Beyond The (Self-Created) B.S.

Sep 18, 2017

Sooo… how was Beyond Reasons? I loved it! Well… I loved-hated it. I took it as part of an onboarding process for becoming an employee for Productive Learning, and I have to tell you there were moments when I thought they were hazing the “new girl”, but by the end of the workshop I got it. I mean, I really got it and I hope you did too!

I think we all want to impress our bosses. You’ve been there; remember during your interview when they asked you, “What are your 5 strengths and your 5 weaknesses?” We have all disguised our strengths as weaknesses. We have all responded with, “I’m a workaholic, I am a people pleaser, I am a perfectionist…”

I was no different when I was coming on board with Productive Learning. As the newest member of the team, I was eager to fit in, and I wanted to show the team my skills as the marketing coordinator.

When I walked in the door for Beyond Reasons on Saturday I picked a seat in the back. I felt nervous, like pre-game jitters, because I already felt like I was being watched. Not only did Leisa mention to me on our confirmation call that we were going to uncover unconscious beliefs, but I work for the company and who knows how they were going to judge my performance in this workshop?

All I could think about was connecting with others. I thought that is what Productive Learning is about: Connection. I told myself, “I got this!” and I started introducing myself to the people around me and felt connected right away.

Once the workshop began and we got to work I fell right into place. I am a very good student. I take excellent notes and I like learning new information. I absorbed all the information about the mind model: Having an experience triggers thoughts and feelings that fuel our actions. Fascinating! Then, the environment reacts to our actions and then, we get a result, only to think about it again and have the whole process start over, again! That’s how we create our reality. Cool!

Although it took me a while to narrow down my focus area I decided to work on the thought/feeling: I am a disappointment.  It was a hurdle to get to that realization, but the conversations with the trainers and the participants eventually led me to it. I was much more comfortable listening to others to get perspective on myself than I was sharing in front of others.

But then, I needed to participate. I needed to mix and mingle with people, I needed to play games and connect and I noticed that I was performing well. The perfectionist in me was serving me well. I was charming, extroverted and confident on the outside, but on the inside, I felt nervous and frustrated. I kept thinking, “Why do we have to do this activity?! I just want to be told what to do. Just tell me how to make my life better don’t make me do all this shi…”

Meanwhile, during the sharing, it sounded like everyone was having break-throughs. People were discovering their unconscious beliefs and there was a lot of emotion in the room and I was feeling more and more frustrated. I don’t get it! Why did I feel like a disappointment? I was a good student, I was and am a good employee, I put my heart and soul into everything I did and do. Why was I feeling like a disappointment in everything I did? Why was I nervous? I didn’t get it!

When I went home that night, I was really pissy. The trainers told us to take care of ourselves; eat light, no drinking, lots of sleep, etc. Well, I had a HUGE dinner all while fuming that I didn’t have a breakthrough and I should have! I started to worry that maybe I wasn’t going to fit in at Productive Learning after all. Everyone on the team spoke so highly of their experience in Beyond Reasons and I am just not getting it! UGH! I can even feel the frustration now.

The next day I went in determined! I was going to have a breakthrough! If it was the last thing I did I was going to break through this feeling of being a disappointment!

So I sat up front on Sunday morning. When the trainer asked for updates from the night before I raised my hand straight up in the air and I was the first one called on.

I shared with the group; “I am frustrated because I don’t know what my unconscious belief is, and I should by now!”

Everyone laughed and I felt like my cover was blown. I felt like a fraud in my own skin. Everyone could see it except for me. It must be so obvious and I can’t see it, how embarrassing!

So I said to the trainer, “You tell me what it is because I don’t know what it is.” And in that moment I realized I had given everybody an open invitation into my vulnerability, and yet, I trusted him. In the time we had been working together he had always encouraged me to tell the truth, even when I felt that the truth would not be good for my job. He empowered me to be honest with myself and with him.  And over the last day, I watched him guide people to their truth and I trusted him. And, I don’t trust easily.

He began asking me questions and I felt like he had a lantern and was guiding me down a dark path I had not been down in a long time. Suddenly, I was crying. The questions he asked illuminated answers that seemed to set me free.

And it became crystal clear what my unconscious beliefs were. Of course, I felt like a disappointment! I felt like everything I did was never enough. I needed to be perfect for people like me. So, while I acted confident on the outside, I was a slave driver on the inside constantly pushing myself to do better and be better so that I never made a mistake. Because, if I never made a mistake, I never had to risk being disliked.

All the pressure I had put on myself to be perfect fizzled out. I felt lighter. I had peeled back the layers to discover I wasn’t the peel. I was the banana! The peel protects the banana just like all my beliefs are designed to protect me from being disliked.

It was an extraordinary freedom. I felt free to choose my beliefs. Without the burden of having to be perfect, I could be. I could just be me.

The rest of the day I was marveling at myself. I made different choices at lunch, I took a walk and sat quietly at a table with a bunch of other participants feeling free to absorb the world around me. I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone. It was such sublime joy to be with other people and not try to impress other people.

As I listened in the workshop to the other people’s breakthroughs I noticed that everyone had their own answers to their own freedom but the trainer asked the questions to assist the participants in getting there. Each answer they shared helped me understand myself better. I felt like I was gaining valuable perspective for myself and I felt genuinely grateful for everyone’s contribution to my awakening.

It was a bittersweet ending on Sunday. I made some valuable connections at the end of the day and I knew I would see some people again but I was sad to say goodbye to those I wouldn’t. I also knew that being in that environment helped to bring out my insights and the world that I live in day to day is not set up to live a conscious life.

We live in a world with so many distractions. Facebook videos, binge-watching Netflix, being so “busy” all the time. Our world is filled with so much stimulus. I knew I needed to be back in this environment often if I were really going to develop my self-awareness and detach from identifying with my “perfectionist self.”

I want to live a contributive life, but I know I limit my contribution when I worry about being liked. When I change who I am for fear of being a disappointment to please someone else I lose the opportunity to show up. I lose my ability to be myself and contribute what I love in the world. It matters to me to live this life to the best of my ability and Productive Learning helped me see what I am capable of!

I choose to continue my practice of self-discovery through this workshop environment. As I walked out of Beyond Reasons, I wanted to relive the feeling of self-empowerment that I had experienced, suddenly seeing what I am truly capable of creating. Why wouldn’t I want to come back over and over to step into the empowerment that comes with the discovery of what lies in my untapped potential? Wouldn’t you?

I encourage you to make a choice to keep coming back. As I listened to everyone share their breakthroughs, I realized we all have our own answers. You have your own answers. But you don’t have the right questions to lead you to those answers.

What is in the way; is the way. Choose to get to know it and understand it so that you can live the life you know you are capable of, the life you truly want.

You are the only one who has the power to make the difference in your life. What do you choose?



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