Friday, April 29, 2011

4/29/11—Doing What It Takes

Today's Draw: Seven of Wands from the Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot. What stands between you and your goals? And what are you going to do about it? Are you your own worst enemy when it comes to getting what you want?

People often perceive that whimsical decks like the Phantasmagoric Theater are pure novelty and are not "real" tarot decks. Nonsense! Tarot is tarot. And this adorable deck is full of wisdom. 

In today's card, the bridge to the ringmaster's tent has disappeared! But that can't stop these three circus performers. They must confront the obstacle head on and find a way to get up there. As you can see, their obstacle even has an obstacle, because of one of them has no arms and legs. Still, they can't let that stand in their way (unintentional pun). They  must formulate a strategy and follow it to get to where they need to be. If they wait for fate or some other outside force to intervene, they may never get up there. They must take responsibility for their own mission. 

At various times in my career as a freelance advertising copywriter, I've come up against people who are somewhat bitter that I have all this freedom and earn a good hourly wage, while they're shackled to a desk at some agency working for "the man". After all, I'm not THAT talented. I'm not THAT well connected. I'm not THAT special. I'm really not. But what they don't understand is that it has NOTHING to do with how talented or hooked up I am. It also has nothing to do with how lucky I am, vs how lucky they are. Or how I must have wanted it more than them. Or anything like that. Those are all excuses they use to remain stuck. 

Although I probably do possess some personality traits that help me along, what it all really comes down to is this—I was willing to take risks that they were not. That's what it always comes down to. Now that may be a bit bold and in your face, but it's the straightforward truth. The people who have what you want, have it because they were willing to take the risks, expend the effort and put forth the discipline that you were not. 

One of my friends, over the past year or two, has lost a significant amount of weight while I remain stuck in my efforts. Simple truth...she was willing to do what I have not yet been willing to do. Instead of indulging her every craving, she finds another way to calm the voices within. And instead of sitting on her butt watching TV, she exercises. She even makes a game out of it, taking a picture from her daily walk and posting it on Facebook. She looks frickin' amazing. And I could use that as a "woe is me" story. Or I could be really happy for her. I choose the latter. Because how can I be bitter when she quite simply manned up to a challenge I haven't had the fortitude to man up to yet?

Here's the deal. And I'm going to tell it to you straight and not hold back. You can go through life as a victim of circumstance and your own bad choices. Or you can take personal responsibility for where you are in life and change everything. You'd think the victim thing would be easier, but it's not. It takes a lot of energy to be a victim. Not only that, it takes a lot of energy out of everyone around you. Whenever you say, "well that won't work for me because...." chances are you're playing the victim. Anytime you make excuses for what you don't have, that's probably what you're doing. Unless of course your excuse is "I can't do that because I'm not willing to." Then you're just being honest.

To be fair, I do think sometimes the forces of the universe try to steer you in another direction. So if you're really putting forth an effort and doing all that needs to be done, then it may be because you're being called in another direction. Or perhaps you need to take a gut check and determine if this is what you really want. Not everyone can work for themselves, for example. You have to be comfortable not seeing other humans for days or weeks on end...or you need to make a plan to find group diversions. You have to be self motivated. Whether I have work or not, I'm available to clients every morning. And I have never watched TV in the daytime. (I watch Oprah every day, but almost always on DVR.) And you really need to be able to emotionally and financially handle the ups and downs of a freelancer's workflow. Even after 15 years, that can be a challenge. 

So that brings us back to the original questions...are you willing to do what it takes to achieve your goals? And if not, are you willing to drop the goal happily knowing that you're not? Because any other way, you're being your own worst enemy and the energy it takes to regret and envy and mope can be better put toward something you ARE willing to tackle. So what does all this bring up in you?

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