Your dreams have to die for you to be more.
In the most challenging week of my life, I learned the four biggest lessons to living a life of Authenticity, Love, and Courage.
In the span of seven days, my life was shaken, and at times broke me, to my core. My dreams of getting married, settling down and building my corporate career were engulfed by the testing flames of destiny.
It was the end of Easter and my relationship of two-and-a-half years was kicked to the curb. Wedding cancelled, kicked out of our apartment, I was forced to move back in with my parents.
This was to be the start of the most challenging, stressful, and life-defining week of my life. I would reboot my business, my relationship and my life to be in a place with so much more uncertainty, fear, and freedom.
Every reboot in life shouldn’t be seen as a restart but as a transformation.
Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go. – Herman Hesse
The decision to let go of the relationship was not sudden, nor was it difficult when you see that the both of you are suffering. I was suffering because I was feeling like a caged lion, she was suffering because she didn’t feel safe with me, financially. I was limiting my potential (and hers); I couldn’t see what that potential really was. Yet I knew I was destined to do more than work in a corporate six-figure job that I had spent eight years working to create.
A day after the break-up I had a huge moment of clarity with my coaches when they lit the path in my darkest hour to show me this was the moment to go all-in with my side business. I’d finally freed myself from the shackles of security because no longer could I use my fiancé as the excuse. Now it was all on me. It was all on me to look deeply at what was the reason why I stayed in my corporate job.
It came down to a fear of the unknown. What I knew in this moment was that I had to go for it. To become even more of who I was than I thought I believed was possible. So I worked the courage to submit my resignation two days after the break-up. Sudden? Yes.
Spur of the moment? Never. It was always part of the plan.
The week was not yet over, however. By the end of the week, I would also have to fire my first ever employee in my own small business.
The Hottest Fires Forge the Strongest Swords- Chinese Wisdom
Here are the four biggest lessons I learned in this week from hell.
Lesson #1 – Being in the Moment and Embracing the Feelings
Any breakdown of a relationship is going to be difficult in terms of emotions because you’re going to go through the void. That new space that was once filled with the couple-y things we both shared. For a few days, I was really finding ways to distract myself from the loneliness, the over-thinking, the constant doubting. Distractions like Netflix, games, drinking and eating only serve to divert attention from the root problem.
When you simply just let yourself grieve in a space that is safe only then can you really let the feelings release. Feelings are natural to experience, but you’ve become conditioned to suppress and hide from the dark feelings. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been told to stop crying, shamed for being upset or even ridiculed for expressing your feelings. Your feelings need to experience the whole cycle, just like food or water. What goes in must come out, but with feelings you hold on to it, hold it, HOLD IT.
These feelings arenNever to be released until the pressure builds up uncontrollably and you erupt like a volcano because someone didn’t return your message. This is the same in any situation; you have to let yourself experience the feelings in any moment. To not judge them, to not let the influence of others judge you for them. Just to embrace the light or the dark feelings and be with them when they come. There is no need to rush, even though it is tempting to move beyond them. All you need to know is to have total faith that you can see this through because this too shall pass and you’ll be able to handle what will come.
Lesson #2 -Support Comes When You’re the Most Vulnerable
Part of being in the moment and surrendering to your feelings also means you’ll have to be willing to be vulnerable. It means not hiding from what’s going on in your life. I had to tell my boss I needed a day off because I couldn’t face walking into work pretending my life was ‘good’. I had to tell my family and be willing to bare the pain I was going through to my family because I needed somewhere to lean on. When I made that call, they all came rushing to my side and we held a family emergency dinner (I like to call it) the very night I had to pack my stuff and come back home.
I reached out to friends I hadn’t been a close with since I was in the relationship and ask for them to just hang out with me for days. I had to open up to my boss at work because I couldn’t pretend anymore and through it I saw his humanity and was lifted from the worries I had about leaving the workplace. It was in this one week where I openly shared with my audience and clients and found that I received a tsunami of support I never thought I had.
Everyone is scared of being alone. Everyone is scared to be the first to open up, but when you take that leap to be the one to open up, you never know who will come to your side to help you back up when you fall over. Don’t hide from the rest of the world when they come knocking on your door; be willing to just be you and through vulnerability, the deepest connections are formed.
Lesson #3 -Personal Growth is Like an Onion
The reason why I don’t call these moments a reboot be more of an evolution is through this experience I’ve realized that there is always something new to learn, accept and love about ourselves.
See when you’re in personal development and you work on accepting and loving who you are, you find that you hit a point where you think you accept and love all that you are. “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
Lesson #4 – Embodying Who You Are
It may seem like it was an over-reaction to go from a serious relationship breakdown to quitting a six-figure job AND making the first firing in a business. You might be thinking ‘hang on a second Richard, you’re moving a little too fast here and I think you should really slow down and reconsider what you’re about to do.’
One of my best friends said that to me, but when I called him up and explained the whole situation he said these words to me.
“This is the most responsible thing you can do for yourself right now”
In that moment I stepped up, stepped in and took the leap to building the life I wanted. I started to live in my warrior spirit and no longer am the victim of circumstance, but the captain of my destiny.
I have to let go of who I was in order to become who I might be – Lao Tzu
Life is a constant rollercoaster ride of emotions. The trials and tribulations flowed in and out as quickly as they came and the same goes for the successes and wins. We are all just constantly on a path of tweaking, refining and growing ourselves. Each layer we unveil about ourselves will feel like a revolution, an evolution, and a need to rebuild. Remember it was always part of the plan.