I don’t think of myself as a swearing man, but…
Warning: This post contains adult language.
I’m hoping you might be so lucky, too.
The luck part isn’t about whether it will happen to you. Lightning will almost certainly strike a few more times in your lifetime, perhaps even this year. It’s about whether you’ll benefit from the liberation it’s offering — or whether you’ll fight it or run, which was my initial instinct.
I got lucky because I recognized a strong personal signal that tells me lightning is striking: I started swearing under my breath.
Fortunately, I’ve learned that if I start silently uttering a specific expletive as someone’s coaching me, they’re actually revealing a breakthrough opportunity for me to change. I’m swearing because I’m resisting the discomfort that will accompany the change.
This time, I was with a group of incredibly accomplished people whose respect and support I hoped to maintain. I was asking for their advice about some important work I wanted to create.
My friend, Ara, interrupted me. “Daveed! What are you doing? You keep fighting for your limitations!!!”
Completely unconsciously, I’d been talking about how difficult things would be. Ara’s feedback made my body temperature spike to what seemed like 900º. I felt embarrassed, and I just wanted him to SHUT UP so the feeling would go away.
I don’t think of myself as a swearing man, but…
First, I tried to politely wiggle out of the conversation so Ara would stop talking. “Yeah, Ara. I know, I know,” offering some excuses and explanations. Truthfully, I really wanted to shout “F*** you!” and walk away.
But Ara wouldn’t let it go. For at least 15 minutes, he just kept putting it back in front of me every time I tried to redirect him to something else. ANYTHING else.
After several rounds of cat and mouse, my internal “F*** YOU!” voice grew so loud that I realized it was one of those breakthrough moments. Today, I can thank him for being relentless.
He was opening a door for me.
I took a deep breath, then I started to coach myself to stay present and just take in what Ara was saying in spite of my extreme discomfort.
Ara wasn’t putting me down. He was challenging me to step up.
When I stopped trying to fight him, I started to realize he was right. In my 900º state, I didn’t yet know what to do. But my resistance had started to melt.
Lucky for me, the eventual outcome was a permanent upward bend in my life trajectory that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t recognized the signal. But how many of those signals had I previously missed?
Will YOU recognize it the next time you’re struck by lightning?
And when you are struck, will you be able to stay open to the liberation it’s offering? Or, will you resist with all your might like I did?
Most of us resist. But don’t worry. If you do, it’ll come back stronger the next time.
The 20/20 hindsight about lightning strikes.
You’ve probably experienced how your perspective can change with time. What first appears to be bad news or a bad feeling is often a huge opportunity for you to become stronger and wiser. With the perspective of days or years, you can recognize that a difficult experience actually created a new opening that couldn’t have been available without that lighting strike that scorched you.
The obvious question becomes: How can you make yourself a lightning rod?
If you regularly search for a way to challenge and improve things around you, this post is especially for you. Taking that approach makes you a lightning rod. Welcome to the club!
It often starts as a feeling of dissatisfaction. You’ll probably focus outside yourself on things like how to build your business, why your clients aren’t happier, or what would help someone stop behaving badly.
But it’s impossible to change your world at an arm’s distance.
Here’s a phrase I’ve shared repeatedly with people like you: You can’t transform your business without transforming the way you lead.
This phrase doesn’t just apply to your business leadership. It’s true for your life.
Still, it doesn’t mean you won’t try to transform “it” or “them” while you get to stay the same! (Ara showed me I was trying to upgrade my business without the work of upgrading myself.)
When you imagine how you could make the world better, you become a real-life lightning rod — for opportunities to make yourself better. In other words, the bigger you dream, the more lightning bolts for potential liberation you’ll attract.
Your instinct will be to avoid getting singed.
What are YOUR signals that will tell you when you’re resisting? You absolutely already know them. If you can’t recognize them, ask a trusted friend or colleague who respects you enough to tell you the truth. They’ll know.
When you become aware of them, you don’t have to immediately know what to do differently. Just take a breath or two and coach yourself to stop fighting.
Once you start to step out of your way, what you see and hear in and around you will begin to change. You’ll find that the solutions and next steps have been waiting for you to notice them with your new eyes and ears.
Just start with the first step: recognize your resistance, which is usually something that feels pretty unpleasant. Maybe you’ll even want to swear.
That discomfort is opportunity knocking. Liberation, straight ahead.