Two years ago, I had the fortune of being introduced to Phil, an aspiring life coach. A mutual friend of ours arranged for us to meet so we could talk about reevaluating my career choices. He came to me armed with tools like Venn diagrams, reading recommendations, and diagnostic tests to measure my professional strengths and weaknesses. In time, our conversations revealed that he held so many more tools in his arsenal. Phil is a practicing Buddhist, and his philosophy centers on finding greater meaning in everyday life by letting go of the things that don’t serve us. It wasn’t easy to grasp some of the ideas with which he challenged me. He gave me assignments, designed to force me out of my comfort zone, in order to allow me to see my world in a new way.
I had experienced a series of events which had led me to a murky place in my life. I was wandering in a fog of shame and anger, and I’d lost my path. Little by little, we stripped away some the shameful thoughts and doubts that had enshrouded me. We talked about gratitude. We practiced confrontations. He retrained me to say the words “I WANT.” Risks that I had avoided for years suddenly presented themselves as opportunities.
One of the toughest challenges Phil presented to me, from the very beginning, was to create a web site. I had purchased the URL “susandeangelis.com” years ago, fresh out of college, as a way to keep in touch with art school friends. When I had no content to add, my friends teased me and told me to keep trying. I never stopped creating, or wanting to share that creativity, but I became paralyzed by the fear of not measuring up. So it never materialized.
I’m proud to say that almost 20 years (and one giant leap) later, I’ve discarded a lot of those fears. Making a web site now feels about as intimidating as making a pie. I have the knowledge, the materials, the drive, and when I show it to my audience, my hope is that they’ll dig right in past the flaky crust and down to the sweet, juicy center.