In case you missed it, here's a peek at my first moments from Camp Mighty (Part I). Maggie Mason, founder of Go Mighty and writer of longstandingly awesome blog Mighty Girl, started her presentation on the first full day of Camp by describing the cycle that our lives go through:
Crisis/Roadblock –> Dreaming/Scheming –> Planning/Working –> Leveling Up –> Crisis/Roadblock
These phases were the basis of her introduction to life lists. We are all at different phases in our lives, and in those different phases, our lists will look differently. If you just got divorced, lost your job, are mourning some significant loss, your list might be simple, basic goals that help you to make it through the days: brush your teeth once a day or remember to wash the dishes.
If you're moving out of crisis management, you may be more in the dreaming phase where you fill your list will bazillions of awesome goals. If you've really honed in on a direction you want to go and are really focusing on one area, then you've moved into the Planning/Working phase. And if you're really taking that work to the next level and your goals are getting more fine tuned and specific, you've made it the Leveling up phase. And then, inevitably at some point, something happens that moves your life in a new direction, and the cycle begins again.
First, we must come as we are and be realistic with ourselves about where we are right now and what makes the best sense for our life list. And then she mentioned a powerful print by Lisa Congdon she has hanging in her office (of course I wanted to buy this immediately):
Print by Lisa Congdon. Quote by Raymond Carver.
Then she shared this quote from Brene Brown,
"If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe we are worthy of love and belonging."
and then Maggie said something I couldn't write down fast enough:
There's no rush, and also there's no time to waste.
Life lists, Maggie said, ask you who are and you want to be come. And then it smacked me:
Only I can write my own list. Only I know who I truly am. Only I know who I want to become.
Only I can believe I am enough. Only I can believe I am worthy of love and belonging.
BAM. How true and hard is that? Loving and trusting myself. Meeting my own self where I am is the first step. Not just meeting others where they are, but actually meeting and acknowledging myself wherever I am.
Sheesh. I know that seems obvious, but when I was facing a life list full of goals, that truth seemed pretty big.
I thought, oh jeez. The list is the easy part. It's believing I'm the person who can check off the goals on that list that's the hard part. That's the part that will take work even more than the actually accomplishing.
Y'all, and this revelation was like 15 minutes in on the first day of Camp.
Maggie went on to share five key points:
1) Self-Acceptance is not antithetical to growth.
You can accept yourself as you are where you are and still be on a path of change, of discovery, of adventure. Becoming yourself is a life's work. And you know what, I don't want to wait to end the becoming to accept myself.
2) Get to work on your strengths.
Boom. Revelation #2: I spend a lot of time focusing on the things I don't know how to do. These aren't necessarily weaknesses because I'm trying things I've never tried before, but they're definitely not strengths. I put a lot of energy into non-strengths. My frickin' life motto is Living to Learn, Learning to Live. Don't get me wrong. I think that focusing on new things is scary and can be awesome, but it's also slightly (and by slightly I mean entirely) possible that I'm using my quest for learning as a way to avoid focusing on my strengths.
This revelation literally knocked the breath out of me. I realized that I'm afraid to focus on my strengths (writing), and I realized why:
what if I focused on my strengths, and put as much energy as I can into them, and they still just weren't good enough.
I mean, isn't that terrifying? That idea that your deepest secret power of awesome (whatever that might be) might just not be good enough. But then I realized, as long as I spent my life avoiding my strengths, my strengths will definitely never be more than just an afterthought, a possibility that I never pursue.
MAN. This revelation was scary for me. I realized that I don't run from my strengths professionally. Professionally, I've been pretty good at facing them and that's brought me success. But personally, creatively, deep down, I'm refusing to be vulnerable. And I'll just never grow at all unless I'm willing to be vulnerable and to focus on those areas that are most precious and most sacred to me.
Does anyone else feel they run from their strengths?
3) Embrace fear as growth.
Lifelists help to expand your horizons, and I'm pretty good at expanding my horizons. Something new I could learn or hear or experience–I'm in. Facing the truest fear that is quieting all the distractions and facing the blank screen, that's a whole different type of growth.
On my path I'm going to have to work on my strengths and temporarily suspend my fears (or just ignore them for a while).
4) Do not procrastinate what you can abandon.
One of the ways we avoid self-examination is by filling our plate.
Revelation #3: I fill my plate with valid, awesome things to avoid working on my scary strengths, and then I feel guilty when I can't do everything. and then I'm just on a vicious cycle of filling and failing, filling and failing.
5) Seek Meaning Before Happiness
Maggie's message stuck with me throughout the weekend. I was fired up and thinking about deep-down difficult things. Camp Mighty was a beautiful, fun, relaxing event. There was space and time to just relax and think, so even during my down time my heart and my mind were doing the work they needed to do to move me forward. Stay tuned for Part III, the final recap.
Happy Friday, y'all. Enjoy the crisp air and the smell of fall this weekend.