Confessions of a Heartworker
‘From Speed to Space’
When we are in the business of following our heart’s calling we learn the painful lesson that our work doesn’t understand time in the same way our linear brain calculates it. Nor does it compute success with achievement or getting somewhere quickly. In fact, time and time again I am challenged to lean into my western beliefs around my sense of time and success when it comes to creating my business and sharing my heartwork.
“It is a common human trait to run from pain and look for the most comfortable route to ‘success’ …”
In particular I was reminded of the importance of space when I came across yet another ‘three quick steps to success’ advertisement. I am sure they will be fabulous value for some but I have yet to find someone who found an overnight, ‘just follow the 3, 5,10 steps to success’ process successful when following our calling.
Still, it is not surprising that we are looking for the ‘quick fix’ as it is a common human trait to run from pain and look for the most comfortable route to what we perceive to be ‘success’.
And P.S., if you think this story doesn’t apply to you, then think where this ‘quick-fix’ mentality might have crept into your belief system? How often have you been enticed by a 3-steps to success promise? Where have you been hoping in vain for instant results? Where are you beating yourself up for ‘not having achieved yet’, ‘not having changed yet’, ‘not having … fill in the blank .. yet’?
A calling is not a job
“Our calling doesn’t come with a quick fix three-step formula …”
Many of us who are in a business driven by our desire to be in service get to meet ourselves every step of the way as our work will provide an immediate mirror for what is going on in our own lives, as I wrote in my previous confession, ‘Ground Zero’. For us to be able to make a difference we first need to learn how to BE the difference. In other words, we need to learn to ‘be’ before we ‘do’.
Our calling doesn’t come with a quick fix three-step formula but if I had to give you the dreaded ‘three steps to success’, they would be these:
Step 1. Space;
Step 2. Space; and
Step 3. More Space!
Let me expand on this. 🙂
Step 1. Space
“We need the space to recalibrate so we can lift ourselves to the next level, a new level of consciousness and experience.”
The old us is not going to cut it. You may know the saying, what got you here is not going to get you there? Well, there is a reason that the saying exists. To be able to do our heart’s work, we need the space to recalibrate so we can lift ourselves to the next level, a new level of consciousness and experience. One that is capable of carrying all of the responsibility that comes with it.
Please don’t think that this means you can’t start until you get to that level because, in fact, starting is the only thing that is going to get you there. Start but do yourself a favour and allow yourself the space to grow into your new way of being and remind yourself of this many times along the way.
I recently watched a speech by American comedian and television host Steve Harvey, and in it he encourages people to jump for what they believe in. To jump off the fence and follow your calling, with the belief that the parachute will open on the way down. However, he also warns us that the parachute may not open immediately. It may stay closed for longer than is comfortable and, as you find yourself plummeting, you may hit some of the protruding rocks on the way down. Your chute might tear on those rocks but if you keep going, your parachute WILL open and eventually it will take you where you need to go, even if it takes hitting ground zero before you do.
Step 2. Space
“We need to allow ourselves the space to make mistakes, the space to not know and accept that it is ok to be lost.”
That takes me to this next important point. To grow into our work, we need to allow ourselves the space to make mistakes, the space to not know and accept that it is ok to be lost. Making mistakes and not knowing are painful as they create uncertainty and eat away at our confidence and identity. They challenge our basic human needs for certainty and significance and when we focus on feeding either of these needs from a place of lack, ie neediness, we find ourselves in trouble as fear is now in the driver’s seat.
The challenge is, in order to be successful as a business, we are told you need to know who you are, what you offer and who your audience is. And as we desperately look around us to find the quickest road to creating clarity around these points, we listen to others who tell us that in order to be successful we need to ‘plant a stake in the ground’ and claim a ‘niche’. From a business perspective this makes perfect sense. I have a background in sales so I understand and even taught the concept so I can see it’s a no brainer, and yet …
As someone who is in the business to make a difference, we struggle with this when we start out. As we begin, we often have little idea about our so-called ‘niche’ as we are still in the exploratory stage. What drives us is our desire to follow our calling to be in service to people … and our heart. We also know that we can help most people if they are ready for change and we don’t always like discriminating. It goes against what we stand for and, at the same time, we also know that we don’t want to choose just any old focus for the sake of selling our product and services. We just can’t do it and when we do do it, we cannot be congruent with the selling of our service and inside we feel ‘icky’. We smell it, we know it, we taste it and, as a result, our potential clients do too.
Still, we get brainwashed about trying to find the ‘right niche’ so it becomes easier and this becomes an all consuming focus. And what we don’t realise is that, whilst we are looking so hard to make our business work, we forget the reason why we started out in the first place. To follow our heart’s calling.
The harder we look, the more pressure we create for ourselves and the more challenging and frustrating it becomes. We get to a stage where we forget to love ourselves and are in danger of losing the love for what we were born to do. We become so bogged down with our focus on ‘making it work’ that we lose all sense of clarity and confidence when the (business) results aren’t immediately visible.
We cannot let fear be the driver and the only thing that is going to allow us out of that dark hole is to put our focus squarely back on our why. Start with the why – even if our why is to find our why – and give all the ingredients space to breathe and infuse. Give ourselves space to explore and create the space for ‘the how’ to find us. Sooner or later the unique ‘how’ of our calling will become clearer to us as we allow the slow cooker to do its work. This takes me to step 3, as that’s where the magic is born.
Step 3. More Space
“We are not called to be ‘in the business of our job’, we are called to do The Work.”
Our work is a calling – something we feel inexplicably drawn to do. And this is where we need to realise an important distinction – we are not called to be ‘in the business of our job’, we are called to do The Work!
As I mentioned earlier, our calling doesn’t come with a three-step formula. I am not saying that there aren’t a huge amount of 3 steps that will be helpful on the way to ‘success’, but don’t expect them to be the be all and end all. Instead, see them as stepping stones whilst you work on your own formula, your own rules. You are called to go inward, to listen to your heart and through it you can start allowing yourself to make new rules so you can serve from a place of congruence. And sometimes that may also mean that you are better off sharing your gifts in an existing organisation or through other means rather than your own business. When you continue to focus on your why, you can never truly fail.
Whatever you do and however you decide to do it, leave yourself space to evolve. We are so conditioned to feeling the pressures of time in our lives but our soul doesn’t understand time in the same linear way that we experience it here on earth. It is not concerned with ‘getting’ anywhere. All it is concerned with is whether you follow your truth and whether you are showing up as best you can in any given moment. And when you think you have given it enough space, give it some more.
So space is the word. Space to learn. Space to plummet. Space to explore, expand and evolve. Keep the courage, surround yourself with those who understand you and your choices and when you believe enough, trust enough and continue to listen to your inner wisdom, sooner or later the path will find you.
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I am Ann Skinner, otherwise known as The Heartworker. I am a personal leadership coach, doodle artist, writer and the bestselling author of The Art of Contribution. All my work aims to inspire us to reconnect to our very essence so we can reclaim all of who we are – intuitive, creative and heartfelt beings.
If you are interested in working with me, you can contact me at email@example.com.