Here is the next in my series of posts about my own journey of becoming a Spiritual Pro.
The two most important days in your life are:
- You the day you were born
- The day you discover why you were born
This is the story of the day I discovered why I was born and what I was born to do.
In 1986, I was in my corporate career selling computers in the City of London, doing well on the outside but really struggling on the inside. I felt a bit lost, even though I was successful. I didn’t feel I had been put on earth to sell computers to foreign banks, but didn’t know why I was on earth or even if any kind of purpose for being here.
Someone recommended a counsellor/therapist to me and I started seeing her. She was trained in Transactional Analysis (TA), and I found the insights and understandings I got from her incredibly illuminating and helped me make sense of my experience and my upbringing.
She told me about a lady called Julie Hay who taught TA in the world of organisations and management, so I got in touch and started training with Julie one weekend a month, and she became a mentor to me.
At one training weekend in May 1986, Julie said to me, “Are you going to the TA national conference in Cirencester in October? I think you should come, and it would be great if you would present a workshop there.” I nearly choked! Me present in front of all those grown up therapists, counsellors and consultants? “No way! I am a student, not a teacher, I am not ready for that!” I protested. My resistance kicked in big time; I didn’t feel grown up enough to do that, even though I was 28 at the time.
But Julie persisted, as good mentors do. She didn’t buy into my own limitations and stories and kept suggesting I consider it. Eventually I capitulated and submitted a proposal for a two-hour workshop to the committee, which I secretly hoped they would reject. They accepted it, which caused me to feel even more terror. “Ah, probably no-one will sign up to attend so I probably won’t have to run it,” I reassured myself.
So in the October I travelled down to Cirencester for the conference on the Friday afternoon at the Royal Agricultural College as I was due to be presenting on the Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t sleep on the Friday night, worried, anxious, convinced that either no-one would come or I would have to run it and I would screw it up and humiliate myself. I spent much of the night preparing and over-preparing.
Come the Saturday afternoon, I walked into the seminar room, and gradually 24 people arrived. Shit! I was really going to have to run this thing, and I cursed myself for saying yes to doing it. There was no way out, so I took a deep breath and started to speak.
Within minutes, my nerves had gone, and I felt confident I found myself in a flow, and I began to really enjoy myself. I began to experience myself in a new way. A “me” that has probably always been hidden away in me began to surface. I saw people smiling at what I was saying, making notes, asking questions, willingly participating in the exercises I suggested to them. I and the group were engaged with each other.
And then it dawned on me – this is what I am on earth to do. Not specifically to teach TA, but to inspire, to teach, educate and communicate life-affirming and life-enhancing ideas, encouraging people to discover and blossom into their full potential, to offer thought leadership. This is what I was born to do. It was less of a decision, and more of a remembering, a dawning realisation, “Ah, this is what I promised to do, now I remember.” It was a moment of inspiration where my soul moved from being an intangible idea to a tangible experience. I awoke.
After the workshop I was on a high and felt fabulous. But the feeling didn’t last long though! My perfectionist streak soon kicked in and I focussed on all the things I didn’t get to say and what I could have said better. But however hard my ego tried, it couldn’t erase the memory of that taste of how I experienced myself. I couldn’t deny what I had experienced.
Something else of great significance in giving that talk was this: I beat my own resistance. My fear, doubt, lack of confidence and insecurity didn’t win the day. My inspiration and courage did. Something else I learned then and has stayed with me ever since is this: I very rarely do feel ready to go what I feel inspired and called to do. I am not sure many of us do. We proceed with our vulnerability and our fear. This is one of the keys to happiness, success and fulfilment – show up before you feel ready, and unfurl your wings and build your confidence as you go.
And this was a just a two hour talk, and I had no idea how I could ever make a living out of doing this, but I was curious to how I could. Julie started to put some bits of work my way and I would take days off from my corporate job and “moonlight” as a trainer. I got good feedback, I enjoyed it and I got paid. In business terms, I had “Proved my concept.”
But the seed was sown, and it nourished that seed. It took another three years before I actually resigned to start my business.
Now, that talk is nearly three decades ago. From talking about TA, I gradually found my own voice and have developed my own thinking and my own messages and my own signature material. I have now given talks in most of the major cities in the UK and in seventeen other countries. I have written nine books that have been translated into seven languages. I have created an international mentoring and coaching practice. And it all gradually sprang from giving that first talk. I opened a door on my inspiration that has never closed, and I doubt that it ever will.
In those two hours my life started on a new trajectory. I crossed a threshold and I underwent an initiation; something alchemical shifted within me. Having tasted what I was born to do, I couldn’t turn away from it, however terrified I have felt at times and even when I haven’t had much faith in myself. Something awoke in me and has stayed awake and grown ever since, and will continue to grow whilst I am still breathing. The acorn has gradually become an oak tree that has blossomed over and over again. And at times my journey has felt incredibly challenging and I almost felt like giving up more than once. But I am so glad I never gave up.
For nearly 20 years I have been successfully helping tens of thousands of people discover what they were born to do. But my ability to do that hinged on me having discovered what I was born to do. Obviously, discovering what I was born to do was a pivotal moment in my life.
This was one of the pivotal moments in my life that gave me the courage to step-up with my new work.
What was one of your pivotal moments? Recognising these moments as the redirection in life that they are is a way of acknowledging our ability to be a Spiritual Pro every day.
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