Do you have a mission?
The word mission comes from the Latin mittere, which means send – as in to be sent out into the world on assignment, to spread the word and create change.
The women in my Be the Heroine coaching group either have a mission or are making themselves ready to accept one.
I, too, have a mission, which is to help people stop suffering and start living.
One source of suffering is playing small when you want to play big – when you want to be the heroine, but you’re stuck in a supporting role.
Ask me how I know about this particular pain.
Yes. It has inhibited me all my life, persuading me to avoid being out in front, to stick to the sidelines.
Which is a problem if your mission requires you to be the face of a business! It makes marketing a terror.
But this week, I was able finally to lay my hands on my saboteur, pull it out of the shadows, and put it in its place.
Exposing the Saboteur
It started when someone didn’t reply to my email.
I had done something that a client didn’t like, and she confronted me about it in an email.
She wasn’t wrong. I knew as I was doing it that it was a risk, but I thought that we had a strong enough relationship that she would take it in stride. But she didn’t, and I replied with an apology.
I reached out again.
The longer her silence lasted, the more anxious thoughts bloomed inside my head.
So, I did what I always do when I’m tired of suffering: The Work.
The safe container of the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet allowed my thoughts to be exposed: I knew it! One false move, one misstep, and it’s over; the scales fall from their eyes. My success is an illusion. Make one mistake and someone will believe I have no right, that I’m wrong, greedy, self-aggrandizing, unprofessional.
Oh, sweetie. No wonder you’re scared of marketing. You think you have to be perfect.
The Life-Narrowing Perfection Rule
In his brilliant book, A Liberated Mind, psychologist Dr. Steven Hayes talks about the rules we make for ourselves in an attempt to create coherence out of our noisy and contradictory thinking – and, I would add, the chaos of life.
This yearning for coherence is natural but hopeless. Thoughts – and life – will never be tidy. “The agenda of imposing a false order in our thoughts,” Hayes says, “gradually channels a yearning for coherence into living a narrower life.”
Somewhere along the way, I created a rule for myself that perfection was my prerequisite for putting myself forward. In order to be a public person, I must be beyond reproach, impeccable.
But because perfection is impossible, this rule narrowed my life. It allowed me to create but not market; to dream but not do; to use up my precious energy on the low-hanging fruits of my to-do list while letting important things languish.
I had to let go of this rule.
The Life-Expanding Defusion Pivot
Hayes says there is a way to satisfy our yearning for coherence that is both honest and constructive. He calls it the defusion pivot: de-fuse (detach) from your thinking and your rules and align with your values.
To “accept how chaotic our thinking can be and direct our attention and our behavior toward thoughts that are useful,” Hayes says, “channels our yearning for coherence into life expansion.”
In other words: let it be about the mission, not about you.
The Face(s) of My Mission
This is not the first time I’ve been made aware of my perfectionism or been told that my work is not about me. But it’s clicking this time because now my mission has a face: the Heroines.
My recent perfectionism flare-up was really about my nervousness to begin marketing Be the Heroine for 2023. Delightfully, most of the current Class of 2022 heroines will be continuing together for new adventures in the new year! But I’ll be inviting a new Class of 2023 to enroll, also. What if I say the wrong things and everyone says no?
Stand back, Saboteur! I choose to align with my mission. I choose to pay attention to the voices and faces of the Heroines who are flourishing because of the work we do together, who want it to continue and grow, and whose courage and commitment to their own missions inspires me!
Be the Heroine is a year-long, high-touch, small group coaching program for women who want to move from supporting characters to the leading ladies of their lives. If there’s something you want to do that you haven’t done yet, think about joining us in 2023. Application information coming soon!