Building the life of your dreams first requires you to show up.
Why is it that the first step is the hardest? Isn’t it so much easier to numb and stay in our comfort zone? Isn’t it so much easier to let our fear drive the bus for us? Isn’t it so much easier to stay small?
Building the life of your dreams is hard. But it’s also so much fun. You’ll never feel more alive. And since you’ve only got one life, don’t you want to feel alive while your living?
So, you’ve got to show up. You’ve got to get clear and honest about what you want. You’ve got to tune into those places where you already feel alive and do more of that — but this time on purpose.
The “on purpose” part is the scariest part of all. At least for me. Because as soon as I start trying to do something, I allow the possibility to fail.
I am terrified of failure, you guys. Absolutely terrified. In my childhood, I had so many experiences where one instance of failure (or even mediocrity) was met with a total abandonment of love and an onslaught of criticism. This started when I was 9 years old. So it makes complete sense why I am so terrified of failure I don’t even want to open up to the possibility of it ever occurring.
The way I’ve done this since quitting my engineering job is to only halfway try to make a living doing what I love. If I don’t fully participate, then I can’t fully fail. This has left me with a life that is only a halfway life of my dreams. Naturally, right?
A few months ago I decided I was going to really go for it. I was going to try to make a living using my natural gifts of coaching and writing. I was going to fully show up and implement the habits I’ll need in order to build a successful business around my gifts and desires.
I hired a business coach. I deleted all the games from my phone. I committed to publishing something every day. I let the internet know I am open to taking on more clients. I also went to the gym and ate healthy most days. I wasn’t fucking around anymore. I was here, fully showing up, fully participating, fully trying.
And fully opening the door to failure as well.
Unconsciously, this freaked me the fuck out. Looking back, I was doing all sorts of things to try and avoid failure. I was avoiding my uncomfortable emotions. I was trying to show up as the person I thought I was supposed to be rather than who I really am. And I failed. Big time.
I’m not quite ready to talk about the failure I experienced yet, but it was directly related to building my business and it took me down a shame spiral I had not experienced in a very long time.
This is the cost of trying. Failing. Shame. Painful vulnerability. Just like it used to be for me as a kid.
Oh, how much easier it is not to try! How much easier it was to play games on my phone than write an article. Could I just go back to the days where I just halfway tried?
I reached out to my business coach and told her about my failure.
“I don’ t know if I can do this,” I said.
“You don’t have to,” she responded, “You can stop at any time.”
I hated her for saying this. Because it pointed me back to the simple truth that nobody can do this for me. Nobody can build the life of my dreams for me. It had to be me. And if I didn’t want to anymore, I could go be a barista at Starbucks and life would be fine.
Fine, but not fulfilling.
I’d already lived that unfulfilling career life as an engineer for four years. I quit my job to live a life consistent with my natural gifts. I quit my job so I could build the life of my dreams. My DREAMS. My dream was not to be a barista. It was to be a coach and a writer, making a living doing what I love to do and what I am very good at.
If I only have one life to live as Jordin James, I might as will do my best to live the life Jordin James actually wants to live.
My coach was right, I could stop at any time. But my heart would not let me. I had to find a way through my intense feelings of shame around my failure. I had to keep my heart in my chest and feel my way through.
Here’s the revelation on failure that my soul mother ever so gently folded me into: All I must do to build the life of my dreams is to show up and play the game of participating in my one life.
I do not have to play well. I do not have to win. I do not have to impress anyone. I just have to show up as myself today and participate in the habits that will build this business.
I just have to be brave enough to become naked with myself, and to trust my nakedness is exactly what my people need of me. To trust that I do not need to wear anything extra in order to be enough. To trust that failure is part of the process. I do not have to play well and I do not have to win. Failing today is just fine. Tomorrow I will try again.
Failing tomorrow is just fine, too. And the day after that, and the day after that. I do not have to play well. I just have to keep playing.
Will I humble myself enough to keep playing even if I do nothing but fail?
Yes. I surrender to the path required of me to build the life of my dreams.
Because I understand now that Love does not abandon me when I fail. Love does not give or withhold based on my performance. Grace requires nothing of me.
I am sure I will experience failure again. Maybe even more publically. I am sure I will have to re-remember that my worth is not based on my performance in deeper and deeper ways. Even still, I am prepared to participate in my life so hard that it breaks my heart. Over and over again, if that’s what it takes.
I surrender. I am grateful for the opportunity to try. I am grateful for being loved no matter how I perform. And when I fail, I am the courage to begin again. And again. And again.
Even though there is no promise that I will ever get there, I still want to try. How could I not? I have one life, and time is fleeting.
But you know what? It’s really starting to sink in that getting “there” isn’t really the point. As if “there” is more important than “here.”
When I just focus on playing and being myself “here,” I feel like I’m already living the life of my dreams. When I commit to playing the game of my life, “here” starts feeling more and more like Heaven on Earth.
I suppose that’s the point.
We do not have to play well. We do not have to win. We do not have to impress anyone. We do not even have to get “there.”
We only must play.