For the young women in your life
Life Works Group Published in “CosmoGirl”
in October, 2002
Grow Guts and Lead Your Life!
What if you knew you could have what you yearn for—whether it’s achieving a good grade, having a great relationship, or getting in shape? Well, you can. If you don’t have everything you desire right now, it’s not because you can’t have it. It may just be that some things have to change first. And you have the power to change.
You are a very powerful person. In fact, you already have all the power you’ll ever need. If you don’t always feel powerful, it’s because sometimes you are using your power against yourself. You may be powerfully criticizing yourself, powerfully scaring yourself, and powerfully stopping yourself from doing what you really want to do. What if you could turn that power around and use it to have what you want?
Visions of the future
You can use your power to envision the future you want and move toward it. It’s like creating an inner movie. Do you want to get physically fit? Create a picture of yourself at the gym, sweating happily on the StairMaster with your legs looking terrific in stretch pants. Then you can ask yourself why you’re not already doing that. If you’re not going to the gym, it means there is something in the way. Are you powerfully criticizing yourself by telling yourself you’ll never be able to do it? Are you powerfully scaring yourself by picturing people laughing at you?
Think of a time when you used your power to do something you really wanted to do. When you got a part in the school play or made it onto the softball team, you didn’t let your inner criticism or fears stop you. What was different then? How did you get yourself past the barriers and into the play or onto the team? You may think it was no big deal, but it was big. You envisioned what you wanted, and you got it.
If you did it then, you can do it now. Once you discover how you are stopping yourself, you can take yourself by the hand and give yourself encouragement. You can remind yourself that you have the power to do whatever you want to do. Then you can empower your visions and desires instead of your fears.
Breaking down the barriers
You want change, but you have resistance to it—don’t you? Changing something means taking a step into the unknown. If you want to meet a new guy, it can be scary to think of going out, making conversation, and risking rejection. It’s much more comfortable to stay home on the sofa and watch TV than to risk being humiliated or disappointed. Yet it’s important to take the risk in order to have what you want.
You may be waiting for the right weather, the right horoscope, or the right hairdo. Yet there is never a “right time” for change. Change is always uncomfortable—isn’t it? But so is staying where you are. It may be uncomfortable to meet new people, but it’s also uncomfortable to be alone on your sofa on Saturday night. If you risk the discomfort of going out, you have the opportunity to meet a great guy.
The discomfort of change lasts only a little while. If you can tolerate it, you open up new opportunities for yourself. You can help yourself through it by expecting resistance. When you notice you’re trying to stop yourself from doing something new, you can say, “Oh—here’s the resistance I expected.” Then you don’t have to let it stop you.
Trial and error
When filming a movie, actors do many “miss-takes” before getting a scene right. And every miss-take gives them the opportunity to get it better the next time. Having what you want means being willing to make miss-takes. It’s a trial and error universe, and you won’t get it perfect the first time around.
You can build a miss-take muscle. Instead of criticizing yourself, you can be matter-of-fact about your miss-takes. If you flub an oral presentation in English class, you can ask yourself, “What did I learn from this?” and “What do I want to do differently next time?” This gives you the chance to be excellent. Getting a perfect “10” at the Olympics means falling down a lot first.
Next time you find yourself yearning for something, take it as a signal that you’re ready for change. Decide to use your power for yourself by envisioning change, being willing to tolerate the discomfort of trying something new, and knowing you might make “miss-takes” before you get it right. That’s what success is made of. Remind yourself you have all the power you need, and you can use it to have the life you want.