Step Out (Part 1)
I recently had an experience that reminded me of a common pattern I see with many folks who immerse themselves into personal development. As people embark on their “journey of discovery,” one of the first things they learn is to visualize and act as if the thing they want is a reality. While those are powerful tools that yield incredible results (I use them all the time), the challenge comes when folks trap themselves in their fabricated world. I was no exception. When I first started visualizing and acting as if my dream life was a reality, I became so enamored of the life I wanted to create, I failed to do some of the critical things that would actually create that life.
Fortunately, after few well-timed coaching sessions and some real introspection, I shook myself out of my fabricated world and started doing things in my real world that are now producing real results. That was a hard lesson for me. As I said, visualization and acting as if are powerful tools – but I learned the hard way that those tools only worked when balanced them with the consistent, daily baby steps that moved me in the direction I wanted to go. Being a Libra, you would think I would know a thing or two about balance, but that wasn’t the case this time.
I’m reminded of a story of a man who desperately wanted to win the lottery. When he learned that he should visualize and act as if he were a winner, he started visualizing himself celebrating his win. He envisioned the mansion he would buy, the clothes he would wear, and the car he would drive. He put as much detail as he could into his vision and he allowed himself to feel the emotion of the incredible life he wanted. He acted and spoke as if he had already won the lotto, even going so far as to shop for a new wardrobe, checking out listings of luxury homes, and test-driving his dream car. He did everything “by the book,” but his lotto winnings never came.
Months turned into years and still no lotto winnings. Finally, discouraged and defeated, the man complained to a friend that visualizing and acting as if was a bunch of crap. No matter how much he visualized, no matter how much emotion he let himself feel, no matter how many times he test-drove cars or toured luxury homes as if he had won the lotto, he still hadn’t won.
The man’s friend listened patiently, and when he had finished complaining, his friend asked a very simple question. “Have you bought a lotto ticket?”
The man was thunderstruck. He had been so caught up in his vision and acting as if, it never occurred to him that he actually needed to step out of his dream and buy a lotto ticket in order to win the lotto.
How many of us fall into that trap? How many of us fall in love with the idea of falling in love, but we’re too scared step out and put ourselves into a situation where we actually CAN fall in love? How many of us latch onto the easy task of visualizing and acting as if because we’re too afraid to face the possibility of disappointment, rejection, or failure? How many of us use fear as our justification to not do anything, and then we complain that we’re not getting what we want?
So… the challenge here is to ask yourself these questions:
- Am I choosing to live in my vision because I’m too afraid to step out, or am I using my vision as a tool to take inspired action?
- If I AM taking inspired action, am I doing so consistently, or am I only doing things when I feel like it?
- Am I insisting on a particular path to get what I want, or am I open to any path as long as I arrive where I want to go?
Answer yourself honestly. No matter how you answer, you’ll find direction and you’ll shed some more light on the best path for you to take. The next step, of course, is starting down that path and finding a way to stay on it in spite of whatever fear you feel.
I’m Part 2 of this post, I’ll take a look at fear and how we can transmute it into joy instead.
Until then, namaste, my friends. Be well.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.