And so the not-so-pretty truth about what I’m feeling: STRESS SUCKS
Self-Sabotaging thoughts are worse.
If you are an avid reader of our blog, you may have noticed I haven’t written very much in the past month and a half. There’s a reason. I’ve been so exhausted and focused on our other project (linked here).
As most of you know, Miro and I have envisioned bringing natural learners to Peru to create a temporary learning community. The idea was an inspired one, but it is also seeded by a selfish desire. The desire to share some of the amazing discoveries we’ve made with other like minded people, creating community and digging deeper into the abyss of the unknown, through feedback, exploration and discovery. In other words, we had the vision to create an engaged learning community.
Having a clear vision was the first step. Miro and I brainstormed together, designed the vision together, and started planning together. We’ve reached out to contacts together, made arrangements with researchers, musicians, artisans, and mystics. The planning for the retreat has been a joint effort, from the conceptual and experiential levels.
But ultimately, over the past two months, I’ve been focused on the marketing aspects of the retreat.
Marketing and public relations and sales and marketing and writing and reaching out and marketing and publicity. If that read as repetitive, it was meant to. I’ve felt the pressure of being a one person PR / sales and marketing department. And this is the first time I’m producing a project like this. So many times I’ve felt like my energies have been spent, spinning in unseen directions, spent perhaps not in the best ways, heading towards burnout. But I move ahead, push onward and continue as I hold on to the vision.
One morning I sat in my kitchen with a dear friend who is also starting a business in Peru’s Sacred Valley. We sat together drinking a cup of tea. Tears spontaneously sprung from my eyes as I looked deep into my coffee cup.
I needed to talk, share, get it out.
I admitted to feeling overworked, stressed, not feeling supported and completely overwhelmed. I had accessed all the feelings I had so readily on the surface when I ran my business in Los Angeles, many years ago. But this time, I admitted with complete embarrassment, that I didn’t know what to do next.
My friend listened with compassion and did not interrupt my stream of consciousness. Then she said softly, that she was surprised. She said to me, “you seemed to have it all together, Lainie“.
I sat back and thought about what she just said. I wondered what the bigger meaning of that statement was.
- I was clear about vision for the project.
- I was clear about our reasons for pouring our hearts and souls into the project.
- I was clear about the big picture Miro and I jointly envision.
- I could even feel what the retreat would be like when it’s happening.
- I could imagine participants gathering from across the world to share in the vision.
- I could see it all in my minds eye.
- I could clearly see the magic unfolding.
I’ve never had so much clarity before and the vision for me was stronger because it was created as a joint vision with my co-creator and son, Miro.
But do I really have it all together?
I don’t feel that way. As I explore deeper, two powerful things come up for me:
First, I’m not sure what else I need to be doing to get more people interested and actually “buy-in” to the vision. Many days, I search, and search and send out inquiries and announcements and engage and market, and market and market and..Ugh…. Many of those efforts, many of the times come, with no response.
I know that’s the reality of marketing and the reality of sales. I know rejection, silence and persistence is a big part of the process. But still…… the vision keeps me focused, keeps me seeking.
And the clarity and passion behind the project keeps me grounded.
Nevertheless, I struggle with the “idea” that if I’m not actively doing something, anything, our vision won’t be successful. The problem is, I don’t have clarity around what it is I should be doing. And somehow, I feel if I’m not “doing” the work, it’s not going happen. And I struggle with the idea of ”making it happen” which is almost now contrary to the way we’ve been living our lives. Instead, we’ve become accustomed to living through inspiration and allowing our lives to unfold.
And then, negative self talk shouts: “But allowing it to unfold naturally, somehow seems like a set up for failure, Lainie. DO SOMETHING!”
See my frustration?
I’m at a complete loss.
And when I relax, and focus on the vision, I feel anxious that I’m not doing, doing, DOING. I’m anxious because I feel like I should be marketing, selling, promoting, doing public relations and pushing. I have quite a bit of stress surrounding the entire project. (But it’s not about the project itself, because the project itself feels clear.)
Next, I am having a difficult time quieting the negative self talk that is telling me, if this doesn’t work, I have failed. I feel like I have failed myself and worse, my son. I know that sounds harsh, and that kind of baseline belief is likely the self-sabotaging thought that is preventing the success itself. But that pressure seems to be on a loop. It’s the same voice that kept me glued to my computer 12 hours a day when I ran my business that told me the same messages. It’s the same voice that pushed me to work on weekends, and miss much of my son’s life before we left. That voice is charged with emotions, that somehow dictates a portion of my self worth. That voice is scary to me, because it still has much power in my life. But that voice also has strength to it, and it contains my drive. When the world says I can’t achieve a certain thing, that voice is my strength telling me it’s possible. But that voice is not forgiving. I haven’t’ made peace yet with that voice and sometimes she haunts me.
I am sure, I need a team to pull this part off. When I feel stressed, I don’t feel like I’m in the flow of things. I don’t feel tapped into the inspiration, which has guided me thus far. But the idea that if I don’t do anything it will surly fail is that idea I need to work on.
So I haven’t been writing much on the blog as of late. My preference is to focus on the positive and the grander vision because that simply feels better to me.
But I’ve been struggling lately and wanted to share with you why. The good thing is, that every time in my life I’ve gone to this place of stress and challenge, it’s followed by change. I’m not sure what it will be, of course, so many things are on the surface at the moment. The vision for our project is strong. I know in my heart of hearts it will happen. But if it doesn’t happen this time, I do know it will.