For the New Year I want to take a new direction, while I am still going to share content from my favorite sites it will be less frequent and I plan to introduce some new monthly content like the LIVE WELL monthly challenge. Each month I will introduce a new challenge to focus on and I will be attempting the challenge as well, you can follow my progress at ellicecampbell.com as well as instagram & twitter. The inaugural challenge is:
Finding your voice and the art of becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable
I think the new year is a perfect time to get real with yourself, at some point we all have to quit bullshitting ourselves if we ever hope our lives will begin to resemble the dream life we envision. If we are so preoccupied with what people will think we will NEVER really go for what we desire. In reality the status quo is comfortable, we probably have learned how to navigate daily life fairly painlessly, but if you really get down to it are you happy? Does your life fire you up or do you dread each day? Do you find it hard to speak up and be heard? Do you tend to be a shrinking violet when it comes to social situations?
For whatever reason we may perceive ourselves as “less than” and this negative perception may hold us back from embracing our truth and confidently sharing our most authentic voice. Those nagging negative thoughts creep in and undermine our confidence, I say it’s time to silence those sabotaging thoughts and learn to embrace your unique YOUNESS.
Anyone who has hesitated to share their opinion or speak up in front of a group knows how strong the urge to conform can be. We tend to seek justifications and rationalizations to continue with things as they are, without imagining new & exciting possibilities or challenging the status quo. But although staying silent may make things easier for the moment at hand, you are not really doing yourself any favors in the long run. Especially if you’ve got your eye on changing the world, promoting your passion, or speaking your truth in the public arena. It takes courage to push beyond your comfort zone, to step up and face your vulnerability in order to make a powerful statement.
At some point, most of us have to face the realization that in order to get noticed and be heard, you have to find your authentic voice, even if it means subjecting yourself to some amount of pain. (Being comfortable with the “pain” of being uncomfortable).
Remember: The only approval you need is your own.
Here are a few questions from Accidental Creative that may help uncover clues to your unique personal voice. Set aside some time with a notebook or journal to reflect on each:
What angers you? Every super hero needs a bad guy. Without one, the super hero has nothing to fight against. Are there specific things that evoke a compassionate anger in you? (Key point of differentiation: this is not about road rage, poor service, or leaving the seat up. We’re talking about the systemic things that evoke a desire to intervene in a situation as an act of compassion or to rectify a great wrong.)
What makes you cry? Think about the last several instances that caused you to cry. Movies are fair game too. I’ve noticed that I almost always tear up while watching stories of underdogs who overcome incredible odds. This is a clue to me that my greatest work may somehow involve fighting for those who are oppressed or unheard. (Hence…we call AC “freedom fighters for the creative class.”)
What have you mastered? Are there tasks, skills, or opportunities that you have simply mastered and can do without thinking? These low-friction activities might give you a clue to ways you can continue pursuing your voice. We learn through action, observation, then correction. Start with what you do well, and work your way toward your goal.
What gives you hope? What do you look forward to? What great vision do you have for your future and the future of others? Hope is a powerful motivator, and can give you a clue to the ways in which you may be able to compel others to act.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? We often forget the earliest clues to our voice as we are burdened with the expectations of peers, teachers, parents, and eventually the marketplace. But those early days of wonder – the vast expanses of horizon that hinted at limitless possibility – can give us insight into the deeper seeds of fascination that still reside within us. So…what did/do you want to be when you grow up?
If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do? It astounds me how few people have asked themselves this question, and it astounds me more how few people can arrive at an answer when they do. We believe that a lack of resources is the obstacle to our happiness and fulfillment, but for many of us the limitation has nothing to do with a lack of money or time. The limitation is our fear of falling short of our own self-perception. We point fingers at others because we can’t reconcile our own fear of engagement. We don’t think about limitless possibility because we are afraid of what would happen if we were to get it.
What would blow your mind? (Thanks to my friend Lisa Johnson for this one.) Take about an hour to list 40 things that would blow your mind if they happened. You’ll get to about 15 before you find it difficult. Keep going. List out every thing that would thrill you if it were to happen, including relational things, business things, travel, ambitions, hopes, etc. My wife and I have done this a few times, stretching each time we do. To date, many of the things on our list have actually happened. Some never will. But it’s a great way to identify patterns in your motivation.
What platform do you own? No need to start over. Build from where you are. What platform do you already have for self-expression? What foundation can you build on to begin affecting the kinds of change you’d like to see? Never trust someone who says they want to see the world change, but can’t affect change in their own neighborhood.
What change would you like to see in the world? If you could identify a single delta – a big change that you would like to see before you die – what would it be? What would be different about the world because you lived? Don’t be afraid to think big, but be specific. You may not be the one to lead this change, but you may be able to play a significant role in it. (By the way…think relationships here too. The biggest change you and I have the capacity to make is in the lives of others.)
If you had one day left, how would you spend it? If you knew that you would evaporate at midnight, how would you spend your last day on earth? What questions would you ask? Who would you spend time with? What work would you do? Again, this is an interesting way to begin identifying patterns within your passions, skills, and experiences.
“You don’t want to get to the top of the ladder only to find out you had it leaning up against the wrong wall.”― Jack Canfield,
Danielle LaPorte takes a different approach in The Desire Map, and urges you to figure out the core feelings you want since many of us chase after certain goals and aspirations for the perceived feelings that will come along with the accomplishment. “What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our lives, and then we laid out our intentions? What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays — your life?” I just finished up the Desire Map workbook and getting clarity on how I wanted to feel was just the direction I needed. Here are some visual depictions of my core desired feelings if you need some inspiration:
I also highly recommend reading this awesome article by Mark Manson, 7 Strange Questions that Help You Find Your Life Purpose, it’s filled with all sorts of truth nuggets, my favorite being, “What shit sandwich do you want to eat? Because we all get served one eventually.”
“If you want to be a brilliant tech entrepreneur, but you can’t handle failure, then you’re not going to make it far. If you want to be a professional artist, but you aren’t willing to see your work rejected hundreds, if not thousands of times, then you’re done before you start. If you want to be a hotshot court lawyer, but can’t stand the 80-hour workweeks, then I’ve got bad news for you.
What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle? Are you able to stay up all night coding? Are you able to put off starting a family for 10 years? Are you able to have people laugh you off the stage over and over again until you get it right?”
I truly believe each and every one of us has some contribution to make to this crazy world, so my challenge for the month is to get clear on what YOU want, how you want to feel and to get honest with yourself on what has been holding you back from shouting it from the rooftops.
Live Well – Find Your Voice – Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.
I would love to know how you are doing with the challenge, what revelations have you had? Do you have any tips or tricks that help you be comfortable with being uncomfortable? Let us know, leave a comment!
Accept everything you are — and aren’t. That is true happiness