Welcome to episode number 99! It’s hard to believe that I’ve recorded 99 episodes! If someone had told me five years ago that I would have my own podcast and I would be recording it from my RV, I would’ve told them they were nuts. Not to mention, I would’ve thought that I would be nuts to do such a crazy thing.
But ya’ know what? It might be nutty, it might be crazy, but I’m happy. That’s what matters. As challenging as it can be at times to record the podcast, interview guests, coach clients, manage 8 different social media platforms, teach courses, write a new book, travel the country in an RV, and explore the world, all of the effort is so worth it.
To be in a state of flow is when:
- you are totally absorbed in an activity
- time feels like it has slowed down
- your senses are heightened
- the task at hand is effortless
- your mental chatter fades away
- you feel ecstatic, motivated & fulfilled
For me, writing or recording this podcast gets me into that state of flow. When I’m in my creative zone, I feel like the entire world has stopped, and I’m happily typing or talking away.
For many of you out there that are searching for more purpose, meaning and fulfillment in your life, find activities that put you into that flow state. Think about what you love to do and what gets you into the zone. If planting flowers puts you into a flow state, go plant more flowers. If working on cars gets you into a flow state, go work on cars. The point is to find activities that will awaken your soul and make you smile.
No matter how small the activity is, you never know what can come out of it. For example, my writing career started by accident when I went to pastry school in Paris years ago. I had no intention of writing about my pastry chef journey, but when I was at my going away party, everyone asked if I would start a blog so they could keep up with my adventures in Paris –– so I did.
I blogged every day without fail. Even if I was tired from being in the hot kitchen all day rolling out croissant dough, I would go back to my little apartment at night, sit on the balcony with my baguette, chocolate, and wine –– best dinner ever –– and I would write about my day in school.
I wrote every day because it made me happy. I wasn’t writing for money, I wasn’t writing for fame, I wasn’t writing for Instagram followers, I was writing because the act itself brought me joy. Period. Writing put me into a flow state.
What I’m about to tell you next is when I realized the impact of sharing my gift and love of writing with the world.
It had been a few months of writing in my blog when one day, this girl shouted across the locker room, “Are you GoWendyGo?” GoWendyGo was the name of my Tumblr blog at the time. I responded, “Yes, I am GoWendyGo!” She was this adorable girl from Germany, and she said to me, “I just want to thank you for writing your blog. I’ve been reading it since day one and you inspired me to become a French pastry chef. You are the reason I am here.”
Woah. Is that cool or what? Who’d a thunk it that my little blog would inspire someone all the way in Germany to attend pastry school? It made me love writing even more. I realized that by simply sharing my thoughts and my life experiences, I could help to change someone’s life.
But here’s what’s really interesting. As much as I loved writing and I loved helping others, the moment I thought of actually becoming an author or a podcaster or an inspirational speaker, I stopped myself. I procrastinated and gave a million excuses as to why I couldn’t write that book, start that show, or give that speech.
Why? Because I was scared. I was scared for a lot of reasons, but I was mostly scared of the naysayers. I was scared of the critics. I was terrified of what people would say or think of me. I was worried I would embarrass myself, my family, my friends, and then I would have to live the rest of my life in a dark cave.
So even though writing and public speaking made me happy and fulfilled, I didn’t allow myself to do it because of the damn naysayers in the world. I was basically sacrificing my own happiness because of the cranky critics in the world. How ridiculous.
Years and years went by of me doing jobs I hated just to avoid being criticized as a writer and an inspirational speaker. I may have avoided the critics all those years, but I couldn’t avoid my soul slowly dying on the inside. I couldn’t avoid the sadness I felt from not pursuing my dreams. I couldn’t avoid the emptiness and the voice inside my head reminding me that I’m not using my gifts and talents.
That voice got really loud a couple years ago when I was working at a job in Chicago selling new home construction. I took the job to help me get out of debt and regain my independence after my divorce. I was really good at this job, and I made excellent money, but I couldn’t stand the job. I found myself going home at night after work and researching how to start my own podcast or publish my own book.
One day at work, I was speaking to a customer about all the upgrades in his new home. “John, you’ll probably want the level 4 granite countertops and the level 5 cabinets with the raised paneling. Also John, I highly recommend the soft close option and slide out drawers. Oh! Would you like the chrome or bronze package for your faucets?”
As the customer rattled off all his choices, that damn voice in my head yelled at me, “Wendy, what are you doing? Seriously? You’re talking about granite countertops and maple cabinets? You need to get out of here. You are wasting your gifts and you need to fulfill your purpose. The hell with the naysayers and the critics. There will always be critics in the world. Focus on the people you are helping. Focus on the Yaysayers.”
I knew that loud voice was my spirit, and I knew she was right. I knew I would be miserable if I didn’t fulfill my purpose as a writer and speaker. I knew I would have regrets if I didn’t go for it.
Quite obviously, I did go for it, and I am so glad I did. And of course, when I finally put myself out in the world, here came the critics and the naysayers. I have trolls on all 8 of those social media platforms and I just received a rude review of this podcast last week. And ya’ know what I think about all of the criticism?
Not a damn thing.
Because I love what I do!
When I took the leap to finally fulfill my purpose in life, I had to change my perspective, my focus, and my beliefs. Instead of thinking about the critics, I think about my cheerleaders. Instead of focusing on the naysayers, I focus on my yaysayers. Instead of worrying about the nasty comments, I appreciate the sweet comments. Instead of getting stressed about the people that don’t want my help, I get excited about the people that DO want my help.
I’ll admit that I felt pretty down when I read that bad review last week. I cried actually. It goes to show the power of words and how they can lift someone up or put someone down. This person that left the rude review obviously uses words to put people down. I am choosing to use words that lift people up and remind people that they are extraordinary and beautiful and miraculous.
I had to make the choice to focus on the good. That’s what it comes down to –– it’s a choice. We all have a choice in how we give and how we receive. We have a choice to focus on the positive and not the negative, the light and not the dark.
Do you want to know what made me feel better? Two things actually. #1 I received some really kind messages on social media and some emails that really brightened my day, so thank you if that was you. I appreciate that. #2 I thought about that German girl back in Paris years ago that I inspired to follow her dreams, and that’s what really matters.
The reason I’m telling you my story is because I don’t want you sacrificing your happiness the way I did. I don’t want you to fear the naysayers and critics in your life. I don’t want you to play it safe and keep yourself small just to avoid challenges or criticism.
One thing I have learned at midlife is that you can’t be all things to all people, but you canbe all things to you. You can make you happy. You can fulfill your dreams and allow your gifts to shine. Even if some people are allergic to your bright light.
The cost of dealing with your naysayers is way less than the cost of dealing with your unhappy, unfulfilled soul. Just like my loud, obnoxious soul continued to shout at me every day until I finally did something about it, your soul will also remind you that you are not living your life to the fullest and you’re not sharing your gifts with the world.
Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Well said Mark Twain. Well said. I’m going to leave you with a few questions and some yummy nuggets of wisdom to munch on as you go about your day.
1. What puts you in a flow state? What gets you in the zone? What do you love to do so much that it feels like time has stopped and you are so immersed in the present moment? Whatever that is, go do more of that. If you are not sure of what that is, go experiment and try something new. As I mentioned before, you never know what you’ll discover, and you never know where it will lead you.
2. Say Nay to the Naysayers and say Yay to YOU. The naysayers will continue to criticize. If not you, then they will criticize someone. Say Yay to you, say yay to your soul, to your happiness, to your purpose, to living a life that brings you joy. Also, pay attention to the Yaysayers in your life –– your friends and family who support you and cheer for you. Read books or listen to podcasts that motivate and inspire you.
3. Your words are powerful. Choose words that will lift people up and not put people down. Be mindful of the negative words that come your way. It might be time to set some good boundaries, unbefriend or unfollow.
4. You can’t be all things to all people, but you CAN be all things to you. You can make you happy.
I want to thank you so much for listening to my words and I truly do hope they lift you up and inspire you. If your soul isn’t shouting at you to fulfill your dreams, then I am more than happy to do so!
I look forward to sharing more words with you when my book finally comes out into the world. Oh my gosh. I can’t wait! You will be the first to hear when my book hits the Barnes and Noble shelves. I will definitely cry that day!
Have a great week and I will chat with you on Thursday for episode 100! Woo-hooooo!
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