The Practice of Becoming
"Bring the man you aspire to be, the one who already has the love he longs for. Play every piece of yourself and play it with all you’ve got until you’re not playing anymore. That’s what Cary Grant did. The lonely boy who lost his mom in the fog of his father’s deceit found himself in the magic of wanting to be.
His name was Archibald Leach." -Cheryl Strayed
Working in the same city as your company's world headquarters has some unique perks. For instance, the president of my company spoke at our all-staff meeting this week, espousing some simple wisdom that rocked my world. He told the story of becoming who he is, which started with a clear goal followed by a series of conscious choices. He asserted that in order to achieve a dream, one must act as if they have already arrived to the place they hope to reach. Once you decide what your goal is, you begin to ask yourself over and over, "What would someone who has achieved this mastery do in this situation?" and act accordingly. The theory is that if you are acting as if you already have it, you are bound to get it.
It's a simple idea, but when you really apply it to your life it can have a profound effect. I've begun asking myself, "What would a strong, powerful woman do?" looking to the strong, powerful women I know for guidance. It turns out that the strong, powerful version of myself that I aspire to be has very low tolerance for compromising compromises. She has struck a balance between humility and confidence, having intimacy with her shortcomings and soft spots but refusing to allow that to decrease her sense of value. She does not feel entitled, but rather worthy. She's kind of a badass and I'm already more than a little in love with her.
Like so many transformations, it's incremental and requires practice. The example that the president used was people joining our fitness club to lose weight. Statistically speaking, people who come to us focused on how much weight they want to lose typically don't reach their goal. When trainers focus their clients on a goal to be healthy and help them learn to make choices based on "what a healthy, fit person would do," they are much more successful. It's kind of a Field of Dreams effect- if you build it into your life, you'll eventually have a whole new way of being to come into.
What's your dream? Who or what do you want to become?
First of all, know how worthy you are of creating and living the life you want. Secondly, wrap your arms around your already extraordinary perfection. You are a living, breathing (hopefully dancing and rabble rousing) miracle. This moment is an ideal jumping off point for even more magnificent acts of greatness that started with your first, gigantic new born gasp. Seek out role models who are living what you want and watch what they do. Not all their choices will work for you, or lead to your eventual success, but they will be like lighthouses in the fog until you get better at embodying your best self. Practice and practice until one day, maybe without even realizing, you become what you imagined.
Pause for a moment and marvel. You are both the lump of clay and the skillful sculptor. Create and become.