Half a step
and the rest
– David Whyte, Just Beyond Yourself
Reaching beyond yourself can be frustrating, humbling and sometimes humiliating. The ego wants to be in a happier place, warmly wrapped up in comfortable self-talk and stretching just far enough… but not too far. But that’s not where the growth is. That’s not where you’ll find your limits.
If there’s a phrase that seems to be common amongst the overachieving set in this world, it’s “leaning in”. You don’t lean in when you’re just standing there – you’ll fall right over. You lean in when you encounter some resistance. Resistance appears when we challenge other people’s ideas about what is far enough beyond themselves, but more often than not it’s our own ideas on the matter. Why challenge the status quo? Where you are is pretty good, right?
This will be posted on a Monday morning. Monday’s serve as a threshold of sorts – an entry into another work week. And another day we’re all blessed with the gift of living on the planet. Leaning in to the work ahead, the task at hand, will soon fill us with plenty of resistance to lean in on. But are you leaning in the right direction or simply being pushed a certain way? Just where do you need to be anyway?
Setting your course implies moving beyond your current location – moving beyond yourself. Moving beyond implies self-forgetting who you once were and meeting your new self as you progress towards this new place. How many successful people tackle imposter syndrome? All but the most narcissistic and delusional. It’s normal to question where you’re going.
Most of us rarely think in terms of self-forgetting, but we encounter it all the time. How many jobs seem to dead-end because your coworkers thought of you as whatever you were when you began working with them instead of what you would become? Sometimes you have to leave a company or an industry to get beyond the stalled beliefs others have of who you are to grow. But what of our own self-beliefs?
Becoming whatever you’ll be, just beyond yourself, begins with leaning in to the resistance inside yourself and moving in that direction you know in your gut you ought to be moving in. The wonder lies in the transformation of who you believe you are as you move beyond that resistance. A move into something entirely different. Towards your new self.