Now, Darla is an introvert. She hates networking events. As a fellow introvert, I know how she feels. Honestly, I’d rather go to the dentist than to a networking event. And so would Darla.
In fact, there wasn’t much in the job-change process that she felt good about, but she kept plodding along because she’d set a goal to find a new job by a certain date, and she wanted to reach that goal.
By the time she contacted me for support, she felt overwhelmed. She had become so immersed in finding and analyzing job prospects and submitting resumes that she got lost in those tasks, which meant she lost connection with herself. She lost connection with her own genuine longings.
She lost connection with the present moment. She was so worried about the future and what kind of job she might or might not be able to find. So we suspended the job search to give Darla time to pause and go deeply within and to reconnect with herself.
And as she did that, she discovered a few essential things.
First, she realized that what she wanted deeply at that time was to support her parents in the final stages of their lives. She remembered that she used to love training and development work and decided she wanted to do more of that.
And most importantly, she became aware of how hard she was on herself. Darla would doubt, would judge herself at almost every turn, thinking she should be doing things better or doing better things.
So I let her in on the secret that I’ll share with you right here. Self-judgment will never, ever get you where you want to go – ever.
So we focused on shifting that relationship with herself first and foremost, and in that process, Darla learned to listen to herself, to respect herself, to trust herself. She learned how to translate her feelings into information she could use.
She learned that our habits of constant doubt and self-judgment were just that, habits, and they were not serving her. She also learned to sense what was right for her, one step at a time, rather than forcing herself to adhere to a rigid formula for finding a job.
In essence, Darla learned how to stop pushing herself forward and, instead, how to love herself forward.
And to make a long story short – it worked. Darla is now at peace and genuinely happy. She spends quality time with her parents, and she’s had moments with them that are profoundly healing. She followed one of her own inspired impulses to start writing about those experiences, and her writing is very satisfying to her. She’s even thinking about writing a book, which she had never considered before.
And because she’s so much more present and aware, she recognized an opportunity to take on training and development work in her current job. So now she’s doing that regularly, and she loves it.
Darla discovered there was nothing wrong with her that needed to be fixed. She only needed to slow down and listen to her own inner guidance – and to stop forcing herself to go to those networking events.
On the dark side, Darla thought that a new job would fix things, and she thought she had to do what everyone else does to find one.
But in the dark, she couldn’t see clearly. She kept judging herself as lacking, and perceiving her progress as slow.
In the light of truth, Darla recognized how talented and passionate she actually is. She connected with a pure longing for greater self-expression, and she realized that fulfillment goes well beyond her job. Darla learned that her best guide to fulfillment is herself.
Darla is the expert and authority on her own life. Each one of us is the expert and authority on our own lives. Your path to fulfillment is unique to you, just as mine is unique to me. This doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from others who have succeeded where we want to succeed – of course we can. We thrive when we connect with each other and open to someone else’s wisdom.
But there’s a crucial difference between learning from someone and giving our power away to another person’s formula: one comes from a sense of self-worth, the other comes from a sense of lack. We give our power away when we judge ourselves as lacking.
Remember, self-judgment will never, ever get you where you want to go if where you want to go is fulfillment. So the next time you think there might be something to improve about yourself, pause. Go within.
Rather than asking, What do I need to fix? ask, What do I need to create? What do I want to create or experience? How do I want to grow? When you’re growth oriented rather than goal oriented, you can experience fulfillment each step of the way because you’re growing more and more into your magnificence.
And as you take those steps, trust your inner sense of what’s right for you and what isn’t. Listen to what your inner voice is telling you about what you really want, as Darla did. And promise to keep listening to yourself. Learn to love yourself forward into the light of truth.
You have what it takes to succeed because you are what it takes.
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