What I do when I need to smash my own glass ceiling

 

Every once in awhile, I take a little detour on my way home from dropping my daughter off at her school in downtown Louisville.

I go to Cave Hill Cemetery and follow that green arrow that’s painted on the road to Muhammad Ali’s grave. The Greatest of All Time is from Louisville, and after a life where he offered himself to the world, he now rests just blocks away from my house.

Because it’s a weekday morning, there’s usually no one else there but me (and maybe some of the groundkeepers). I’ve been known to talk to The Champ : ), but mostly, I sit on the steps and take in the energy of the space.

I’m not just hanging out in grass, dirt, rocks and granite; I sit there to take in the energy of determination, confidence, compassion, pride and joy.  These are all things I think Ali embodied.

That energy reminds me that this is who I am, too, and how I want to show up in the world. To do what I say I am going to do.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we stay connected to that desire within us that can lead us to further realize our own greatness and creativity.

It sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?

I want this. This is what needs to happen. I am going to do what I say I am going to do to get what I want or where I want to be.

I mean, why wouldn’t we go running towards that with wild abandon? It’s going to feel so good, right?

But it scares the hell out of a lot of us — this moving towards our greatness.

Yep, myself included.

Yes, I am a force of nature, fierce, inspired and go after what I want.

I also get stuck in sludge-y thoughts, catastrophize about what will happen if I don’t do things “the right way,” or take the “right steps.”

When this happens, I feel pain and struggle, and I’ve come to know that I owe it to myself to go behind the feelings and figure out what the belief is that I am holding onto.

I offer that practice to my clients, as well, especially when they are engaging in behaviors or slumping into feelings that don’t serve them and keep them stuck.

We all have said, “I know what I need to do; I just don’t know why I won’t do it.” But if we slow down and get compassionately curious with ourselves, we can uncover the “why?”.

Recently, I kept bouncing around to different thoughts in my mind to figure out what my fears and anxieties were tied to. Nothing really resonated until just the other day when I realized that I have held onto a belief that is a constant red light for me.

That belief is this: “These ideas I have and the actions I take in my life are risks. If I keep upping the ante on living my life in this way, I am going to crash into failure. And it might hurt my family. I might be embarrassed or ashamed. I could lose everything. I won’t be who I say I am. People will see that I am not who I said I was.”

When I read that, it’s no wonder that I feel like life is a deadlift sometimes. Holy shit. That’s some painful stuff.

That inner voice doesn’t feel like a path to greatness; it feels like a concrete wall that I keep running into.

I am not alone. And you are not alone, either.  

When I talk to women about what they really want and what their desires and dreams are, they tell me their own versions of these fears. They tell me how they back away from actions. Or that they feel enslaved by a constant loop of thoughts and behaviors that feel all too familiar and frustrating, but they don’t think they know how to be different.

Girl. Girls. Ladies. Women. I’m taking a deep breath for us. Come with me.

We all deal with our upper limits. If you’re not familiar, it’s a concept from a great book called The Big Leap, and I can distill it down to this: many of us balk at our capacity for greatness and a great life. It just freaks us the fuck out — if not outright, then on a subconscious level.

That may sound crazy. Like, who wouldn’t want to feel as free, abundant, creative, healthy, successful and on fire as they possibly could?

But many of us distract ourselves, hide, or push our personal greatness away in both apparent and underlying ways.

However, when we can make a commitment to regularly listen in on our minds, we can see what’s happening and decide to awaken ourselves to a different way to think and be.

This practice is a portal to a more expansive mindset and lifestyle versus one that feels constricting.

When you eavesdrop on yourself, what are you telling yourself about who you can be, what you can do, and how happy you can be in your life? Do you like what you hear?

Compassionately listen and be fascinated with your mind and your beliefs versus taking a critical accounting of the “upper limit jail” you’ve built for yourself. From there, you can create a whole new story about what is possible for your life.

This sounds great, right? But maybe you’re asking how to do this, as in, what actions should you take?

Should you sit at the graveside of a world famous heavyweight champion (lol) and figure it out? Should you sit with a piece of paper in quiet room and make notes of what’s going on in my mind?

Actually — those are both excellent ways to access yourself (one is just more location specific ; ).

Today, I am sharing some of my go-to practices for connecting with my mind to see where I’m limiting myself, and then how I bring new energy, possibility and action into play to help me shed my doubts and keep persevering to honor my greatness and all that I can give to myself and the world.

  • I do write a lot more. I don’t come with an agenda — I simply open my journal and spill it out. The words that come up help me meet myself and see what’s going on in my life and my mind. It also means they’re not taking up space in my head if I’ve let them land on paper. That feels like freedom.

  • I also turn to the visual. More and more these days, I can clear out the cobwebs of my mind and any limiting points of view around my life by connecting with what I want to see. This might mean hanging out on Pinterest for awhile to see what I spot that feels beautiful, interesting and inspiring.

  • I also look at photos that I cherish — either on my phone or social media; they show me moments or people that I’ve created or attracted into my life and that they connect with my greatness and desire for a big life.

There are lots of photos of me connected to my business that have been taken by photographers all over the world. Those photos — the style, the places, the light, the expression — I had my hands in all of that. No one was telling me how to dress or react; I had a vision of myself in those photos that is authentic and aspirational. Those photos smash all of my upper limits.

 

My upper limit-busting photo collage. #rememberwhoyouare

 

  • I move. And I move in a way that is fun, exciting, and energetic to me. This usually means dancing, because I see my spirit, my essence, and all that I am and want to be, come forth in that mirror that I’m facing. It’s taken me some time to grow into — not just acceptance — but feeling joy for what I see. And the work is worth it. I want every woman whose life I touch to feel that way. I also move in ways that help me tap into my strength and power; accessing that helps me feel proud and unstoppable in my mind and body.

  • I listen. Recently, I was schlepping through an upper limit day — and my body was telling me something had to give. I get tension headaches and big waves of fatigue when I am weighed down by my doubts and fears. I was trying to think of every excuse to stay in my bedroom and work at my computer or watch another reality show, but I got up and decided I was going to get out of the house and go for a drive — all by myself. It was almost dusk and it had been a beautiful day; I’d been inside the house most of the day and didn’t experience it. I got into the car, opened all of the windows, the sunroof and played songs from a playlist I would have listened to when I was a teenage girl. That music, the fresh air, and the pink sky (and a small cup of coffee in hand) opened everything up for me. There was something about the presence of that almost-night sky and the music from the days of my life when my dreams started forming, that brought me back home to my greatness. Home to myself.

  • I visit spaces and places that align with the spirit of who I am and how I want to be in the world. I go to my favorite gala event in my city because it embodies urban chic, art and elegance — my great loves. And I sit at the foot of my hero’s grave and drink coffee in my sweatpants and remember that my greatness, like his, starts right here at home … and my potential is as grand and opulent as I can dream it to be. 

 

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