Shortly after I drove my “I will be a writer” stake in the ground, I had a humbling encounter. You see, the universe is ready to rise to the challenge, but you have to be ready to rise with it. So I’m having this internal dialog with myself – you can do it – yeah, I’m gonna take it all the way – I’m going for it! – but inside I still had lots of doubts. You don’t climb out on a limb and then automatically say to yourself that this is absolutely, without a doubt, the right thing to do. You sit awhile and look down. You take in the view. You assess how much it will hurt if you fall. You try to imagine flying up into the sky. You adjust your bum into a crook in the tree, and you ponder what your next steps are. You take a lot of deep breaths.
I was pretty much in this phase when I met a woman who showed me how shallow that stake in the ground really was. She came to Nia class one day. She was not new to Nia, but she hadn’t come to this particular class before, and I haven’t seen her since. She made one spectacular appearance that is printed indelibly on me. One of my friends in class knew her from before, and after class the three of us went to lunch. The two of them sat chatting, catching up. Then, the woman turned to me and casually asked, “So what do you do?”
I answered, “I’m unemployed.”
Now why did that come out of my mouth?
Because, in the eyes of the world, that is what I thought I was. That is how I judged myself. I am a person who once had a job, who no longer has a job, so that means I am unemployed.
Now my friend Rachel gave me a look and said, “Kim, is that really what you do? Is that who you are? Tell her what you work on every day when you’re at home.”
I’m still stunned that I even said those words. It made me realize that while I aspired to be one thing, I still believed I was something else. I was still entrenched in my old reality.
So, thus prompted by my friend, I answer, “I’m a writer. I am writing a novel.”
The woman responded with delight at this news. She asked me lots of questions and I gave her the brief history of my break out from corporate America.
Then she said to me, “Okay, so let’s try that again.” Pause. “So what do you do?”
Grinning, I answered, “I am a writer.”
I got a do-over. I got a chance to role-play my new identity. I have not seen this woman since that day, but she and my friend Rachel have my eternal gratitude for demonstrating to me that, if I really wanted it, I had to declare it.
Declare it. Whatever it is that you want to be. It takes guts to say it out loud. It may sound foreign even to your own ears. Practice saying it, just to yourself, alone in an empty room. Get comfortable with it. Make sure it fits like it was specially made for you. Then when someone asks you that question about who you are and what you do, you’ll know the answer. It will be right on the tip of your tongue.
I declared it. The universe heard me and came running to see what it could do to help.
Declare yourself and see what happens. I dare you.