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.…..

Resis­tance is always the afterthought.

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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