Everyone needs guides in life – someone who has paved the way and can teach us how to overcome circumstances and reach for success.
I’ve had my fair share of them.
In my childhood, when everything around me was chaotic, we had a neighbor who took us into her care when my father was too drunk or violent, or my mother was out working late hours to keep food on the table. Peggy, our neighbor, was my first major guide toward the possibility of a brighter future. The simple nurturing act of sharing meal allowed us to participate in healthy family moments, which allowed me to envision a future free of addiction and poverty.
My second guide was a social worker and psychiatrist who helped me when I gave my daughter up for adoption, and who believed I could be more than I thought I could be. I was a textbook example of a troubled teen, and it would have been easy to dismiss my self-destructive choices as insurmountable. She reached into my darkness and offered a lifeline of possibility and hope when she encouraged me to get an education. She helped me open up a dream.
In my thirties, I started therapy to move beyond the destructive fear that kept my self-worth in the basement of my existence. I had to get over the general anxiety that life was meant to crush me.
Looking back on that period it amazes me that somehow I was that person who was so utterly baffled by life’s challenges. Working with a therapist I began to see that I was so much more than the limited person I thought I was: my mind had been closed to positive possibilities because I was afraid of getting hurt.
With my background of abuse, I felt invisible a lot of the time. I felt that no one was seeing the real me. So I spent a greater part of my life asking for approval. It was the rope around my neck, frankly. Always seeking someone else to validate you is a set-up for failure. It leads to disappointment if you don’t get it, and a distrust of whether it’s real or not.
I’ve spent a lot of time, resources, and angst over the years in Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, workshops, self-discovery tours, coaching, past life regressions, Gestalt, Reiki, Treiger, inner-child work, singing therapy, martial arts, spiritual retreats, and a whole lot of other modalities that have been my guides over the years. Frankly, I was a mess, and when I learned how to stop thrashing and went beyond survival mode, I learned how to thrive.
I’m often asked why did I get into the business of fear?
It’s simple. I had to find a way to overcome my self-imposed fears. My self-doubt. My lack of self-worth. The feeling that somehow I was unlovable. That I would never amount to much (I have to thank my father for that message!) I needed wise people to lead the way.
I had to learn to trust my inner wisdom and learn how to trust the decisions I was making for myself.
Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly. – Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
You’ve heard the expression that it takes a village. No one succeeds entirely on their own. Now more than ever we need sounding boards. We need wisdom from those who have been there, done that, and know what it takes to do things differently.
So who are your guides? Do you have a trusted advisor who keeps you moving forward toward your desires and needs? Are you ready to take the next step and move beyond the limitations that are holding you back?
Jacqueline Wales is the author of The Fearless Factor and The Fearless Factor @ Work, and the soon to be published Fearless Women Leading The Way. She is also a trusted advisor to accomplished women who have taken their own fearless journey, Please visit the website for more information