Times they are a changing… and I am laughing (kindly) at myself and marvelling at a year of shifts and transformation. If BirthEssence were a butterfly she would be right now just making the first cracks to open the cocoon that will reveal her shiny glittering new colours. And that is exciting, I am not even sure exactly what colours they are but they are beautiful and bright. So why am I laughing? Well my ten months immersed in an intensive business development mastermind group has come to an end and I am a little envious of the new students who will be starting the programme in a couple of weeks. This envy is what is so amusing to me because when I started the course my predominant emotions were terror and overwhelm.
Terror and overwhelm weren’t entirely unfamiliar to me. In both my pregnancies I experienced periods of similar strong emotions. It was the moving through these, digging away at my subconscious beliefs, removing saboteurs to my dreams that led to amazing birth experiences and prompted me to start my business in the first place. But this time last year as I was considering the course panic and terror unexpectedly hit me again.
I have followed Samantha Nolan-Smith’s work ever since she started her blog in 2010 and she has been an inspiration. I am passionate and dedicated about my work to transform women’s experience of birth and I have a powerful vision for my business but I could feel I was holding back, scared to put myself out there fully, keeping small. I also recognized that my strength was in the work I do not in business skills but I needed both. Change the Game drew me as it promised me both the business skills and strategy but also the innerwork that is at the heart of my own business. The innerwork that would release me from the traps and blocks that were keeping my dreams small. The innerwork on my business that would eventually change how well I could help women who were scared of giving birth let go of their fears and discover their inner strength and confidence.
This polite phrase, I was considering the course, actually went more like this:
‘Oh no Samantha is doing a fabulous course and I can’t afford it. I am totally outclassed and inferior to everyone on it. I can’t do it. (Accompanied by a small sub voice I could barely hear, you are no good, you would fail anyway, don’t do it you can’t you shouldn’t, you mustn’t.)’
My pulse raced and I sweated. I cried. I cried some more and I felt despair. I justified not doing it because I didn’t have the money. It didn’t sit right. I got confused. I did some innerwork and I got clear. I knew I had to be on it so I joined.
I thought that was the end of it.
But oh no. Here is my old friend terror again. Hello again sweaty hands, racing pulse and twisted coils in my stomach…
So what happened to take me from there to kind laughter and confidence? Well in short I learnt how to break through my comfort zone. I moved through my fears to a place of trust in life and confidence I could handle change even if it was uncomfortable.
Now I look back with compassion and kindness on the me of only a year ago. She didn’t realise she was simply breaking through the ceiling of her comfort zone and that all would be well. She didn’t realise this because in the thick of the emotion she was experiencing real survival terror. She couldn’t see far enough ahead and she didn’t believe she could do it. She was mistaken. But she had to do it to learn that
So what does all of that have to do with you dear reader?
Well if you are a fledgling business owner or even an established business owner with a powerful vision who wishes to step up and really manifest the business of your dreams and you don’t want to take a long time floundering or struggling on your own then this year’s Change the Game is open for registration for just a couple more days. If this is you hop on over to Samantha’s site to learn more and schedule a clarity call with her.
If, however, you are a pregnant woman who is scared of giving birth you may read this and breathe a big breath of hope. You may even let go of some tension in your muscles and allow some relief in. Right now you may feel that you will never get through it. You may feel not powerful enough, not strong enough, not knowledgeable enough. Your dreams may look too far away and impossible.
But, I say, what if this were just the symptoms of getting close to the edge of your comfort zone? What if it was a sign you were close to an important breakthrough?
Birth is so important. It matters. It really matters on so many levels. You may have given up or compromised on your dreams in some way I some other area but suddenly this small bundle of cells has the potential to galvanize you into action with a new lease of life and determination. We all always want the very best start in life for our babies and this combination of pregnancy and passion can lead us right out of our comfort zone into the scary unknown. Here the fear can hit hard. The more we try to do something differently the more the cautious and sometimes wounded guardian part shouts loudly. It wants to protect us; it has our best interests at heart. But it cannot see beyond the boundaries of how things have been done before and it focuses on what went wrong to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
From the outside it may seem no one else can understand why you are so scared and you feel slightly stupid so you make a joke or downplay your fears. But from the inside it feels like it will never end. It is difficult to believe that the panic, confusion, overwhelm and terror are only temporary.
There were times in both my pregnancies when it was difficult to believe that I could get through my fears. I spent hours digging and clearing the layers of old beliefs and wounded parts of me in both pregnancies. I would feel relief, then another layer would pop to the surface and I would start all over again, I thought it would never end. I gradually learnt that fear was not the enemy and I did not need to eradicate it completely. That revelation let me off the hook of failure and I began a process of making peace with myself for being scared. I was rewarded with amazing birth experiences The fears that remained and came up in labour helped put my achievement in perspective and make it feel all the more powerful to me.
But I wish I had known then what I feel so strongly anchored in my body now. I wish I could lean over and hug that younger me and flood her with my love and compassion and understanding. It took breaking through my comfort zone in business with Change the Game to get it. That the discomfort is not personal, I and not permanent. I somehow called my bluff on the nature of my created reality. I smashed ceilings I didn’t know I had. It was scary. No it was absolutely terrifying out of all proportion to the simple business tasks I was completing. I was overwhelmed at times, ok quite often, ok, ok, most of the first three months…
But then somehow, somewhere something changed. I was suddenly different. There was a new sense of ease and confidence and what had been desparately uncomfortable as I stretched beyond what I had believed I was capable was now my new normal. From the other side I looked back at the rhetoric I had believed as solid fact and saw it as hazy mist blowing away in the wind.
From my new vantage point I looked back even further to the extreme vulnerability I felt in the final days of my pregnancy. The wobbles in my confidence, moments of self doubt and the outright panic. That now seemed like a far off dream world and my everyday world, solid and real is the world in which I did it. I marveled once more at how far I’ve come. I knew that birth experience had given me confidence and that it was continuing to grow but I had not checked in for a while.
I looked back with compassion at my former self and wished I could breathe the knowledge into her that she has everything she needs and is going to be ok. That she can let go and trust because the universe is a friendly place and has got her covered. The discomfort is just growing pains that will subside as she grows to fit her new skin. I wish I could spare her the pain of the journey but of course I can’t. And maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe that would take something of her achievement away because she is proud of what she has achieved.
I also don’t know if she would have fully believed me. Maybe she had to discover it for herself. But what I do know is that no matter how debilitating the fear that comes as I expand beyond the next comfort zone I have done it before and I can do it again. The fear is just part of the process and doesn’t need to stop me. Now that I know that I will remember. I will remind my scared self that I have been here before and survived. I will look back and show her how far we have come. I will remember how I wish I could have breathed confidence into that younger me and I will look forward to a future wise me who has sailed gracefully through my present challenge. I will ask her for guidance, I will listen, I will breathe in her love and compassion and I will remember.
Change the Game is a leadership and business mastermind that lasts for ten months starting in March 2016. If you are a business owner and want clarity round your business vision and the self belief to make it happen, coupled with practical business skills and a supportive group of inspiring women cheering you along then this may be the program you have been searching for. Click the picture or link to discover if this program are right for you. Early Bird Price available until End October 2015. Free Clarity Calls and Extended price plans are available to support you with this ensuring this important investment is right for you.
If you want to experience some of Samantha’s magic then you may like her Soulful Sales Master class‘s I can’t stand fakeness and sleazy sales or pushy business style and I loved the refreshing approach and wisdom in this master class. At UK time of 9.30am on Tuesday 13th October. If you sign up there is a limited time replay.
If you are pregnant and scared of giving birth and are inspired by my story of how I changed panic and overwhelm into ease and confidence you may like to check out my 1:1 services to support your transformation. These sessions are powerful and life changing and saved me from months of worry during my own pregnancies. Uncovering hidden saboteurs and clearing them out meant that no matter what happened during labour I knew I could trust my body and I was in the right place at the right time. You can read more about my birth stories in these posts here and here and here