If you’ve ever decided to change something about your life, and then immediately fell off the wagon, or changed your mind about wanting it, you’re gonna like this.
I’m going to tell you about leveling up my life. (And I’m going to break it down, so you can see exactly what happens when we do this…and better yet, why lots of us get scared when we think we’re ready to level up…)
Here’s the thing to know: there’s no “right way” to level up. But when we decide we are ready for more, all sorts of shit gets thrown our way.
The starting line.
When I think of leveling up, I think of it as a two-fold concept. One, my brain has decided that I deserve more. Two, my thoughts, beliefs, and actions have to catch up to this new level of normal.
My starting line is that I’m really good at handling anything that gets thrown my way. I can work with literally any circumstance, and find contentment and happiness in those places without needing anything to change. Which is so freaking awesome, I wouldn’t trade this for anything – and now it’s ready for a different application.
My level up challenge: I can handle anything, AND I’m raising my expectations having the good stuff right now. The really good stuff. The millions in the bank, home on the Mediterranean, the opportunities I’ve only dreamed of.
What’s required for leveling up?
In order to level up, you must be an energetic match for the thing you want. Specifically, if you’re asking for MORE of something, you must have space for that more to occupy once it arrives. (Like, if I were getting a new car on Wednesday, I’d darn sure make sure the garage was clean enough to be able to park my new car in before it arrived!)
So, you make space.
I cleaned my closets. I cleared my calendar of all the things I didn’t want on it. I treated my money as if I already had more. I let go of clients. I made all kinds of space. I said yes to everything I wanted to bring into my life and I started treating all of it as if it were a done deal.
And then. In the space, this happens.
Because for all the things we do want about the level-up, there are things we know we’re going to have to face that we’d rather not.
The doubt creeps in. Your resistance shows up. It shows up in the form of health issues, family emergencies, crazy relationship drama that comes out of nowhere. Money stuff goes haywire (especially if you’re planning to pay someone to help you level up).
In my case, my kid got sick. I got sick. There was a five-day snowstorm that put every plan I had on hold. My phone went wonky in any number of ways, basically rendering it useless. A vulnerable confession that I really, really didn’t want to make. Money that comes in every month got delayed. The resistance was showing up in big ways.
And we start to wonder if it is the universe telling us that now is just not the time to get bigger.
But it’s really just us convincing ourselves not to do the hard work of looking at uncomfortable things so they can stop holding us back. Sometimes the resistance that shows up in these external forms is strong enough to get us to back away from that next level.
(But this is like putting yourself in purgatory. The in-between place where you know you want the thing on the other side, but you can’t get there…and then you discover that you also can’t go back to where you were. This is a truly, truly painful place – and perhaps more damaging to your own sense of worth than most other things that could happen to you.)
You can work with the resistance.
It’s pretty natural to feel resistance and turn around and go the other way. But, you can work with it to make it your ally.
The opposite of resistance is surrender. Going with what is. Not making it into something that it isn’t. You notice what comes up, and let it pass.
So, in my case, it would have been really easy to let the things that were showing up as resistance take me down, take me away from the leveling up that I was focused on.
Humor what could have been my stream of consciousness:
Kid’s sick, and I’m so tired of taking care of him, and why does he always sneeze in my direction, and now I’m sick, and how am I supposed to be working when I don’t feel well, and this always happens every time I try to do something that’s important to me, and I guess I’m just not meant to have the things that are important to me. I should probably crawl back into my cave that’s safe where I don’t have to feel so uncertain now.
Ugh. See how that’s just not helpful?
Give yourself permission to sit with the resistance, to see what it’s trying to tell you.
You can’t ignore what’s happening in the form of resistance, but you can choose what kind of attention you give it and what you make it mean. So, my kid was sick. And so was I. So we rested. And I didn’t make it mean anything more than that.
“Oh, I don’t feel well. How do I want to treat myself when I don’t feel well?” (That’s so much kinder than, “Jeez, you don’t feel well again! No wonder you never accomplish those goals you’re after!”)
I also knew that there were some gems in the experience of being sick that were actually going to make my level up stronger. If you read a couple weeks back, I shared a few.
I made it clear that I would notice and engage with the resistance, but that I wasn’t changing my mind about where I was going.
Go with what already is. But don’t let it take you down. And don’t let it change your mind.
What’s something you really want for yourself, but have been hesitating to say yes to it because you’ve either felt resistance, or you know you’ll have to look at some hard things to really have it?