The one thing that you can be sure of is that things change. Nothing stays the same forever. It’s just a fact, and if you are wise, you will embrace it when it comes and move forward with confidence.
Yeah right. Few of us like change and unless that change has been self directed, even fewer of us embrace it.
So it is also with me most of the time, except in the case of the changes that are about to happen in my life right now. I saw the patterns forming as much as a year ago. Still I did nothing, only waited, looking for more clues to prove or disprove my developing theories until I arrived at this juncture in the road and now have little choice but to embrace change.
This is where Rita Wilson comes in. You know who I’m talking about right? Rita Wilson, married to Tom Hanks but a successful actress of her own accord as well. That Rita Wilson.
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, which I do in the mornings with a cup of coffee, a ritual that wastes far too much time and should be added onto the need for change column of my life, but it’s part of the story so there you go. Anyway, on my FB feed someone had posted a TED Talk with Rita Wilson The Question That I Almost Didn’t Ask And How It Changed My Life and that little voice inside my head said to me, “watch this”. So I did.
Rita talks about how she was afraid to ask herself this one question, “What do I want?” A question that in my opinion is the hardest question you may ever ask yourself because, firstly, you have to be truthful to yourself in order to ask it, and secondly, you have to rise above all the bullshit programs playing in your head that keep telling you that you don’t deserve to get what you really want.
It was no different for Rita. Her guilt program was blocking her true answer to this life altering question. Guilt was telling her that she should be happy with all the blessings that life has brought her already. She was happy, healthy, successful, accomplished, has a wonderful husband and family – why did she need to be asking such a selfish question? But the question would not let her play to that guilt and finally she allowed the answer to come.
Music – Rita Wilson wanted music in her life.
Now before you think the same thing that her guilt program was telling her and act all judgy, Rita Wilson also had a lot to loose from asking this question of herself. It is one thing for a regular person like you or me to stick our necks out and try a different career, even if there might be a chance that we could bomb, and quite another if a person, who is celebrated and regularly in the public spotlight, sticks their neck out and changes their career even though there is a chance that they could bomb. Their failure is sure to be epic compared to yours or mine and provide rich material for all the critics, comics and meme makers of the world.
But it wasn’t Rita’s story that gave me the message I needed to hear so much as the question that she asked in the story.
What do I want?
This question is not new to me. I have asked it many times before, even here on this blog, but the universe or divine intervention felt I needed to be asking it again, right in that moment, and was using Rita Wilson as the vehicle to deliver that message because it knew that I would soon be entering a time of change and needed to know what I wanted in order to navigate the transition.
So thanks Rita for being vulnerable enough to ask this question for yourself and brave enough to embrace the answer that allowed change into your own life. I needed to hear your story in order to allow mine to become.
I also got a one word answer. A word that I use all the time. One that I seek out every day but with the help of Rita Wilson, I was able to look at from a totally different perspective.
This is what I knew before Rita’s TED talk about clarity. It is a super power of mine, honed from decades of serving others. I can cut through the emotional junk that others clutter their lives with and see clearly what needs to be done in a heart beat and it gives me no better pleasure in life than to help another soul find clarity for themselves. It may be as simple as giving a person directions to a destination they seek or as insightful as giving their soul a direction to an answer it seeks. Both offer the gift of clarity.
But we are talking about an upcoming change in my life and it is me who needs the clarity. Change requires that I must make new choices, the old ones will no longer serve me. That is where clarity is required because I need to know what it is I want. Notice that I am back at that question again – what do I want?
My shift came from pulling back and looking at clarity from a wide angle, big picture perspective. I had always felt that I needed to focus when I made choices, and by doing that, a commitment would be required and this is where I always stumble and become blocked. I am a self professed dabbler The Dabblers Club (Are you a member?) I like to do too many things and shrink away from any focused commitment that might serve to cement me into a specific mold. In my mind, there are way too many things in life to experience to pick just one. But what I do know for sure is that in life, if you do not choose for yourself, then life will choose for you and the results are not always in your best interest to say the least.
Rita’s choice of music and the fact that she used that one desire to create many projects within that choice was my “aha” moment. I do not have to make a focused choice at all. What I need to do is just commit to clarity and use it as my filter system for every other choice I make going forward. Rita Wilson went on to do many different projects including Broadway, songwriting, performing live and even cutting an album of her own songs.
I just need to use clarity as the focus of any project I decide to do. Does it bring me clarity? Go ahead and do it. Does it bring clarity for others? Go ahead and do that too.
It is not the project or choice that matters, it is the reason why I want to do the project or make the choice, and for me, clarity should always be front and center in the answer.
Simon Senik, the author of the best selling book, “Start With Why”, is a trailblazer with this concept. With out a why, a choice or project has no heart, no authenticity and a higher chance that it will eventually be abandoned or worse, fail.
The more I think about the question, “What do I want?” the more I think the question really should be, “Why do I want?” Could “why” be the missing link to all my blocks when it comes to change? What about you? Could it be the reason as well for your resistance to change?
What Rita Wilson really did when she got brave enough and asked herself the question, “What do I want?” was to pay attention to the feeling that her soul really wanted to feel. That was joy. Then she asked herself, “What brings me joy?” The answer for her was music.
Joy is one of the highest authentic emotion we humans can feel. It is a guiding light and when we are in a state of joy, we are at the best aspect of ourselves. When what you want brings you joy, you have your why. What you create from that why doesn’t matter, all that matters is that what you create feeds your why.
Change is inevitable but if you know your why then you can change your what to adjust to change. Clarity is my why and is also the answer to what I truly want. By knowing that and applying it as the filter to every decision I make as I transition from where I was to where I need to be as I go through this change in my life, I can do so with confidence and embrace the next chapter of my life. Just like Rita Wilson.