Over our lifetimes we spend so much time moulding ourselves into who we think we should be, that we forget who we really are. But worse than that, we let go of who we’re yet to become.
When I was a kid I used to love a game of hide-and-seek. I would play with my friends in the bushland near my home or in my Grandpa’s sheds.
As an adult I played with my kids, searching around the house pretending I couldn’t see their feet sticking out from under the curtains or hear them giggling from behind the doors.
What I thought was a harmless game was actually a harsh reality. You see it turns out I’ve been playing hide and seek with myself for most of my life.
I’ve been seeking opportunity and a path that would bring me the joy and fulfilment I craved, yet hiding my true self in the process.
At school I studied the classes I thought would get me ‘the good job’ not the ones that I was actually interested in.
I sought out promotions in jobs that weren’t a good fit for me personally because they looked great on paper.
I became really good at seeking, but even better at hiding.
Hiding from myself, and also hiding from others.
Eventually the game had to come to an end, but my lifelong habit of hide and seek was a tough one to break.
I would take two steps forward in my new direction, and then retreat and hide again. I kept slipping back into the comfort of certainty even though deep down I knew I wanted more.
We think by playing small we’ll stay safe, but all we’re doing is hurting ourselves.
A few years ago I had an opportunity to climb Mount Kinabalu in Borneo. We’d made the first part of the climb and had grabbed a few hours sleep at the rest house. At 1.30am we were woken to eat and get ready for our climb to the Summit. It was pitch black and as I looked up towards the Summit I saw a trail of tiny lights leading up to the sky.
At first I thought they were the stars, but I soon realised they were the headlamps of my fellow climbers making their way up the mountain. Each one was so small and seemingly insignificant, but the more I thought about it the more I realised it only takes one star to have a huge impact in the world.
Something within me stirred and I knew I wanted to make an impact. I wanted to create a ripple effect around me so each small step that I took would reach out and multiply.
As the sun rose that morning I looked out from the summit at the world beneath me, I realised it was up to me to make a difference, and be the difference in my life. I could no longer wait for others to give me the permission I sought or tell me what I needed to do.
Only I knew what was right for me.
We aren’t in school anymore. We don’t have to wait to be picked for the team. It’s now up to us to pick ourselves, step forward and create the life we want.
To feel how we want to feel.
To play how we want to play.
To work how we want to work.
To live how we want to live.
You have to put yourself forward so the opportunities you’re looking for are able to find you. If you stay hidden in the dark with the rest of the stars, how will opportunity know which one to pick?
You need to shine brighter by being honest with yourself and those around you about who you are and what you actually want.
Join me to discover how to step into the direction you want to take at the ‘Now you see Me…’ workshop at the upcoming TEDxCanberra Salon event on 25th March 2017.
This workshop will help you get clear on your intention and be empowered to go after what you actually want to create. Imagine a life where you show up as who you really want to be, and embrace the ideas you have. A life where you feel courageous enough to step into the power already within you.
By Natasha Vanzetti