Back in grade school, my friends and I used to play the game, M.A.S.H. all the time at recess. M.A.S.H. was an acronym that stood for Mansion, Apartment, Shack and House and you’d play the game to find out which dwelling you’d live in when you got older, as well as what kind of car you’d drive, who you’d marry and how many kids you’d have. If you’ve never played this game, my friends, you’re missing out.
M.A.S.H. was the definitive game of the 80’s, but in many ways, it was more than a game – it was a metaphor for how we’d live our lives as adults. Just like we’d try to control the end result in M.A.S.H., as adults we found ourselves trying to control the outcomes in our life and we’d torture ourselves with what we thought our life should be. On or off paper, our goals and dreams became something more limiting rather than defining.
Several close friends of mine – literally several – are going through this process right now of navigating where they are and how life “should” be. From not getting the career to losing a job to a relationship that didn’t quite pan out, they’re learning how to detach from the exact outcome they wanted so that they can grow more fully into their future. And, it’s far from easy.
At many times in my life I have also found myself at this crossroad, this place of wrangling with where I was and where I thought I should be. In fact, I’ve been there more times than I can count. When I graduated from college, I went on interview after interview and while I was told I was more than qualified, I was passed over again and again, leading me to believe I’d never teach high school English. Two years ago, when I was told I wasn’t being hired full time at Equinox, I swore my life was over as a fitness professional and that I would never amount to anything. Even just this past summer, I experienced those same feelings of upset and disappointment when I finally bit the bullet to do Yoga Teacher Training, only to find out two weeks later, training was cancelled.
We all have a strange penchant for holding onto what we want in our lives or what we think should be in our lives. And, we take it upon ourselves to discern what should and shouldn’t be in our lives, what we should or shouldn’t do and exactly what it should look like. Every step. Every marker along the way.
But, sometimes things don’t work out the way we want because better things, unbeknownst to us, are in the works.
If I hadn’t been passed up for all those teaching jobs in the posh white school districts in suburbia, I never would have landed a dream job in Reading, PA where I team-taught a Humanities course for at-risk youth at the Reading Public Museum. That job wasn’t even on my radar and it’s something that I couldn’t have even conjured up in my wildest dreams. Looking back, not being hired at Equinox full-time opened the door to LifeTime Fitness, a place I consider my home and a company I wholeheartedly want to grow with. And, having to wait until this past Fall to do Yoga Teacher Training allowed me to bring the most amazing people into my life – people I consider my family – people I wouldn’t have met if I had done training this past summer. If things had worked out as I wanted, as I thought they “should” have, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Retrospect is an easy thing because we’re far removed from the feelings and the event itself – usually because we’re situated in a better place from which we can “see” how everything actually did work out even better than we intended. But what if we didn’t have to wait for hindsight to kick in? What if we could still want what we want – and want it bad – while still holding out for the best, even if that meant not “getting” the actual thing we intended for in the first place?
This – or something better is a mantra I’ve been using recently with a big goal that I have, something that up until this point I wasn’t even talking about. Not because I didn’t want it, but because I wanted it BAD, so bad I was afraid I wouldn’t get it. It took seeing my friends navigating their “Not-Yet’s” for me to remember that I’ve been in that place before too – AND that for the most part, I’ve ended up somewhere far grander than I could have ever imagined. This IS something better.
As I look towards 2017, as I set my sights on growing within LifeTime Fitness and taking on a larger role with the company – as I set my sights on what I want without any confirmation of what will come – I simply choose to say yes to my dream…or something better. Saying, “I am taking on a larger role at LifeTime Fitness as a Studio Manager where I can grow signature programing and collaborate with a team of passionate promoters – this, or something better” sure as hell feels a lot better than, “I want this…but…what if?”
When we’re all in, but equally unattached to the outcome, just trusting that everything will work out for our betterment, we allow for magic, for the best possible scenario to be created.
This week, invite more magic into your life:
- Take your goals, the dream, whatever it is you want and next to each, write ‘This or something better.’
- When self-doubt, lack or limitation arise (and – they will), reexamine those times in your life when things didn’t go as planned…and worked out better. The fact that it has happened before is evidence enough that it can happen again if you let it.
- Say the mantra of pure intention (it’s something that was given to me by my teacher):
I am guided
I am guarded
I am protected
I am directed
Fill me with your love
Fill me with your power
Fill me with your perfect, intelligent direction
Trust that everything is working out…because it is.