Sometimes you’ve got to get raw to get real.
In 2012, I dreamed of creating a place for people to grow and get happy, to mimic my childhood summer camp experiences, integrated with relevant sessions to help people deal with the issues so many of us were facing, but not talking about (in fear of what?? Failing, probably. Not being perfect…or something like that.)
Anyway, I found a beautiful spot in Malibu, close enough to where I had recently moved in LA (from Miami), and after taking my family to tour the joint a handful of times, plopped down to put my stake in the ground.
I picked a date and worked feverishly to build this thing, on nights and weekends, outside of my full-time job, and I really believed I could make it happen. It was overwhelming, and when I couldn’t find enough people to make it worth doing, I bailed. I failed and it took me down, hard. And I tortured myself for a while. Thought I had hit rock bottom. (Always a little funny in hindsight, once you know how much more you can endure, and how much better you’ll ultimately be for it.)
And then I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and made a pledge to wipe the slate clean, start over and attempt to do it again, albeit differently.
Six months later, Campowerment as we know it, was born.
I have come to learn, sometimes you’ve got to take 5 to hide in order to effectively seek.
Getting quiet and opening yourself up to the vulnerable parts that you’ve been squashing down deep inside you, is not a very fun game, especially when you’re in the thick of it.
But when upset, if you can make a sharp left turn from overwhelm or frustration into reflection, a world of possibility awaits, in action. It’s that thoughtful reflection, then movement in an intentional direction, that can transform not only how you understand what you are capable of overcoming, but also HOW you overcome it.
From where I stand, there are three critical parts to leveling up your life:
(1) Shift your perspective
(2) Edit actions accordingly
(3) Repeat, sharing with others along the way
I love that, for so many people (women who come to Campowerment as individuals and men + women who come with their companies/orgs), we create a safe space for the first to happen, and a joyful environment to write the roadmap to the second. The outcome: you re-ignite your life.
And what happens in step three is beyond the campfire, but never quite the same, never in the same kind of darkness or closet or big hole, because other people who care about you and are rooting for you (but maybe not quite invested or biased as your at-home community) are for you, for as long as you’ll let them be.
But it doesn’t have to be our experience or our community that gets your reboot going. Ours has everything you need to get there, but the important thing is you find your way to tap into the game.
How to start to play this game:
– Think: where in my life, big or small, is there a hot spot that makes me feel not-so-awesome?
– Ask yourself: What might happen if I took some space, some time, with nothing else to do but this, to really look at what feels like this enormous challenge I’m facing and dig in to assess what’s really up? (This is the beginning of what it’s like to map out a dream.)
– Then, do it: Commit to 1 day (or even half a day, to start) with no distraction. Go outside or go to a bookstore where no one knows you (shout out to Grandy, the bibliophile who’s so hoping there are still bookstores where you live…) or go to the beach or make your own backup plan: sit in a parking lot with an OK view in your car with some jazz or elevator music on! Whatever you need to do to get some space.
– Take a notebook and allow yourself to talk to yourself (this part’s funny), and go: purge thoughts. Allow disorder. Dump it all. Don’t hold back. Write statements and questions and allow your soul to catch up to your brain. This will give you a place to start. It will help you get unhidden. It will help you find a place from which to begin to seek.
– Next: read your notes, twice, and mark up where your words seem out of whack with what you want for yourself, who you want to be. Gain perspective on what’s going on in your head, what that may mean about what’s going on in your life, and why.
– End your session with a list of actions to help take you out of overwhelm and into a plan. Keep it simple: 5 things, to start, that could help you apply your newfound awareness to shifting your input, and thus, shifting life’s output. Sit there in all of it until you’ve made a to-do list that will help you seek from this place of perspective.
– Last, make a promise with a tangible date to revisit it all.
This is our deep-diving game of hide and seek, otherwise called life. You can open your eyes now.