This is what happened to me last night:
Women on Fire
I went to hear a phenomenal speaker, executive coach, the founder of Women on Fire and the author of the book by the same name, Debbie Phillips. She talked about, well, being a woman on fire – the steps that you have to take for courage, inspiration, following your heart and the like. She was funny and motivating and charming – and everyone was très fired up.
And, then, Debbie invited us to have an experience. We each wrote on a card the following three things:
- What is your biggest accomplishment from the past year?
- What are you fired up about right now?
- What do you need to help turn that fired up thing into an accomplishment?
We all wrote down our answers and then got into groups of four to discuss them. Five minutes later, Debbie asked people to stand up in front of the room (120+/- women) and share. If you haven’t noticed, I have a big mouth and I jumped right up – though not really because of my inability to keep my mouth shut.
The thing I’m fired up about is the writing of my book and the big mama publishing house that’s interested in it – but I’m watching myself stand off to the left of this fact. Do you know what I mean? I’m so excited, but when I tell people I feel like I’m peering around the trophy, not holding it square in front of my gut. I have a toe in the shoes, but I’m not standing in them. The news is too big. It is too much ‘everything I’ve ever wanted’. So, I thought, well, I’ll just get up in front of all of these women and say it, loud and proud. And I’ll feel it, believe it, own it.
After all, Debbie said again and again how important this process was – to be on fire and share it in the safe company of other women on fire. She said safe and connection and support so often during her talk, each enveloping and practically obliterating my fear. So I stood up. I said what I was on fire about. People clapped and cheered. Afterwards, many of the women asked me about the book and gave me huge hugs…
I’m going to pause now and tell you that someone very near, dear and wise to me believes that we have miraculous powers of manifestation and creation. That we call to us exactly what we need when we need it.
Obviously I’m struggling with some fired-up issues, which is one of the reasons I wanted to attend Debbie’s talk in the first place. I felt pulled to be around other women and to be inspired. Debbie herself says it best:
“I’ve always been inspired by the energy of brilliant, dynamic, caring women coming together to create something more vibrant than what they could on their own. I live near the ocean on Martha’s Vineyard and call this my ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ theory.”
Yes! So, according to my friend, I created this event last night so that I could experience the rising tide. But what about all of the worry and self-doubt? Where’s that energy going? What’s it creating?
…and then BLAM. A woman standing right in front of me, eyeing me with a hardy dose of skepticism and perhaps a little disgust quivering about her upper lip, says, “Soooo…what’s this ‘book’ about?” I told her, and I swear on my MacBook, she says, “and they want you to write it?” As if she was questioning Hitler’s ability to pen a benevolent history of the Jewish people.
The safety had disappeared, vanished. I wanted to call Superman and beg him to fly backwards around the Earth several times so that I could pull the fire-laced words back into my mouth. Keeping them safe…you know…inside.
And so it is…
I’m carrying two big bags around on my shoulders. One is full of the excitement and thrill of a dream being realized. The other is a sack of shit: self-doubt, creative blockage, paranoia, isolation and fear. And when I walked into that room – both sacks were waiting for me to confront, absorb and choose between.
The good bag was warm and spirited – it led me to achieve my answer to #3 (What Do I Need?) – which is a stable, consistent group of women that meets regularly to share, support and inspire each other. I started forming it last night, and I can’t wait to get started. I seek community.
The bad bag was a mean, nasty, seething troll. Competition, greed, insecurity, doubt…they all live there.
I’m going with the good bag.
Whew!!! It feels good to say that out loud.
Who’s with me?
Image courtesy of anikaviro