Mary wanted the job. Joe wanted a one-on-one to break into the local interior design market. Jesse wanted a speaking engagement.
They all had something in common.
They felt that one outreach was sufficient and there was something wrong with the person they initially contacted because they did not respond immediately to their outreach. I asked, “Did you follow up with a phone call?”
Their answer, was “No, I gave them their chance.”
I tried some other suggestions, but was met with the wall of “That’s just not my way.”
I guess their way was try once and give up and then live in the City of Resentment or Village of Bewilderment. I think we all know people who believe the universe should pander to their way of doing things. And when it doesn’t, the universe is wrong.
I can still hear my mother’s voice when I looked for summer jobs during college.
I’d sigh as I shared how I hadn’t heard from prospective employers. Mom would say, “Well call them and follow up.” I’d roll my eyes with, “Aw, Ma, I don’t want to bother them.” To which she responded, “You have to keep calling until they are so sick of hearing from you that they’ll give you the job.” (Insert exasperated tone with a Brooklyn accent and you, too, will hear my mother’s voice).
I made the calls. I always got a job.
“I don’t want to bother them” is in the same town—neighbors even—as “That’s just not my way.”
That’s how some of you do life. “If my way doesn’t work, that’s it. I’m not playing anymore.” Remember when we were children? “If I don’t get what I want, I’ll take my marbles and go home.”
That philosophy didn’t work then (at least not for me) and it doesn’t work now.
Sometimes the world doesn’t seem fair
I remember sitting on the slope overlooking the elementary school softball field crying and lamenting how unjust the other kids were in not remembering it was my turn to rotate in as batter.
I felt devastated at the injustice of it.
Then I realized that all the lamentation in the world wouldn’t get me into the batter’s box, so I got up and went back to the outfield to begin rotating through all the field positions until I could again be up at bat.
That’s how life works sometimes.
Things don’t go your way, and doing things the way you always have doesn’t work. Not wanting to bother potential employers wasn’t going to work for me. True, there is a balance between trying only once and being so insistent an employer feels like they are being stalked. I had to look at what made me uncomfortable with following up.
Was I afraid of rejection? Did I think I wasn’t good enough? Did I really want that particular job?
When “your way” isn’t working or you feel uncomfortable, it is an invitation to step back and look at what underlying subconscious beliefs are controlling your conscious thoughts, emotions, and actions. There is usually an old belief that is rooted in how you were treated in a similar situation or because of the family and culture in which you were raised.
Times are changing. Consciousness is shifting. Many of the old beliefs no longer serve you. Instead they limit you and keep you in pain.
Going beyond limiting beliefs
So if “your way” isn’t working, try asking yourself some basic questions.
What belief causes you to feel and act this way? Where did this belief come from? Is it still true? Does it serve you? What new belief would support you in having a more joy-filled, abundant life? How much do you want this new circumstance (job, relationship, better health, etc.)?
And what are you willing to do to change your underlying beliefs?
Answering these questions requires making your inner work your top priority. It means sitting down and writing out the answers. If nothing comes to mind at first, set the question aside and return to it later in the day, or take the question into meditation and allow the answer to come through.
If you’re still not finding the answers you need, enlist the support of a trusted friend or mentor.
It will be easy to say, “Yes, I should probably work on these questions, but I’ll come back to it later.” I invite you to take the time now to get started. “Later” often never comes. And you slip back into explaining away not achieving your dreams and goals with, “That’s just not my way.”
You have greatness within you that yearns to demonstrate in your life.
Try a new way to draw your greatness out and live a more joy-filled, abundant life.