Somewhere in Boerne, Texas exists a 1995 Kindergarten time capsule.
My kindergarten teacher made a video time capsule of our class, with the promise that it would be revealed 13 years later at our high school graduation. For the time capsule, we were asked what we wanted to “become” when we grew up. I said I wanted to “become” a movie star…and it remained my truth for the next 16 years .
We were five years old; we had big plans and big dreams just waiting to unfold. We were young, but we realized that we were confined by childhood, that life would somehow “begin” at some later date when we were older, and then we would have a chance to “become” something new.
I never saw the time capsule (my guess is that no one had a VHS player to show the video!); I was in Georgia and off to New York before I could give it another thought.
But the idea of “becoming” has always stuck with me. What does it mean to “become”? Is there magic hidden in the transformation? How do you know when you’ve got there? What do you do then?…
What Does It Mean To “Become”?
Fundamentally, becoming implies a change. It’s a process and a journey. If you “become” something else, you grow into something different, something (hopefully!) better than you once were.
I mean, wouldn’t you just love to be inside the cocoon, watching the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly? We more often than not see the end result and take the actual transition for granted.
When we were kids, “becoming” was always associated with a job title or a dream. I want to “become” President! I want to “become” Super Woman! It was the act of putting on a different mask, a different costume than the one we were currently wearing. And sometimes it still feels that way. Sometimes, when you are in the throes of “becoming”, it feels like you are parading around in a costume that doesn’t fit. Like the girl who just got her braces off and runs her tongue over her teeth again and again, not yet comfortable to show the world her brace-less grin.
The act of “becoming” is scary and exhilarating all at the same time. You are releasing what you know as you for something MORE.
There are some key, inherent components to “becoming”…if you can check off each step, you will soon find yourself leaps and bounds ahead of where you once were.
Becoming something new takes time – it’s a fact of life. The amount of time will vary, but time will always be a factor. It’s a process, it’s a gradual change from one thing to another, and that process takes time.
Now I know it’s hard to be patient, especially when you have a clear idea of what you want to “become”. You can see it so crystal clear in your mind, you can almost reach out and grab it! Wouldn’t that be nice?!
But let me tell you, there is magic in time! Time gives you the opportunity to try new things and to see what works. And more often than not, time can be your best friend.
Sometimes, it might feel like you’ve “become” something new overnight (say you received a large sum of money, or you’ve underwent a major surgery that dramatically impacted the way you live your life). But your soul might need some time to catch up. That’s why we often have greater clarity when looking back at a situation; time has allowed us to digest our growth in relation to the circumstance at hand.
How do you choose to spend your time?
2. Continued Action:
Use your time to take action . And not just little spurts of action, but continued action.
Someone who considers themselves a couch potato, but wants to “become” a marathon runner doesn’t just go for a jog on the dusty treadmill, huffing and puffing along the way, and then 30 minutes later calls themselves a true athlete! No! You have to stick with it; the transformation of “becoming” occurs DURING the continued action. Without action, the whole process stutters and stalls and your transformation is incomplete.
When I was in limbo and trying to find my purpose , I had so many visions of different careers I wanted to pursue. I wanted to be a drama teacher, I wanted to be a matchmaker, I wanted to be a casting director, I wanted to be an event planner, I wanted to be an agent, and on and on and on. I would start to pursue one path, but my action only went so far. I was even in the middle of filling out my graduate school applications when I had the overwhelming sense to stop what I was doing and reevaluate yet another plan.
It took time and action to realize that I was not really committed to any of these ideas. And it takes solid commitment to stick with continued action. You know what commitment feels like in your gut. Commitment is resisting the Ben & Jerry’s section at the grocery store. It’s not always easy, it’s not always pretty, and sometimes it just makes you want to hurl your kale smoothie across the room and scream, “GIMME PIZZA!”…but you don’t. Because you are committed!
It is only with committed continued action that you can complete the act of “becoming.” If you stop short before reaching your full potential, you will just be changing course, time and time again. Taking left turn after left turn will only get you back where you started. Continued action is putting the pedal to the metal and sticking with your plan.
“Becoming” is freakin’ scary. You are leaving your comfort zone, partaking in a journey where you don’t know who or what you will “become” once you are finished. You might have an idea of the end result, but until you live through it, taking that leap is one of the scariest things you will experience in your life. It takes courage to dedicate hours upon hours to something that may or may not work.
But courage is what will fuel you.There are going to be times of stillness. There are going to be times of doubt. But courage is what makes you turn the other cheek and believe in the vision that you have for yourself.
I remember the day that I moved to New York City. My dad was driving me to my apartment and as we passed through Chinatown & nasty parts of Tribeca, I saw all this graffiti in the alley ways. I grew up in the nice, sheltered suburbs, so the reality of living here hit me like a ton of bricks. My eyes welled up with tears and I thought, “Oh no! I’ve made such a huge mistake! What in the world was I thinking?! I can’t live in New York – this city is going to eat me alive!” And I felt stunned; I couldn’t even formulate the words to tell my dad that I wanted to turn around and go home. But those moments where you persist, even when you don’t know why or how you will make the next step happen – that’s courage. Which leads me to our next component…
I know this is asking a lot, but not only do you need courage – you need faith too. It’s not enough to “become” something greater than you once were if you don’t even believe that you can do it. That’s like trying to peddle backwards on a bike. Sure, the gears might spin, but you aren’t going anywhere. You need to believe that you have it in you, or that train ain’t movin’ honey. Or at the very least, you need to believe you can accomplish the next step.
You can test faith if you want, go ahead and try. Faith is like any other skill – it takes time to develop.
Maybe you don’t believe that you can “become” a millionaire. Maybe you want it SO badly, but you just can’t fathom that it would ever happen to you. But maybe you CAN believe that you can invest 10% of every paycheck you receive. And so you focus on this thought instead, because you can believe it and you know it to be true. And so you continue to invest and invest and your belief gets stronger because now you have proof. You have grown your money into something greater than you started with; the numbers don’t lie. And soon enough, you’ve invested a pretty penny… and it just so happens to be enough that you could live off of it for a whole 6 months, while you launch your own business. And if you launch your own business, you are one step closer to the possibility of becoming a millionaire. Now all of the sudden, becoming a millionaire doesn’t seem as crazy of an idea as it did before. You’ve experienced the power of belief firsthand.
But realize that true belief and faith doesn’t always have to be based on proof. More often than not, it’s what you feel inside that’s the greatest motivator of all. It comes back to your gut. If you listen and believe in what your gut is telling you, that’s all that you need. That’s how you use belief and faith to your advantage.
5. Become Successful at Failing:
Did you know there is a true art to being a failure? Being a failure is not as easy as you might think! It’s also one of the best things you could do for yourself.
One of my biggest inspirations is Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. I heard her speak in an interview once about how her father used to ask her, “What did you fail at this week?” Failing was considered just as good as succeeding in her house, and it taught her to take risks and push through the rejection.
If you can become a success at failing, you can do anything . Because a successful failure embodies so many wonderful qualities.
They have confidence. A successful failure has a high level of belief and strong will for continued action, no matter the outer circumstance. “No” is just another word to them, just another reason to continue pushing on. Each rejection is another chapter to the story of their own “becoming”.
A successful failure knows how to handle humiliation. It can be embarrassing to say your goals out loud and have the world watch you fall short. It can be easy to shrivel up and mope around, never wanting to be vulnerable with your dreams again. But a true failure KNOWS that you have to give it another go. Because a failure knows that the majority of people WILL pack up and go home. Most people are not very good at failing, they don’t like how it makes them feel, so they give up and move on the moment they feel uncomfortable – they will do anything to avoid it! But a successful failure knows that if they just keep trying, they will get somewhere. Eventually, someone will say yes. The odds increase every time you put yourself out there.
A successful failure knows how to handle the obstacles other people might try to throw in their path. Other people can smash you down, make you feel like crud. They can tell you no, they can make it harder for you, they can be filled with jealousy or regret over their own “stuff” and want to take it out on your ambition. But a real failure knows that other people don’t actually stand in their way. Just like a bunch of tourists standing around Times Square taking pictures, you learn to maneuver around them. You still get to where you need to go and you don’t give them another thought. It’s not worth your time; you are too busy “becoming” to be concerned with anything else.
Failures have learned these lessons and more . And how did they learn them? They learned them through failing! If you are scared of failing, ask yourself – “What is the worst that can happen?” And almost always, at the end of the day, you can say, “Well, at least I tried”. And you wouldn’t be able to say that if you didn’t embark on the journey of becoming something greater than you currently are.
6. Letting Go Of Who You Were:
The final segment on your journey of “becoming” is to let go of who you were. Do you ever sometimes get brief flashes of your former self? Sometimes I walk down certain streets in Manhattan and I get that overwhelming feeling of dread and fear that I used to feel when I was lost, trying to navigate and find my way in a new, big city. It’s just a mild flashback, but I find comfort when it passes, because it reminds me how far I’ve come. How living in this city has taught me so much and has allowed me to grow into a different person.
In order to “become”, you have to let go of what once was. That’s the final step – that’s how you know that you’ve made it. You’ve created a solid life for yourself on the other side – you don’t need to bring the old baggage with you. That’s the story of the past.
I was a bit pudgy when I was in middle school. I developed much faster than other girls my age. I had curves way before I knew what to do with them and Sir Mix A Lot’s “I Like Big Butts” song did NOT HELP. I felt big and awkward and I carried that image around with me for a long time. Then, years past my awkward pre-teen stage, I made some off-hand comment to some friends about the size of my thighs and they all just stared at me like I had three heads. I bet they all thought I was doing that annoying thing that insecure girls do, trying to fish for compliments, but I was dead serious. I remember someone saying, “Brittany – you are a stick. What are you talking about?…” and I was surprised. I didn’t expect anyone to say this, it was SO FAR PAST the image that I had of myself. I was so caught up in my own head about my old body image, I didn’t realize how I had grown up and slimmed down over the years and how other people were growing up around me and catching up. I was holding onto the past and I failed to notice the current reality around me. It wasn’t until I had embraced who I had “become” that I was able to let go of my old image.
Let go. You’ve built a solid place to land, you don’t need to grasp onto your former self for stability.
Over To You…
Now that you know the 6 key components to “becoming” – how do you currently stack up? Which do you consider yourself an expert at and which ones were nice reminders?
Becoming a success at failing is the hardest one for me.
So I ask you to pick one component and really try to come to terms with it. If you realize it’s something that needs work in order for you to “become” what you desire, then the hardest part is over!
And of course, you always have a community here at Soultiply where you can share your process and journey with people who are in the act of “becoming” their higher selves as well.
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