Inner Work 101 is a series of in-depth blog posts I’m working on to de-mystify the inner workings of inner work. I’m tired of seeing brilliant creative people stumble around and settle for less than they really want because they don’t know how to navigate the path of their own potential and this is what I’m doing to help change that. Find all the Inner Work 101 posts right here.
I’ve been in a complicated place with my dreams lately. This happens when my dreams grow and then demand that I grow to keep up with them.
So I can see this new dream ahead of me and I can feel all the ways that I’m not there yet. Like it’s close enough that I can see it, but far enough that it’s still outside of my comfort zone.
So either I have to bring it into my comfort zone, or I have to step out of my comfort zone to meet it.
This would be simple enough except when you zoom in and see what the boundary of the comfort zone is actually made of.
This stuff orbits around you and your life.
When you contract to avoid it your whole life contracts.
When you expand and grow you hit up against it.
It sucks. There is no way to sugar coat this.
Comfort zones aren’t necessarily comfortable. They should really be called familiar zones.
But when you stay in your comfort zone out of a fear of facing that mess that makes up the boundary, you let your fear control your possibilities.
So it becomes important to figure out how to work with that boundary.
Which means you have to learn how to really be with your fear and doubt and confusion and the deep wounds within.
And then you have to learn how to bring love and calm and safety and stability into these places so that the work of healing and transformation can begin.
The important thing to remember is that this is powerful work.
As in: you are powerful for doing it.
Because as soon as you get into that boundary and start looking closer at what’s going on there you’re not going to feel powerful. You’re going to feel like shit.
For us sensitive creative types this process seems extra-excruciating.
This is why people avoid this work even though they know it means settling for less than they want in life – because it feels awful to feel lost and small and confused and unsure and defeated.
I mean avoiding pain is a normal human instinct.
It’s very tempting to go back to avoidance and staying on the surface of things – to contracting and living within your comfort zone. Because hey it’s better than feeling like shit, right?
But your dream is how your soul calls you towards your purpose. And it’s going to keep calling.
So this is where I’ve been lately.
People always ask me: does it get easier?
Well yes and no.
As you become more familiar with the process you develop more faith in yourself and your ability to do the work. So then it does seem easier.
Plus the more you do this the more your boundary changes and lightens up and so healing and transformation can happen faster.
But it still feels like shit when you’re right there in it. That part doesn’t change.
But there is a very big bright side to all of this.
I mean this is literally how you stop your fear from stopping you!
It’s how you expand your possibilities and create a brighter life for yourself.
Each time you go into the boundary and bring love and healing there you make more space for your greatness.
The last time I was in a big, long period of this shit was right around the time I moved into my Dream Loft.
I had bought this place only 6 months after quitting my job to the Creative Dream Incubator full time. I was not sure I was totally ready for this move because I wasn’t sure yet what my income was going to be like as a business owner and the Dream Loft was going to double my monthly expenses.
But my intuition insisted that this was absolutely the right move for me and I was committed to following my intuition so there I was: scared and totally out of my comfort zone.
[Note I do NOT encourage anyone to be reckless with their finances or take unnecessary risks for their dreams. Usually I find dreams grow best with slow, steady steps and not frightening leaps of faith.]
I had to face so many fears all at once. It’s not just the fear of not making enough money. It’s never as simple as that.
Beneath the surface fear always hides the real fears which hit closer to home…
- What if this fails and I feel like a miserable failure for the rest of my life?
- What if this fails and it means I’m not good enough?
- What if this fails and I lose my house and wind up on the streets and no one cares?
- What if it turns out I was really stupid for ever believing in myself?
Sitting with these questions feels like shit.
For a while there, pretty much every single day I got all tangled up all of these fears.
But over time I got a handle on it. I started to shift my limiting beliefs and un-helpful patterns. I started to create space for new possibilities.
That is when I really got to know myself as a person who trusts herself to support herself and her dreams.
Before then I believed in possibilities. I believed that I had purpose and that it included sharing my creativity with the world somehow.
But my income had always come from jobs. Any time I had tried to create my own income with my art and creative ideas – I had flopped.
I didn’t know how to financially support myself with my creativity.
And I took a bunch of business classes and I had built up my business before I had left my job…
But I also had to go through this inner process of growing into this version of my who fully trusts herself to support herself and her dreams.
It’s been over five years since that happened. And in that time I have been steady in my trust of myself. And my business has steadily supported me all that time.
I mean I don’t ALWAYS trust myself – everything gets off balance sometimes. But I get back to trust quickly now. Trusting myself became my set-point, it’s what I naturally come back to.
It works this way for all dreams.
For example after being single for over a decade I went through a similar process before meeting my partner.
I am going through it again as we deepen and solidify our commitment to each other and figure out what kind of life we want to create together.
But this isn’t about me.
What about you?
Where does your comfort zone have you stuck and playing small? When you feel like shit do you give up on your dreams?
Because your dream is how your soul calls you towards your purpose. And it’s going to keep calling.
And you’re never going to fully give up, right?
You’re here to share your gifts with the world, right?
So the important thing is to not give up when things get hard. Stay with it.
And as ridiculous as it sounds, this is what helps with that: remember that it’s supposed to feel shitty sometimes.
Feeling shitty about yourself and your dreams is not a sign that you’re on the wrong path. It’s a sign that you’re facing your fears.
Also: it doesn’t have to make sense. After you’ve moved further down the path you’ll look back and it will make sense then. It won’t make sense while you’re in it.
The simple 2-step process to keep moving and get out of your comfort zone:
1. Do your best to meet with your dreams and give them what they need to grow.
2. As you do this stay with the feelings that come up and learn how to bring healing and transformation to them so you can access your inner gifts and ability to bring your dreams to life.
Simple. But not easy.
Your dream will grow you. And in the end, after you’ve moved through all the shitty stuff, you’ll be glad it did.
Feeling like it would take a miracle? You’re in luck!
Project Miracle is for people who believe in the magic of their dreams and are ready for something to change.
It’s a 30 day Choose-Your-Own-Adventure creative support groups for making change happen.