The Power of Conversation
I had a wonderful conversation, by the power of zoom, the other day with a fabulous woman – Clare Downham.
We met because I happened upon a post she wrote about confidence. The premise of the post was to share her thoughts. She boldly stated (love a bold statement!) that we’ve been getting it wrong all these years. Confidence cannot, in fact, be developed…it can only be revealed!
I liked it! My feeling was ‘oooh storytime, tell me more!’ So I reached out!
And the conversation took us down a number of rabbit holes and off on fabulous tangents! I do also love a tangent!
But there was one thing in particular that she said that ‘switched a light on’ in me and I’d love to share it with you. We came up with this concept of be-doing…
The Moment of Choice
When I thought about how if confidence isn’t something to strive for, to work hard at developing, to practice and practice until you just get it, I noticed how much better that feels. Clare made a wonderful statement;
“confidence is just ‘doing’ without struggle”.
How magical! It’s about taking the overthinking, the self doubt, the fear of failure (and all the other brain gubbins that trips us up along the way) out of the equation. It’s not about gaining something ‘more’ that feels out of reach. It’s about letting go of the stuff that doesn’t serve us. And this happens naturally when you are more deeply connected with ‘self’.
And then I realised that this is true of every single part of us. Because it’s when we peel off the conditioning at every layer then we finally reveal our true selves. Like a Russian doll, we are in there all along.
Clare mentioned subtractive psychology so instead of giving yourself more things to ‘do’ or gain, it’s about removing the layers, stories, beliefs and behaviours that don’t serve us so we can reveal our truest nature. I don’t know about you but that feels a lot lighter to me! More achievable in some way?
As we talked more about this idea that the stuff we need is there inside, I felt a weight lift off me. To know that it’s not something we need to acquire, we have it all along.
I traced back the ‘development’ of my own confidence. As you know, I’m pretty confident, there’s not much that fazes me and even when it does, I’ll do it anyway and then celebrate my courage whilst I bask in the glow of doing something scary.
But I realise now that my moment of revelation came when I shed a skin, a layer of conditioning – a fairly chunky one – when I was 15. The day I sat on the swings in the park and felt so utterly worthless and so completely invisible that I believed in my bones in that moment that if I were to disappear – no one would even notice. I saw my future, it was sad, lonely and as I continued to be invisible, my life would become smaller and smaller. But then, suddenly, there was the spark of a fire inside me. I didn’t want that. A moment of connection with self was happening that until this year I wasn’t fully conscious of.
I decided in that moment that I didn’t want to continue along on the trajectory that my life experiences were taking me.
I wanted something else.
I have since realised that in that moment I ceased viewing myself as an extension of my parents and so the influence of my childhood experiences had less power over me. I saw myself as a separate entity and the things that fuelled me going forward would be my choice.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s never as easy as that to just let go of the motivations that drive us but don’t serve us, the falling in line with external expectations and being driven by desire for acceptance and praise of those we hold most dear. It has taken a me a long time to untangle that and I’m getting there but the wisest people know there is no ‘there, it’s all a part of a miraculous journey of learning that we have been given the opportunity to experience.
So what is Be-doing?
After that wonderful tangent I’d love to share with you the lightbulb moment that I had – if I can find the human words to do it justice. This is all still formulating in my being.
I have always been a doer. I’m a fixer, a problem solver and a bit of a pain in the ass for some people because I don’t quit. I ‘do’. I’m always busy, always thinking about the next thing I need to do. I have been in forward motion as long as I can remember.
It’s a huge part of who I am – or rather, who I have been. It’s one of those trajectory courses that my life experiences subtly placed me on but I don’t want it any more. I want something else.
And this conversation with Clare Downham has helped me to firstly become aware and secondly begin to untangle the driving forces behind it. I won’t get too deeply into that bit as I’m still working on it but in terms of the awareness piece, which is step one in any ‘untangling’, the moment came when she said “yes we are human beings not human doings but if humans had just be’d (yes she actually said this and I loved her for it!) then we would never have gotten anywhere”. We went on to talk about the reason for all the doing that we do and how it’s often driven by complicated emotions, people pleasing, tangled belief systems and a desire to achieve other people’s goals.
When we’re busy doing, we’re often motivated by a desire to achieve something we believe is expected of us or we’re in outright avoidance of something we just don’t want to look at!.
Here’s what I took from our conversation; the trouble is that the doing we’ve been doing is that it’s motivated by the wrong things. It’s sticky and complicated. It’s about pleasing others or it comes from a place of proving oneself. It’s all rooted in the beliefs we have and it creates a hustle mentality. It flows from a place of desperate energy that pushes you rather than an inspiring energy that draws you.
I have always had an issue with the “We’re human beings not human doings” phrase, partly because I’m a doer, but mainly because we still need to move, to survive, to thrive…doing is a requirement of living. So doing with a different motivation, one that’s untangled from our self deprecating driving forces, doing from a place of joy and fulfilment. Not doing because we have to but because we want to? That’s be-doing. It is finding the natural way of being, then the doing flows. It is no longer forced.
When we reveal our true selves, when we shed the skins of conditioning that have been directing us, then we can really start be-doing.
So what is the motivation behind all the ‘doing’ you’re doing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments and I’m always open to my beliefs being challenged and questions – this is how we grow…