No matter how hard you try to ignore your natural life.….to ignore the things you dream of doing, to ignore the lifestyle that should come easily and naturally to you, to ignore the gifts you have to share with the world.…. the more your natural life will shine through in small, sometimes frustrating, but always brilliant and illuminating ways.
Your natural life will shine through in the daydreams you luxuriate in, in the hobbies you choose to spend time on, in the books you love to read, or in the movies you love to watch.
Your natural life will also shine through in the career path that you have chosen to follow, whether it is the full-on, flat-out, this-is-what-you-were-meant-to-do lifestyle career full of adventures and risk, or the frustrating-almost-but-not-quite-what-you-were-meant-to-do safe and comfortable career. Steven Pressfield, in his brilliant book Turning Pro, Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your LIfe’s Work, refers to the safe, comfortable careers as shadow careers:
Sometimes, when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow calling instead. That shadow calling is a metaphor for our real career. Its shape is similar, its contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us… If you are dissatisfied with your current life, ask your self what your current life is a metaphor for.
That metaphor will point you toward your true calling.
Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro, page 13
Shadow careers give us the opportunity to not have to face our fears, or our self-doubt, or our shame. They give us a safe place to live in — but safe and comfortable aren’t always the best places to be. Sometimes, safe and comfortable are loaded with frustration or boredom or depression or knowing that there is something else out there for us. Something better, if only.…..
Our daydreams provide us with the original thoughts of who we could be and what our life could be like. We spend time lost in visualizing who we might become. The ideas, the dreams, the visualizations come first. Then resistance creeps in. The always present afterthought. Our lizard voice or gremlin voice reminding us to be afraid, to resist, to doubt ourselves, to sabotage ourselves. So we remain amateurs in our own lives, hiding in the shadows.
To step out of the shadows and into our natural life we must find a way to acknowledge resistance, to understand our fears, to feel safe in facing our self-doubts, and to become self-supporting instead of self-sabotaging.
So.…are you an amateur in your own life, living in a shadow career weighed down by resistance and fear? Or have you learned how to become a professional in your own life — to benefit from the lessons and gifts that resistance and fear have to offer so that you can follow your true, natural path?
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