A few days ago, I shared a BIG win on Facebook about hiring a housekeeper, letting go of control, focusing on my core genius (which is much more lucrative) and trusting that the world is conspiring to support me. My coach and I have been working on trust, letting go, and asking for help for years! Yeeears!
Then guess what, someone I knew as a teenager judges and labels me racist and elitist for hiring a housekeeper! Old me would have dropped on both knees (like in imperial Chinese films), begged her forgiveness, flagellated my back for 6 weeks to show her how sorry I was, and flown across the country to kiss her feet. Yes, old me had a flare for the dramatic. Olé!
Montreal, Canada 1996 © Ellany Lea
New me couldn't stop smiling! Huge, ear-to-ear grin on my face, knowing I provided employment to a dear woman and learned to ask and receive help. Wow, how much I've grown!
My coach was right: friends and acquaintances are like food in a self-cleaning oven. They come in and out, and with time, the crusty black bits fall to the bottom, while the toasty delicious meals get enjoyed.
Whaaaaat?!? Life can be that simple and easy? Crusty people fall away on their own? I don't have to do a thing? Who kenw!
A reason, a season, a lifetime
Everyone comes in our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I've lost groups of friends, the whole group in one fell swoop, 3 times in my life. Did it hurt like hell to lose "friends"? Yes. Did I desperately want to belong? Yes. Did bigger, better people come in to fill that void? HELL YES!!
Here's what I wish my parents would have told me at 14. Here's where I had to be parent / re-parent myself, with a letter to my 14-year old self.
Dear 14-year old Ella,
This is the year you became addicted to proving your worth to the external world. Starting now, you'll only be loved and praised by what you've achieved, not by who you are. So you're going to be pursuing a lot of achievements to feel like you're worth something. This will bring incredible adventure, glory, and... pain.
The greatest of all pains will be loosing all your "friends" because one person couldn't stand your brilliance. They were so envious of you that they couldn't stand being around you. So they talked behind your back, made up stories, and ostracized you.
From that moment on, you'll start shutting down, playing small, and hiding your genius, in hopes of being liked and accepted again. You won't know it yet, but you'll:
- unconsciously build a titanium wall around yourself to protect your sensitive heart
- begin conforming to others' expectations and burrying your identity
It will take 16 more years until you stop trying to be liked by people who don't matter, because you're already so loved by the people who do.
For now, keep honoring your alone time. Keep refueling your introverted soul with books, design projects, and taking apart gadgets to put them back together again. Keep dancing to your own rhythm.
Everything changed for the better in my business when I shifted my definition of success from:
- Success = series of acquiring more successes
- Success = series of letting go
In the end, only 3 things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.
By letting go of wanting to be liked by people who don't matter, I was able to open my eyes to whole new tribes of empowered, conscious, soulful leaders who do.
For overachieving women entrepreneurs, the fear of what others may think can be deafening and paralyzing. Just know that:
- You can't be absolutely certain that they're thinking ill of you. Most people are overwhelmed by how busy they are thinking of themselves.
- What people think has barely anything to do with you. Rather, it's is a crystal clear window into who they are. You can spend time imagining things, so you might as well imagine the best.
- On your death bead, will you thank the heavens that you lived according to what "the masses" think? No!