisions based on that information that would ensure our survival into adulthood. Some decisions we made worked for us. For example, it was a good thing that I decided that jumping off the bridge over the Roaring Branch River during the spring thaw was not a great idea. Of course, seeing my ex-boyfriend Rick in a cast up to his hip helped in making that decision, but the decision itself was my own and it has served me well ever since.
However, there are other decisions that have been made in my life, mostly for the same self-preservationist reasons, and instead of contributing to a safe, happy and injury free life, they in fact became the cornerstones and bricks of the wall between us and success.
For example, one of my Godmother’s favorite sayings was, “Children should be seen and not heard!” A fine maxim for raising polite and well behaved youngsters, don’t you think? I’m sure that was her intention. After all, she made her living as an elementary school librarian.
Unfortunately, I decided that whenever I am around people who are (in my opinion) in authority, older, wiser, deserving of the pedestals I tend to put the people I idolize upon, or just plain somebody I admire, I clam up.
Not the most effective decision for someone who makes her living through communication, eh? It does tend to present its challenges.
I can hear a bunch of you now…. “Well, just speak up! You’re not a kid anymore! State your case and be done with it!”
Well, I’ve tried reminding myself to do that. Probably a couple hundred times, and still, it doesn’t make a difference. I end up just having a conversation with myself in my own head. (“Say something! NO! Go ahead, what have you got to lose? NO!” You know how those conversations go.)
So let’s look a little deeper….
If I were to really be straight about it and tell the truth about what taking my Godmother’s admonition to heart provided for me as a kid, I’d have to say that first and foremost, it helped me avoid being the target of “The Look”.
“The Look” was a way my Godmother had of staring you down that made you feel like if you even breathed wrong in the next 30 seconds, God himself was going to come kick your butt. Avoiding “The Look” was directly related to survival in my childhood.
Furthermore, if I was “good” and waited patiently (and quietly) until a grown up took notice and invited me to speak, I was rewarded with any number of things that were high on my list of desired items… a cookie, a compliment, a hug, a lap to sit on, even a favored standing within the mass of children that were my family.
So for me, waiting to be seen before I got heard was a way of both getting what I wanted and avoiding getting what I didn’t want. Powerful motivational stuff!
But not working especially well for me in the present.
As an adult, I can’t just stand on a corner and wait for someone to say, hey, here’s a nice fat check. How about you write me a few words on your opinion of whatever you want to talk about and have it ready by Friday?
Well, I could stand there and wait… but pretty soon I’d have grab a box and move in, you know what I mean?
But that would be the impact of living at effect of such a childish decision, wouldn’t it? To face facts, my business success is in the hands of a squelched three year old, trying to survive and maybe having a glimmer of hope to get a cookie along the way. Disgusting.
But that’s exactly my business results in the present.
So what can I do to make a difference here and now? How can I be different than the way I’ve always been? What would it take to make an impact on the results I now have in my life?
If I went back to the moments before I heard those words, and look at how I was being, what would I see there?
I’d see a delightful little angel, exuberant, excited about something she was just bursting at the seams to share with the world, especially with those people she knew were the most important people on the planet. I’d see a bright little point of light with ideas and perspectives to be explored adventurously like so much unknown territory. I’d see my Self, unfettered, willing to put it all out there, fully expressing myself ebulliently.
If I can take on being that ebullient three year old again, I just may have a chance of excavating that heavy cornerstone. With each unfettered conversation that I have in the face of that voice in my head (once my Godmother’s voice, now it’s my own) that tells me, “No, don’t say a word, wait until it’s safe to talk…” the masonry that is the barrier between myself and success gets rattled. Each excited, can’t-wait-to-share-this! word falls like the blow of a sledgehammer against that cornerstone, knocking it to kingdom come, destabilizing the wall, destabilizing the many bricks laid on it from above. New experiences of who I am and who I can be lift me up over the rubble, securing my steps over the wreckage of what once was this barrier between me and success. I come to know myself to be someone different than I have experienced myself as in the past.
In no uncertain terms, I have caused a miracle.