What’s Inside of YOU?

We interrupt the regularly scheduled blog post to bring you this moment of inspiration.

Last week I hosted a “Create Your Life” workshop in which we increased clarity and set intentions for the life we truly want to live. We used Vision Boards and Vision Books as our medium – but it was energy of the room that was transformational.

Sitting in the Mountain View Room at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), we tapped into the idea of “no limits.” Because TIEC shouldn’t exist. No one who had ever driven by the previously failed housing development could have imagined putting this kind of facility here. And yet here we sat, three years after construction started, in a complete (yet still being improved) facility. Which in less than 5 years after the first shovel of dirt was overturned will host the World Equestrian Games (2018).

Seeing a vision like that come to life has a way of overcoming the usual fears and small thinking that keep us stuck in place. This group began to reveal last Friday what was inside of them, the greatness that had been hidden by excruciating, yet common questions: Am I good enough? Who do I think I am? What if I fail? Our conversations that day resonated loudly with a better question: “what if there were no limits?” Ideas were exchanged and you could feel the energy and possibility lifting each other up.

​In just a week, I have heard from many in the room about how their intentions are coming to life. There are some powerful stories. Here is just one.

Marla Steinberg came into the workshop having just painted her first watercolor portrait. She is just learning to paint and by the time of the workshop, had painted a barn, an apple, some lace and a surprisingly good portrait of her granddaughter. For those who haven’t tried it, watercolor is a tricky medium and notoriously difficult for painting portraits. She declared her intention in the workshop to paint more and received lots of encouragement. What has followed in the next seven days makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

Day one She decided to paint her granddaughter again. This one was “frame-worthy.” Second portrait ever.

Then she painted this dog, from a picture on her phone:

The next day I received this picture:

And the day after, I received this portrait. Now I am an artist and have never attempted a portrait. At this stage of the game, I’m being very encouraging on the outside.  I have to admit to a teensy, tiny bit of jealousy on the inside.  These are some damn good paintings!

And today, she sent this picture:

So why is Marla so successful? For one thing, she clearly can see and she can draw. But the reason she is successful is because she is willing to fail. As I once said to myself in a moment of truth, “it’s just paint and paper. If it doesn’t work, it can go in the trash.”

Listening to a very successful comedian being interviewed the other day, the interviewer asked “To what do you attribute your success?” She answered, “It’s because I have failed so many times.”

It takes work and a willingness to be vulnerable to bring what is inside of us out. We are socialized to fit in and be like everyone else. We need our tribe. And yet we are each an original.
It reminds me of the Marianne Williamson passage:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

​So here is my question for you today: What is inside of you? And more importantly, what fears and questions are keeping you from being the original that you are? What is one little thing you can do today to bring out your light?

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Lynn Carnes accelerates change and unleashes leadership performance in organizations, especially in context of challenges without easy answers.