There is a point between our new story and our old story, when the way we do things no longer works or feels right and our new path is not yet clear. A point where we know something needs to change but are unsure of what exactly that is, how to do it or both.
This story gap can be a pretty uncomfortable place to be.
Personally it appears in our identity and relationships. In a society where who we are is defined by what we do, it’s not surprising. A classic relationship gap is when all signs and feelings point to ‘it’s over’ but you’re not ready to give it up.
Professionally the gap appears when our interests change be it out of lack of interest, fulfillment, inspiration or any number of other reasons but we stay in our job anyway because we believe we have to.
Any of this sound familiar?
The story gap exists because we have learning to do before passing through it. One side of the gap is Habit. Based on our personal experiences and familial, societal and tribal expectations and values, Habit is a story we know so well we act in accordance without even realizing it. We do this because Habit offers us a sense of comfort and security even though it may not serve us.
On the other side of the gap is Freedom. Freedom to change, experience new things and be the person we hope and dream of being. Freedom is scary because it’s not at all comfortable and therefore we tend to shy away from it even though it’s what we truly want.
As a Freedom Fighter, I am highly tuned to the story gap and the tragedy I see over and over again is people getting stuck in it, sometime all their lives. My mission is to help both of us stay out of it.
Aha! + Adventure = Freedom. This is my Freedom Fighting Formula and it works like crazy.
Adventure is the bridge that takes us from your old story of who you are to a great, new story. Aha! is the moment you realize this adventure is now accessible to you any time you want it. Freedom is, of course, the result.
Here’s how I find Freedom for myself and other people:
By creating adventures and inviting people to share them with me I get my own Aha!- a vision of their greatest potential. It’s like having x-ray glasses only instead of seeing their underwear I can see the thing they were born to do; that brings them joy, fulfillment and they can’t stop doing. The adventure allows me to coax it out of them, set it free and help them live it for real.
I’ve been seeing potential and creating adventures to pursue it all my life in the form of music, travel, stories, companies, brands, products and services. It wasn’t until my 40’s however that I realized that these adventures facilitated my ‘grand vision’ instead of the other way around. In this way the adventure is not just a part of my process, it’s essential.
Set yourself Free!
When was the last time you created an adventure for yourself that took you out of your element? Did you allow yourself the new perspective it offered or did you react to it with the same habits as usual?
Adventure can come in almost any form, from hiking the Himalayas to walking a different path to the store. The trick is to get out of your head and really see where you are. No headphones allowed. How does it feel? Who do you want to be in relation to that feeling?
Twelve years ago I drove across town to pick up a new printer for my advertising agency, where I had been working twelve-hour days for months on end. As I waited for the warehouse guy to bring it around I felt the sun shining on my head and neck. It felt great. Important. Not to be missed. And then I went back to work.
A year later my girlfriend and I went to Mexico on vacation. For the first week all I did was worry about work, which effectively ruined the vacation for both of us. Finally, I borrowed a surfboard and got in the water. Suddenly I realized I can’t miss this any more. I need to be in the ocean. Regularly. Then we went home and I went back to work.
We split soon after that and I put in even more time at work. Then the recession hit and my business was cut in half. Finally I looked up. Did I want to dig even deeper into a situation I didn’t like? No, but I had responsibilities. It took me another year to let go of the beliefs I had about why I had to stay at work, who and what I was responsible for and the kind of work I truly wanted to do in the first place. It wasn’t until I challenged my old story habits that I began to make the changes I needed to be happy.
The signs are always there, it’s just a matter of when we pay attention to them. In the example above I could have started years earlier on my printer run. But I didn’t. I could have enjoyed the vacation from day one and not ruined it for both me and my girlfriend. But I didn’t. It took something bigger and harder for me to take action. It’s like the universe said, “We can do this the easy way or the hard way” and I chose the hard way. What will it take for you?
Freedom is a choice whether we are conscious of it or not. I choose to be conscious and have made it my life’s work to help other people do the same.
What my clients discover is that Freedom is a choice and the opportunity to recognize and practice their greatest potential is available wherever they are. It takes time but eventually the gap between their old and new story narrows and they are free to be great all the time.