Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ready for the message

My friend Anne is my eye opener. I realized this a few years ago as we were having one of our tea times. (We set a time to talk on the phone rather than playing phone tag and have tea together). I was going on about some situation and she just stopped me dead in my tracks to help me connect what I was feeling at that moment about the situation to something that happened to me a very long time ago. It's in my nature to try to remedy the past with the present, which often ends up altering my future in a way I had not expected, and not necessarily wanted. It's as if she turns the light on when I am fumbling around in the dark for the switch despite the fact that the switch was in front of me all along. The beauty of honest friendship.

This happened again recently as I was recanting some story to Anne. I was beating myself up over not recognizing the real state of a relationship sooner. Why didn't I get the message and get out sooner? "Well, Christa, you can't hear a message until you're ready for it." I know all the stock cliches like "we only hear what we want to hear" or "we invent our own truths". Remarkably it is much harder to really appreciate and understand them and consciously live by them. Anne was right; I hadn't been ready for the message so I dismissed it.

And this started me down the path to realizing that messages often ask us to change something, to do something different or see our situation in a new way. And they inspire us to action. What are we willing to do with the information we take in and how are we willing act based upon it? I think about this in the context of my dear friends Dan, Steve, and Lisa who are each starting their own business ventures. I am privy to the details and love being able to stand on the sidelines and observe, cheer lead, and more than happily provide any kind of assistance or advice they may want. They're incredibly talented, bright, energetic people. And they are all taking on risks with these new ventures. Before they embarked on them, they had to be very clear with themselves about what they were willing to do to be successful. How much risk, debt, time, etc. could they afford? They had to really sit down with themselves and say, 'I know this is what I want, now what do I need to do to get there, and am I willing to do what it takes?"

They've inspired me to think about starting my own venture. I haven't the foggiest idea what that would be or where I would start. Before business school, I didn't have a lot of tolerance for risk. I already have insomnia - doesn't having your own business just make that worse? However, those loan notes I signed away did wonders to help me break away from that fear, they helped me trust in myself. I could do this. I could invest in myself and make it pay off.

I've got my ears and eyes wide open. And if I can't find the message on my own, I'll just ask Anne for a light.

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