I want to share a lesson I learned that I hope will help you strengthen your own emotional and spiritual fitness muscles.
You know when you meet someone and feel instant chemistry? That’s how it was with Carla, Roxanne, and I. We met last September at a conference and just clicked.
The final speaker at that conference was the world’s leading high performance coach, Brendon Burchard. Carla jumped on his train right away and is now a High Performance Coach. Go Carla! As a graduate, she had the opportunity to extend invitations to some friends for his 4-day High Performance Academy in sunny San Diego.
Hmmmm. San Diego in March, the chance to meet people from all over the globe who want to made a positive impact in the world, 4 days of personal and professional development training, and some girl time? SOLD to the chick sitting in cold, cloudy Pittsburgh working alone on her laptop who wants to inspire people to “Live Life with Wow”!
Fast forward to today. The big day finally arrived. The three of us are jet-setting to San Diego from our respective homes in PA, GA, and Canada. I’ve looked forward to this day for months. Not only will I get to bond with these amazing women again, but I decided to take full advantage of this amazing opportunity and complete the High Performance Academy certification.
California, here I come!
Or … am I?
What I thought was a no-brainer turned out to be more like a mental ping pong game.
It started three days ago when two of my boys came down with fevers. Hello Mommy guilt and the unraveling of my confidence in my decision. “Why are they getting sick now? Is this the Universe trying to tell me something?”
Their fevers persisted up to today and none of my usual supporters were available to watch them. The questions got louder. “Why is this happening? Should I cancel? Am I a terrible mother if I go?”
Thankfully, a close friend came to my rescue and offered to take care of my boys for the day.
Then, for the first time ever, I missed my flight. I sat for two hours in deadlocked traffic behind an accident. “Really? Is this another sign? Should I go home?”
Fortunately, the airline representative worked his magic and confirmed a seat for me on the next flight while I was still stuck in my car, when you typically have to stand in line and hope there’s a seat left for you by the time it’s your turn in line. His little magic spell offered me a short window of time to stop for a bathroom break and to grab a tea. Ironically, I ended up seeing a woman who I’d wanted to connect with for some time and now we’re meeting for lunch.
I finally made it to the airport, only to find out that the next flight they put me on got delayed. I had such a small window between my flights that there was a good chance I’d miss my connection. I couldn’t believe it. “Why? Why is this happening? Is God protecting me from making a tragic mistake? Or maybe this particular conference isn’t right for me?”
I’d already checked my bag when the airline representative told me about the short layover. I looked up and watched my bag loop around the luggage belt and disappear behind the wall. “No! What if I didn’t make the connection? What about my luggage? The bag is small enough to carry-on. Why didn’t I check it?”
My husband’s perfectly timed call snapped me out of my panic mode. I pleaded with the not-so-willing airline attendant to help me get my bag back since I didn’t know if I was even going to go to San Diego at this point. She eventually agreed to radio the “luggage guys”, but shook her head with annoyance when she asked them to see if they could find and return my bag out of the hundreds that were going in different directions on different flights. About thirty minutes later, it showed up.
I held my bag close and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. “Please God, I need you to be more clear. I want to go. But why do these curveballs keep getting chucked my way?”
I got to the gate and glanced at the board. Not realizing at first what I saw, I started to put my things down. Then I shook my head in disbelief. This flight was delayed! “What?”
My stomach tightened up in knots. “What now? Even though I’ve anticipated this trip for so long and believed it could benefit me personally and professionally, I should go home. All these things must be happening for a reason.”
I took a breath of resolve and said to myself, “God, this is it. If there’s one more delay, I know that you’re telling me to turn around. I’m out of here.”
I looked down and saw something shiny by my feet. It was a lone dime. Weird. Roxanne just told me just this morning that anytime she saw a dime, she felt like it was a sign that the Universe was taking care of her.
I walked back to my gate. My heart sank. A new departure time. Delayed again.
The ping pong balls banging against each side of my head were downright painful. I wanted to go so badly. But like Roxanne, I believe that the Universe offers us signs to guide our path. It’s just a matter of whether or not we choose to listen.
Shall I Stay or Shall I Go?
It was decision time. When I looked at the situation straight on, I saw all the issues raining on my parade.
But then I looked from a different angle.
My kids woke up with fevers, but they were low grade now and both of them felt significantly better this morning. My busy friend happened to have a clear schedule today. I made an unexpected business connection. Roxanne told me her dime story just this morning. My bag was recovered and in my hand. The airline gave me $100 credit for a future flight. And I ended up getting the first seat in general boarding.
So was my day really full of dark clouds looming over my head? Or was it full of silver linings?
A Test of My Emotional and Spiritual Fitness Muscles
Roxanne, who had a busy international travel schedule, happened to be available when I called her to talk.
As I told her about all the conflicting events, two things happened. First, I heard myself emphasizing all the positives that occurred. And two, I began to recognize the disconnect between my heart and my head. My thoughts were rooted in fear and self-pity, but my heart felt comforted and cared for by all the silver linings.
I hung up with her, took a deep breath, quieted my mind, and exhaled my fears. It took a little time but I began to see that all my reasons for cancelling were rooted in fear. Fear that my absence would cause my family stress. Fear that people would think I’m a terrible mother. Fear that going to this conference would limit my options to do other things that could enhance my life even more. Fear that this isn’t the exact right thing for me. Fear that something tragic could happen.
When I saw my concerns for what they were, all the excitement I felt before my kids got sick welled back up in my heart. Why would I allow these inconveniences derail me from my goal? I preach this all this time. Life always tests our resolve. But we have the freedom to choose. When we face obstacles, will we continue to move forward in Faith, or be derailed by fear. Today, I choose Faith, baby.
As I write this to you from the plane, I’m smiling because I honored the decision I made months ago to follow through with something that I know will benefit my life. And no joke. The two funny, outgoing people sitting next to me (in the seat I got to choose with my A1 boarding pass) asked me for my business card.
Are We Leading with Faith or Fear?
I still believe that the Universe directs us on a path toward our highest good. I still believe it’s our choice to listen. But I forgot a critical piece. I believe that to hear what the Universe is saying, we need to quiet our minds and allow ourselves time to look at our situation from a higher perspective. Throughout the day, I stayed the course not because my over-thinking, over-analyzing, over-critical mind led me, but because my heart did.
When has this situation happened to you? Have you let obstacles perpetuate dramatic emotions that impacted your perspective, and found yourself making choices out of fear rather than Faith?
Please share in the comments below.