Over the last few weeks, I’ve been covering networking and how important it is to becoming a success not only in the business of books but in any area of life where you want to succeed. Last week I talked about how important it is that you show up. This week I’m going to share with you how important it is that you don’t just show up, you bring your passion with you.
The Law of Thermodynamics
Newton’s first law of thermodynamics states that you will get as much energy out of a system as you put into it, and it applies to every area of life. If you want to get energy out of the network, you have to put energy into it. Showing up is a great beginning, but showing up with no passion for the experience and no energy to do anything will not produce the results you are hoping to see.
Admit It: You Do Care
Maybe you’ve shown up to network meetings and you tell yourself, “I don’t really care what happens,” or “I don’t care what people think about me.” Those are convenient lies you tell yourself so you don’t have to get hurt too badly when things don’t turn out the way you hoped they would. The honest truth is that you can’t help but care – your very genes were programmed with empathy and to care about what other people think.
Yes, you care, and it is time to stop protecting yourself from getting hurt and start opening up so that the love can make its way into your heart. Walling people off like that in order to protect your heart works about as well as walling off your favorite rose bush to protect it from people who might pick the buds: you’re going to eventually block off the very light that it needs to grow and you’ll end up killing the very thing you were trying so hard to protect.
If you’re going to be part of a group, you’re eventually going to get hurt. The sooner you accept that as the truth, the sooner you can stop letting that fear of getting hurt get in the way of you doing something great with your life.
Confront Your Reasons
I get it. I do. You don’t like feeling the way it makes you feel when someone disappoints you or hurts you. You’ve shut off that feeling valve to protect yourself and you hardened your heart so people couldn’t get through, and now I’m asking you to open back up and let all that out. I’m asking you to take that risk all over again.
But the reason you can’t connect to your passion anymore is BECAUSE you walled off your feelings and ignored them. That passion is there, and it’s buried right along with the rest of the things you were feeling. You can’t have both. You can’t both protect yourself from getting hurt and have feelings. It doesn’t work that way.
Accept all of your feelings. None of them exist to harm you. None of them are bad or wrong. All of them have something important to tell you if you’ll just listen to them. Get comfortable and listen to them. Listen to, and learn from, what they have to tell you.
Address the Pain
The pain you feel is real. Acknowledge it. Embrace it. It means you’re human. Feeling no pain means you’ve lost a part of yourself that you need to regain. You’ve allowed someone else’s behavior to take a precious part of yourself away from you. Reclaim it.
The pain tells you that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. Listen to it. It’s trying to help you learn how to protect yourself in a healthy way. Avoiding listening to that pain is like keeping your hand on the stove while your skin is screaming “FIRE!” Ignoring it will eventually allow you to stop feeling the pain but it won’t do anything to stop the damage.
Apologize to your pain for ignoring those warnings. Promise pain that you will allow it to do its job from now on and you will listen to what it has to say to you. Promise it that you won’t push it away or make it stop because you’re uncomfortable with what it’s saying.
Forgive the Source
Forgive the person who hurt you. Your forgiveness does not mean that what they did was okay or that you accept their behavior as normal. They hurt you because they were hurting. They tried to pass their baggage onto you and make you carry it. Forgiveness rejects that burden and leaves it on the shoulders of the one to whom it belongs.
Forgive yourself. It’s not really them you are angry with anyway. You’re angry with you. You’re upset that you didn’t feel strong enough or smart enough or lovable enough to stop them from hurting you. You’re upset that you didn’t listen to yourself when you should have and allowed yourself to be taken advantage of by them. Forgive yourself, forgive them, and set yourself free from the past.
I understand how tough forgiveness can be to offer someone, especially when they keep hurting you. However, I have learned more about myself and why I do the things I do to myself and others by looking at how other people treat me as a mirror that shows me something about myself. Where am I doing that same behavior to me? Where am I doing that same behavior to others? Where am I doing that same behavior to God? Those are my three go-to questions – and I can almost always find an answer fairly quickly. Once I find that answer, I understand the behavior, and it becomes much easier to forgive.
Gratitude for the pain and for the person who stepped into your life and created that pain is even tougher than the forgiveness, but if you can stop and look for all the things you became that were positive because of that pain, it becomes easier. Who you are now was shaped and formed by the pain you went through back then. Find gratitude for that because you are a much stronger, wiser, and more awesome person today than you were back then. They didn’t mean to do you a favor, they weren’t trying to help you with what they did, but they succeeded anyway.
Finding gratitude for the pain they put you through turns that negative into something beautiful and positive. It allows you to become your best self and to see just how strong and how powerful you’ve become in spite of – and because of – all you’ve been through. That pain became your teacher, and that teacher has produced a pupil with lessons of their own to pass on to others.
Don’t just cultivate gratitude for the pain in your life, though. Cultivate gratitude for the good things that have come your way and for all the people who brought you those things, too. Find at least a few reasons to be grateful for every person who is in your life, at least a few good things to reflect on, and watch yourself become better instead of bitter over the events in your life.
Rekindle the Flames
When your passion for people dies down, it’s important for you to stoke those fires and rekindle the flames. Remind yourself of the reasons why it matters to you that you’re doing the work you do. Why are you writing and why do you care about those readers? Why does it matter to you that they get the benefit of what you’re writing?
Remind yourself of your reasons and why it’s worth every ounce of pain and suffering you’ll face along the way to make sure that mission of yours is carried out. When you’re hesitating at the threshold of human interaction and wondering if you should, take those reasons out and reflect on them again before you go in. Let yourself remember why you are here, and let yourself open up so the love can flow in again.
Come back next Tuesday
Join me next Tuesday when I’ll be diving into more depth on the importance of gratitude and how you can cultivate it so you can pass that onto others.