The Darkness Precedes the Spotlight

Erica Jong wrote, “Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.”

In entrepreneurship, the “dark place” is sometimes called “the dip.” In spirituality, it’s often referred to as “the dark night of the soul.

Whatever label we may use, the experience is universal: the process of actualizing our potential is inseparable from the pain of exorcising our demons. In order to discover what we’re truly capable of, we must be willing to enter and embrace the dark realm of questions we cannot easily answer, phenomena we cannot easily explain, and challenges we cannot easily resolve.

The spotlight is what summons us. The darkness is what shapes us.

In order to stand in the spotlight, we have to be willing to walk through the darkness.

And by “spotlight,” I don’t mean “fame.” I mean “the brilliantly shining light of self-awareness that nothing can extinguish.”

spotlight

The Untold Story of the Unmade You

May you remember the dreams of your youth.

May you allow their energy to speak to your heart again.

May you ask them to teach you how to marvel again, how to aspire again, how to play again, how to bring enchantment to the everyday again.

May the spaces left empty by your unfulfilled longings be filled with delightful new forms of wanting.

May every piece of every shattered dream become a seed of hope that sprouts wide and wildly in the pastures of your imagination.

May you find the grace to forgive yourself for what you have not accomplished and may you discover the faith to reinvent yourself into the author of a daringly different narrative.

Opti-Pessimist?

I’m optimistic about some things and I’m pessimistic about others.

I’m pessimistic about the idea that life gets better independently of the changes we cultivate in our own thoughts and actions, but I’m optimistic about the idea that we can gradually increase our experience of freedom by challenging ourselves to think more critically and creatively.

For me optimism and pessimism go hand in hand. You can’t be optimistic about the things that can save you until you start being pessimistic about the things that can’t. Hope, if we wish to distinguish it from wishful thinking and self-delusion, must be rooted in an honest acknowledgement of that which has already revealed itself to be hopeless.

Until we’re liberated from blind belief in the people, systems, and ideas that are unworthy of our faith, we will always struggle to see the more promising possibilities of our own nature.

The Kind of Leader I Love

There’s nothing like a person of power and influence who uses their power and influence to persuade others towards a belief in their own capacity for power and influence.

Leadership isn’t about getting people to follow you. It’s about getting people to see that their own creative impulses, intuitions, and ideas are the things that are really worth following.

Whoever you’re following, make sure they’re leading you to a superior version of your own self.

If You’re Going to Live for Other People…

Nearly everyone has an opinion about what choices you should make (ie. who you should date/marry, what kinds of friends you should have, where you should live, what you should do for income, etc.), but how many of those people are willing to sit there and sympathetically listen to you as you talk about the regrets you feel from not choosing to live in accordance with your own convictions? And among those who *will* listen, how many of them are capable of offering you a refund for your regrets?

How many of your “advisers” and “life coaches” are willing to take care of you when you’re sick? How many of those people are willing to help you pay your bills when times are rough? How many of those people are willing to go to your job and do your work for you on the days when you absolutely hate your professional life? How many of those people would even be willing to publicly acknowledge you as their friend when you’re not cool, cute, in-style, or brimming with potential? How many of those people are willing to show interest in you beyond your capacity to be a receptacle for their personal philosophies?

If you’re going to live for other people, you might want to ask yourself “who in the world is living for me?”

Two Key Questions

Question # 1: How can I do more?

Question # 2: How can I get more mileage out of what I’ve already done?

If you’re struggle too much with answering one of those questions, it may be because you’re spending too little time addressing the other one.