Today we have a great story from someone who’s been part of the community for the last few years – Louise Harrison. Louise shares how she has begun to overcome the insecurities that keep many of us away from really opening up in our relationships and how she is slowly but surely building the foundation within her to live a meaningful and purposeful life. It really is amazing to see someone begin to find inner confidence and strength in themselves and her story has some powerful lessons for all of us – how to learn to open up more, how to learn to trust and as her mentor Chris explains below, how to genuinely learn to accept and appreciate where we find ourselves, rather than constantly wishing things were different…
I hope this story helps you along your own path and if you’d like to share how you felt about this story or any realisations you’ve made, I’d love to hear from you…
“I am gradually learning that I don’t have to be this perfect person in order to achieve goals and build relationships, and that rather the way is by being where you are, being genuine…. not going into analysis of is this the right thing here, what can I do to impress or maintain approval. This realness and openness is exactly what I have enjoyed so much about reading the Lighthouse Breakthrough Experiences and feel such a sense of connection through what has been shared. I’m inspired to share some of my own own today.”
Learning to Share, Becoming Kinder Towards Myself & Less Ruggedly Individual
“As my self-awareness increases I am more able to notice and laugh at my sky-high expectations of myself, for example in thinking that if I can’t be perfect, I’ve at least got to explain something perfectly… and then in trying so hard, the actual essence of it gets lost… or….I land up not saying or doing anything at all (the ‘I don’t know’ effect). I am learning how much we create barriers to relationships for fear of opening up and how important it is for me to just share.
When I can take a step back and look at it, it really seems bizarre how we go about trying to be a certain way, say the right thing, not divulge any of our shortcomings or deepest feelings, challenges and desires, only to be really struggling and trying to work it all out on our own. This is when we could just be helping each other along, or just being a compassionate witness and fellow human.
It has been a long journey for me, being very sensitive and not knowing how to deal with it especially within environments like high school and then high-pressure work environments. I learned to become good at or at least rely on the mind stuff….being very analytical, so it has been wonderful to become more in touch with feeling which has really brought so much flow into my life. I tended to keep to myself, not realising how much I was shutting people out and unwittingly trying to build a little box for myself…. It helps to realise I am not working here as a little lone individual. For a long time I thought I had to do everything myself and not show any vulnerability to anyone. I would need to know and do everything; from practical issues like marketing and building a website to charting where it was I was trying to go in the first place as well as why and how I would get there. I didn’t think it was possible to have others really share and guide me and reflect things back to me, things I might not see, or be afraid of seeing…. and to help me get in touch with my own inner guidance (my vision and self-leadership).
When it Comes to My Gaps
One of my recent breakthroughs came when my mentor, Chris challenged me about something which I had previously not wanted to look at… I’ve found it very hard to look at my gaps with curiosity. At the time I was seeing the idea of having a ‘gap’ to address… as meaning a judgement or being a label of ‘this is bad’ or ‘something is fundamentally wrong’. I felt like he was being arrogant and not understanding me. However I was honest about my frustration and what he was bringing up and as we talked more I was able to see that gaps are not sticks to beat myself about with, or label judgement and cold measurement against, but rather the measure of opportunity relative to ultimate potential. I’m learning that not looking at an important aspect of something, even something already good, could really limit that potential.
Learning to Trust More
I’ve found it hard at times to relate to where someone is coming from, especially when that differed from what I thought needed to be done… or in a situation where what I want and what I need are two different things… I’d get really angry…(sometimes still do!), finding myself going into a spiral of emotions, thoughts spinning, feeling mistreated and like hope was lost.
Now I can recognise more quickly and easily when I’m in this negative place and take steps to get some perspective. I can be more open to how something could go differently than how I expected. I can appreciate that someone might have a larger plan and insight in mind, and if something was really amiss I have the ability to address it. At the heart of this is trust…. which is coming to be a central theme in my life and the values I am working towards, to trust in my progress, to trust more in relationships. This doesn’t mean I need to trust everyone with everything, but to be willing to trust in others, and especially myself will become increasingly important as I develop my life and business. Especially: to trust in the vision of what I wish to create.”
Learning From Louise – Slow & Steady Wins the Race
By Chris Nash, Director & Senior Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International
As you will have read above, Lou has been on quite a journey over the last few years and in mentoring her I have had the privilege of sharing parts of that. I’ve seen her go through deep dives where she has found courage she didn’t know she had and I’ve seen the quiet relief and self-appreciation that has built in her as she has started to believe in herself and others again.
Having someone entrust you to guide them into what for them is relatively unknown, uncertain and involves risk to them on many levels, for me is an incredible privilege and responsibility, which is never easy, but is incredibly humbling and gratifying.
From what Lou has shared I’d like to highlight one key area in particular.
Slow and steady wins the race…
It’s endemic throughout our whole society… Our desperation to be where we aren’t… Anywhere.. Just not here… and everyone is in a rush to get there… wherever that is..
I have met many, many people who are in a rush to succeed, without knowing what that really means to them or those they are trying to help to succeed. I know this only too well in myself and it is something I’m constantly working on.
Those who do truly succeed appreciate that there are certain fundamentals that need to be lived by in order for this to be possible and learning to live by these cannot be rushed! The degree to which this is done will result in optimal life experience and value creation. Those who are always looking for illegitimate shortcuts that reduce the quality of their experience and success invariably run from one mediocre (at best!) outcome to the next, never truly learning what they need to about themselves, people and how to create value in the best way possible.
Do you remember Aesop’s Fable ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’?
Well… when my mentor told me almost 10 years ago that he was a tortoise rather than a hare, I didn’t believe him and I didn’t believe that even though the tortoise won in the story – that wasn’t what was best, it certainly wasn’t what society had taught me! However many years later I am very grateful to be understanding what that means, why it is so crtitically important, why he is a tortoise and why people like Lou who have a steady depth while building meaning and passion are those that can be trusted to keep coming back to what’s most important.
We have had many, many critics over the last 10 years who have complained about us being tortoises, some of whom are now becoming our greatest supporters. We’ve kept plodding and stretching and these Breakthrough Experiences and more so the people who share themselves so generously in them is one meaningful fruit of that, there are many more…
Let us remember…
Life is a unique journey for each of us and in the end when we choose the road less travelled, the race is only with ourselves…
If you really slowed down and worked out what was important to you and what needed to change, however quickly it happened, then what do you think would happen?
Watch Disney’s 1934 rendition of the classic – The Tortoise & Hare. There is much we can learn from it in terms of the tortoise and the hare that represent individuals and organisations around us today…
Road Image courtesy of Moyan Brenn @ Flikr