I want to share a little story about my 2018 word.
Last fall, while I was at a retreat they announced we were going to play capture the flag.
Capture the flag, like most team/group sports or anything that puts my physical skills on display really brings out my deepest darkest fears – shame, embarrassment and guilt about being so terrible and not being a team player.
I've done a lot of work on myself over the last number of years so there are a few things I now know about myself that came up when the game was announced.
1. My reaction wasn't rational. I knew I was being irrational, but I also knew thinking myself out of it and just enjoying the game wasn't going to happen.
2. I was learning to work on my boundaries. Turns out capture the flag makes me miserable, I could have opted out and just not played. I had that choice!
I decided that I would go and watch the game but not play. Boundaries. Go me!
When I arrived at the field they asked me to play. I said, "No thanks, I just want to watch" and then the universe said to me, "Let's test these boundaries, Lara" and collectively the group then said,
“Awww... C'mon. We're an uneven number of players - we need you!”
And the people pleaser in me, the person who doesn't like to let people down, the person who was terrified of being blamed for the whole team losing screamed, "Oh my God! You have to do it now! It's going to be terrible and you're going to suck, but they're all looking at you, so you HAVE NO CHOICE!!"
So, full of dread (always an excellent way to ensure fun during a game) I walked on to the field.
People ran by me and I didn't know what I was doing…it was going badly! This was worse than any other time I had played because now I knew the solution to those feelings was to NOT play and on top of suddenly being in the game I knew it was my own damn fault for not sticking to my boundaries.
Tears started streaming down my face and a kind person (I honestly can't even remember who it was) told me it was okay if I just wanted to leave.
So, I walked off the field and into the woods on a that crisp fall day, and, surrounded by the beauty and calm of trees, I sobbed. I sobbed for almost half an hour as I walked through the woods trying to calm down.
Walking off the field was far from the end of my shame and emotional breakdown. I was angry at myself for having played at all. I was angry at myself for not sticking to my boundaries and for so easily being swayed into doing something I didn't want to do.
I was angry at the ladies on the field for getting me to play (trust me, my rational brain knows that's ridiculous, "c’mon, we want you and need you" is hardly some kind of evil pressure tactic of villains).
Over the last few years I have picked a word for the year. In 2017 the word was "open." I wanted to be open to learning, open to being guided, open to letting go of control. I was in the midst of trying to figure out what my 2018 word should be while at this retreat and as I stood in the woods beating myself up and going through a million emotions all about an insignificant game of capture the flag I had known all along that I couldn't handle, I figured out my 2018 word: STRONG.
Strong wasn't about muscles. It wasn't about the strength to stand up to people. It was about being strong enough to look even further within to see what was going on. It was finding the strength within to hold my boundaries and to learn to not feel guilty about or responsible for everyone else before myself. It was about feeling like the Lara I was WAS strong and it was time to own that, it was time to get out of my own damn way.
And I did. The incredible year that was 2018 is the subject of another story entirely, but here is what I hope everyone can take from this:
Your mindset and your subconscious can impact everything in massive ways. Don’t beat yourself up for the struggles you have because we all have them and there ARE ways to work through them.
You are strong and you are capable, even if it doesn't feel like it some days.
You might need to get out of your own way too, and you might need help doing it. I've needed a team of people and 10s of 1000s of dollars to just start that process, but it's been worth every penny!
What was your word in 2018? Will you choose a word for 2019?
Reflection and setting intentions can be the kind of work we know we should do but avoid. Join me for a special call on New Year's Day at 1 pm. I'll be guiding participants through a series of prompts helping and supporting everyone to step into 2019 feeling empowered and on the right path for their unique selves, dreams and strengths. Sign up here - and don’t worry, if you can’t make it live, a replay will be sent following the live broadcast.