Stepping In

I hold myself back all the time. 

Sometimes, I’m holding myself back from myself, sometimes from my desires. Sometimes, I’m just holding myself back because I’m terrified of the power I could step into, or what I’ll find when I let go.

I think about letting go a lot. I’ve always been fascinated by Jean Grey from the X-Men comics. If I could be any superhero, it would be her, as troubled as she is by her power. Maybe I can’t move things with my mind, but something about having that expanse of power inside of us has always resonated with me.

We simply live within the walls built by society.

We are told that we should be these things and ought not do those things. We are regulated and indoctrinated with theories about wrong and right.

We are shamed into smallness.

Obviously, there are some things we cannot unleash. There is anger and rage and destruction that need to be directed in constructive ways.

But there’s always a darkness inside us. We may spend our lives running from it, or we many choose to contemplate it. What I’ve found is that the more I’ve sought to understand the darkness, the softer it becomes. It is not bad or evil. It does not make me, anymore than the light does.

So what are we made by? 

Is it our DNA? Our stories? The routines we live our lives by? Our deepest desires? The impulses we give in to? What we unleash when we are angry, or create when in love?

I’m listening to it all. And I don’t know what that will bring, but I’m done holding back. 

I’m witnessing the expanse of who I am, and I’m not containing it anymore simply because it may be judged.


Living Your Worst Nightmare

For a week, I couldn’t sleep. Trying to fall asleep was a challenge: I was partly convinced I need to use the time to visualize the upcoming event I was attending, trying to see myself succeeding, but instead falling into a strange meditative state that wasn’t quite sleep. When sleep finally came, it was broken. I woke one night panicked that I had heard something. It wasn’t just one worst case scenario that mind was stuck on — it was all of them.

Then Friday came. On my drive from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, I could feel that uneasiness at the pit of my stomach start.

I was shooting in one of the biggest archery tournaments around, and it was my first time on the line at a competition since last January.

By most people’s measures, this would have been a bad idea. You don’t go into a competition so green, with hardly any regular weekly practice.  But I was going to spend time with friends more than anything else.

There are many reasons I shoot: To discover who I am. To learn what I am capable of. To dig deeper into my psychology. To meet new people. To be with friends. To challenge myself. To flirt. To learn how to be in a moment deeply and fully.

Two weeks prior to the competition I had shot a 501 in a practice round. If I could shoot that on the line, I could have potentially been towards the top.

Instead, the exact opposite happened: I bombed.

It was the worst case scenario: 5 missed shots, problems with my form, and a terrible score. All of the target panic I thought I had worked through came flooding back. I literally had the worst day of shooting I could imagine.

And yet, it was exactly what I needed.

Sometimes, you have to live your worst fears to get over them, to realize you can survive them.

Once I realized I had pretty much hit bottom, all the pressure I had been putting on myself eased. I was able to make some really good shots. I wasn’t obsessed with scoring anymore; I was just shooting for myself and trying to execute beautiful shots. Even then, I could still feel a bit of the panic, but it began to die.

What I valued even more was that I could find myself in a terrible situation and not allow emotions to overtake me. I didn’t break. In fact, I had fun. I laughed with friends and encouraged others. I kept smiling. There was a resilience that I had never seen in myself before.

Maybe my score was a losing one, maybe I was even in last place, but it was a different type of win — one that I needed more than a high score.

And maybe that means that in the bigger picture of all that’s happening in the world right now, this reality may not be one we want but rather one we need to break through finally.


Why I Will Not Slay 2017

I will not slay 2017.

I will not crush it.

I will not destroy this year.

This is not my language of success.

I’ve been noticing this trend for some time now on Facebook and within business: the use of the language of the military and violence to describe our endeavors and to motivate and empower. We “launch” products and podcasts and websites. We “deploy” resources. We talk about demolishing our goals and slaying meetings. We say that “we’re gonna kill it today”.

Last August, I suddenly felt the weight of this language, how misaligned it was from what I truly wanted to feel and reflect, from the world I want to live in. Why do we use language of violence when we want love?

So I’m trying something new: this year, I’m going to use language of love and magic. I will seduce my goals into being. I will nurture my business as it grows and conjure new opportunities. I will invoke my power. And every day, rather than killing it, I’m going to embrace it.

2017 will be adored.


The Right to Change Your Mind: In Business

I was recently faced with this question: Do I have the right to change my mind after I have said yes and started in on a project or venture with a partner?

Promises are a sticky subject, and the answer to such questions isn’t always as simple as “well, you said yes and promised to do it so now you have to…forever.”

A bit of background: In addition to my main business, Alchemy+Aim, I also have two side partnerships with designer friends, both of whom I adore working with.

I’ve been working for the past several months to put more systems into place to reclaim some free time and create space for myself for my next big project (coming in January, says our plan). In that time, I’ve really been asking myself what do I want to stay doing and what do I want to delegate or give up. As a result, I’ve been forced to confront what the future of these partnerships will be and how involved I want to be with them going forward. Do I delegate or just get out?

Delegating a task is much easier to do than giving up an activity. Way easier.

No hurt feeling, or sad faces, or disappointed friends.

Hello, my name is Brandi and I’m people pleaser who hates disappointing people.

I’ve considered at different times giving up one or even both of these partnerships, asking myself if the work we’re doing is truly serving me, our businesses, the world.

But how do you change your mind and say no when you’re right there in the middle?

How can you be true to yourself and what you need to grow, and accept you may disappoint others in the process?

For me, the thought of altering course can bring up a lot of emotions and thoughts around failing people. I often think as much about their potential emotions around the situation as I do about my own. It makes a decision messier.

So what do I do? I start with what I want, because the only reaction I can be sure of is my own.

It has been crucial and incredibly empowering for me to learn how to own my desires and wants and needs.

Saying no creates space for new possibilities to emerge, often ones that are much better fits than what currently exists. And sometimes saying no allows the venture to transform into something even better, because you were willing to admit that its current state wasn’t working.

So my solution boils down to answering the question, “How can this endeavor evolved to serve both of us partners better as we grow?”

In one case, I think it means letting go. In the other, it means delegating the work and watching it become something even better.

Four Questions to Ask Yourself If You Need To Change Your Mind
  1. What do I really want / need / desire in my life that’s leading me to question my involvement?
  2. Is this project still serving everyone involved, or does it need to change?
  3. What are some possibilities of transformation for this project that would allow my needs to be met?
  4. What would my ideal outcome be if anything were possible?

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to change your mind?

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