Gifts from the Universe
It seems the older I get, the more I notice the gifts the Universe provides for me.
Case in point—One day last week I saw the following quote on social media:
“A ship is safe in a harbor, but that is not what ships are built for.” This comes from the book Salt from My Attic by John Shedd.
The next day I was meeting with a group of coaching peers, and I shared that I was raised in a very structured household. I’m the seventh of eight kids, and my mom was a master of schedules and routines.
I shared the example of Tuesdays being the day Mom washed sheets which meant when I woke up on Tuesday mornings, I didn’t make my bed (a routine I followed without fail the other six days of the week). Instead, I stripped the sheets from my bed and brought them to the laundry room.
My coach listened intently and then asked, “You know why your mom had those routines in place, right?”
“For her own sanity,” I instantly replied with a bit of a laugh.
“The structure gave her safety,” was the answer I heard back. “In that house full of people, it helped her to know there was a plan to follow. The safety brought her comfort.”
Mic drop moment.
First the ship in the harbor and then sheet day every Tuesday.
The Universe was whispering in my ear.
A time to reflect
I didn’t view my coach’s comment as a reason to discredit my mom. I’ll always believe she was a superhero (seriously, eight kids?!).
I did, however, take some time after that call to reflect on the revelation. I realized the safety I felt throughout my childhood came from the safety my mom created for herself and all of us.
And the structured routine I grew up with is what I still crave. It feels familiar, secure, comfortable, and, of course, safe.
There’s a problem with this kind of safety, though. It keeps me right where I’m at. I stay the same. Which means I don’t grow. It’s like quicksand holding me in place and pulling me away from what I really want.
Quicksand safety traps
I work with leaders. Entrepreneurs and small business owners hire me to help them grow themselves, their team, and their business. And they fall into quicksand safety traps, too. For them it sounds like:
- Business ownership is hard. Every time I figure something out, something else falls apart. I’m starting to wonder if this is really for me. Maybe I’ll take a look at Indeed just to see what’s out there.
- I can’t hire someone. I have no idea how to hire, onboard, and train a person. I’ll just keep working extra hours to stay ahead of the game.
- My team member is so difficult. She’s rude to customers and doesn’t get along with anyone else on the team, but I can’t let her go. She gets a lot done and knows how to do some tasks no one else does.
The quicksand safety trap allows you to justify not making the changes you ultimately know will help you. And the feeling behind the quicksand? Fear.
Fear of change. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of feeling unsafe.
There’s good news, though. There is a way out.
Taking it one step at a time
When someone gets stuck in actual quicksand, one of the first tips shared by experts is to relax and breathe deeply.
The solution for quicksand safety traps starts there, too.
If you’re ready to move past your craving for safety, security, and familiarity so you can actually make those big things happen, try these tips:
- Relax. Breathe deeply.
- Remind yourself why you want the thing— your business, your first hire, your dream team. What’s your why?
- Decide how you want to feel. Determined. Confident. Curious. Committed. What is it for you?
- From that feeling, create a declaration that will inspire you through tough times. Some ideas:
- I was made to be an entrepreneur.
- I’m creative, persistent, and determined. I don’t give up.
- I am a strong, courageous leader.
- I create exactly what I want, and I don’t stop until I get it.
- People need what I have to share, and I’m committed to staying the course.
And then, with your why, your desired feeling, and your declaration ready to go, take one more deep, relaxing breath, and take your first step toward that thing that moves you up and away from the quicksand safety trap.
I love you, Mom. Thanks for keeping me safe. Now it’s time for me to fly.