What in your life is trying to break open right now?
One of the most sacred parts of my work as a consultant and coach is that I get to see ‘behind the scenes’ in what it actually takes to build influence.
The success, the moments of inspiration – when it’s all in flow and nothing can hold you back from making an impact – to the painful moments of failure, exhaustion and reinvention.
Those moments where the life you wanted, what you thought you had built, the identity you had worked hard to create, suddenly begins to burn – and you’re left staring at the ashes wondering what on earth happens next.
The truth is that anyone that decides to put their ideas out into the world – to make a difference – to drive a change – to step out of the sidelines and into the arena to be seen – will in the eternal words of Brene Brown – eventually get their ass kicked.
That’s part of it, part of the deal.
One of my favorite quotes is one from Paolo Coehlo – another eventual tattoo – it says “A fall from the 3rd floor hurts as much as a fall from the 100th. If I fall – may it be from a high place.”
And yet… we very rarely talk about those moments.
Those moments of a 100th floor ass kicking.
Or – as my guest on today’s episode would call it – those moments of breaking open.
Every so often with this podcast, I get the pleasure of speaking to someone that’s had a huge influence on my own life.
Elizabeth Lesser is the author of several bestselling books, including her New York Times bestselling book, ‘Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow,’ has sold almost 500,000 copies and has been translated into 20 languages. She is the cofounder of Omega Institute, recognized internationally for its workshops and conferences in wellness, spirituality, creativity, and social change. She is also the creator of two amazing TED talks on civility, understanding and the power of truth telling. As well as being one of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul 100, a collection of a hundred leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity.
Elizabeth is also the person whose work I turn to during times in my life where I’m not sure where to turn. When I don’t want to be inspired, or motivated, or told to dig in and dial up the hustle – but just to know that it’s enough. Enough to show up, enough to take the next breath, enough to trust that the most transformational moments in our lives always happen when we step into the gap – the gap between what’s burning away – and what’s trying to emerge.
Which is why I was so thrilled to finally have her on the show.
- The difference between breaking down and breaking open – and why staying awake as we fall holds the key.
- The Phoenix process – how to stand in the fire of what’s burning away, while trusting that you will rise again.
- How to find the courage to turn and face what wants to change – then take radical responsibility for what comes next.
- The power of sitting in the gap – the space in-between what was and what is yet to be – and why it feels so uncomfortable, especially in a hyper driven world.
- Finally, why we are all just ‘bozos on the bus’ of life – making it up as we go along – and thinking we’re the only ones.
What touched me most in this conversation was Elizabeth’s perspectives on how we hold space for the phoenix processes of our own lives – and how hard that is to do.
I know for me, every time I emerge from the fire of my own – I immediately forget how powerful (and painful) it can be.
It’s in those moments of my life where I’ve reset the rules, reprioritized what works for me now, versus what used to work for me then, where new ideas have taken hold and new visions (such as this podcast) have been born.
And yet – and yet – every single time I smell the smoke, I still resist.
I fight and I run, exhaust myself and fall in a heap – and then eventually – I do the only thing that can be done, which is surrender.
And then, after the ashes settle, something more powerful always begins to emerge.
So if you have a phoenix process happening in your life right now – either quietly or so loudly you can’t ignore it – I hope this conversation lends you the courage to step into the flame.
References and links mentioned
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