Time Well Spent

Do you feel like you are doing everything you can for your career and just feeling stuck?

Are you looking at your vision and saying,
Can I just BE there already?

It can be so frustrating when you WANT something so badly, and feel like it’s so far away.

Looking at the clock, I imagine you may want to just speed up time so  you don’t have to go through all the struggle and HUSTLE to be Full Time.

There has to be an easier way, right?

I feel you.  So many times I would leave another busted callback, and just feel defeated and so frustrated.  I knew I was doing everything I could, and yet, it was just taking WAY longer than I wanted and felt hard.

I longed for ease with my art.
And most of all, I longed for progress.

Can you relate?
How are you feeling about time right now?

This weekend I am celebrating my one year wedding anniversary.

I have a smile a mile wide as I am typing this, and my heart feels like it’s beating out of my chest with love.  I have truly found the most incredible man, and I am the happiest I have ever been being married to him.  He has taught me love at a level I always wanted.

Standing in front of my family, friends, and spiritual community was a huge moment for me.

One I waited a long time for.

I remember going on my first date of my life at 38, and feeling so awkward.  The guy was very nice, and for a moment I thought,
Could it be that easy?

And then he ghosted me, and I realized I had a LOT more to learn not only about dating, but about myself.

I was super clear I was not going to turn around and just marry version #2 of my ex.  This was about calling in an entirely different man, and that meant I needed to understand what that was and my part in it.

And of course, I originally thought this process wouldn’t take that long!
I thought that just because I wanted it so badly, meant it would come quickly.

Hard work = success!
Does this sound familiar?

I mean, I’m very disciplined, and very motivated, and yet…..I had SO much to learn. I had never dated before in my life and had met my ex at 18 and gotten married at 22.

I was not very experienced.
What I did know what working hard, but I didn’t know men and dating.

My first love coach said something that was really helpful, which was to start cultivating what it would feel like to receive my man.

And I realized for me, that would mean I would feel relaxed.

My go-to in the past had been to over-give, try to control, and have TONS of energy going out to the relationship.  This left me absolutely exhausted, but since it was all I knew, I thought this was just what a successful marriage was.

Until it fell apart, and I actually started to ask some deeper questions around relationship and around what love is.

And I started to cultivate relaxation in my body.  This was a game changer because when I would go on dates, if I didn’t feel relaxed, I knew I was falling into old patterns.

Patterns that exhausted me. And to be honest, the guys ended up ghosting, or being weird, or not wanting to commit.

They were not available, and I was overcompensating for that.

I was learning.
I was gaining experience.

And time ticked on.  I would go through phases of absolute panic as I entered my 40’s and watched each birthday go by.

But I stayed in it.
I remembered WHY I was doing this.
WHY I was going on all these dates.

And trust me, I wasn’t doing this alone.  I was asking for help from coaches and teachers the whole time, because I had no idea what I was doing.

This was new!
I had never found a conscious high level man before and married him!

And then, one May day, I went on my last first date with Chuck Rogers.  By this time, after four and a half years of practice and learning, something radical happened.

I was relaxed.

For the first time ever.

I was different.
He was different, and we had both waited a LONG time to experience and find each other.

Thank goodness, because I realized in that moment, the time had been well spent.

We can easily get caught up in thinking our careers are a failure because we aren’t where we want to be.

But, what if you’re exactly where you need to be?
What if there is a more powerful question to be asking right now?

Relying on hard work will only get you so far, and in most cases can create a perfectionist mentality which just keeps you stuck.

But, what if this is a time of learning for you?

Stepping into a student mind opens you.
It allows for growth and possibility, instead of just believing if you don’t know you are stupid, or failing.

Feel the difference in your body.
One is expansive and the other is very constricting.

Growth happens in the energy of expansion.

In a world where there is so much going on, we can often get to the end of a day and feel like we have NO time or perhaps time is using us.

What if you could use time well?
What if this time is here FOR you?
To point you towards what needs help?

Trust me, I wanted to meet my man SO much earlier than I did, and yet all the exploration and learning I did leading up to meeting him was what allowed it to go so smoothly.  We were magnets for each other at that point because we were both so clear and open.

Your career, your success, and your dreams are no different.

Your vision matters, and it takes many elements to go Full Time in today’s world.  It’s not a quick fix. It’s not about a perfect FB ad or having one hit song. 

Full Time is a full picture of stepping into your best self, and if you are not where you want to be, instead of beating yourself up, come into curiosity.

Ask for help.
We get there together.

You’ve never been Full Time and successful.  Much like me, you don’t have the experience of what that is, because it’s NEW.

So, come into the student mind, find coaches who get you and who can help, and create a team that nurtures and promotes your work.

Learning is power.
And you have so much inside to unlock.

Use your time well.

Photography: DAG Photography

Knowing When You’re Ready

Do you feel ready for incredible success with your career?
Do you feel stuck on how to get there?

Do you look at where you want to be and feel you are doing everything you can, but are just not making your way up the ladder to the success you want fast enough?

Sometimes, it can feel like you are staring up an endless flight of steps that seem to go on forever.  I imagine that can be overwhelming!

And there is so much TO DO to actually “get there”, right? There are all these steps you know you have to take, all these things that have to be in place BEFORE you can stand confident and truly claim your dream!

It’s that place you see in your mind where you’ve MADE IT!

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just leap ahead and just get there already?

I get it.  When I first moved to NYC and started auditioning, I wanted to book my Broadway show right away!  And when I didn’t, then I knew it meant I wasn’t “ready”.  So, I took classes, and lessons, and kept working at my craft, believing that if I worked hard enough, then I would be ready.

Sound familiar?

With each rejection, a deep belief started to form, as I watched my peers book their Broadway show, which was,
I’m not ready.

So, I held myself back, and went back to what I knew…doing the same hard work and just HOPING it would change.  Staring at the endless steps, I just kept going.  What I didn’t realize was that I was stuck on the same step again and again.

When everything did change, it certainly wasn’t the way I thought, and I realized there had been a HUGE piece missing.

When I went through my divorce and lost everything, I found myself meditating for the first time in my life.  In the midst of such chaos and grief, it truly saved me.

The beginning instruction for Zazen, the Zen form of meditation, is to count your breath.  When a thought comes in, you see it, release it, and then go back to 1, counting up to 10.  When I first began, I cried almost every time I would sit, and the counting was a lifeline.  It gave me a structure to come back to, and a way to deal with the constant panic and heartbreak I was feeling.

I found comfort in the counting, and my mind started to calm.  While I watched other practitioners and formal students drop the counting, I just kept with it.  I wasn’t ready for that!

My life was changing, I found my true voice as an Artist, found full time work I loved, and then met my now life partner.

And every day, I sat to meditate, and counted my breath.  1, 2, 3……..some days I went back to 1 many times, and others I made it to 10 easily.  I stayed on the step of counting my breath, because I believed that was where I needed to be.

Last weekend, I went to a Half Day meditation sit.

We had the opportunity to have face to face teaching, and I jumped up right away.

What typically happens is you enter the small room, and sit in front of the teacher and say your name and what your practice is, so I entered and said,
My name is Nikol and my practice is counting my breath.

And before I could then ask the question that was burning in my heart, my teacher looked right at me, and said,
How’s that going for you?

Caught a little off guard, I stammered,
Oh! It’s going well!

And then he asked,
Do you have a daily practice?

I answered quickly,
Yes!

My teacher smiled and said,
You’d be surprised how long it takes some people to make this a daily practice.

I was about to reply when he dropped the smile and said,
I want you to drop the counting.  Don’t try to control it.

My eyes widened, and I was a bit in shock.  This was NOT what I expected was going to happen today.  I didn’t think I was ready to do that! 

So, after the teaching was complete, I grabbed my cushion and returned to the Zendo, where everyone was sitting and meditating.

I could feel a panic rising in me.
No more counting.
Wait….that means that I’m JUST with my breath?
I was terrified.

I started to cry, and sat back down.  I saw the thought, let it go, and then something magical happened.

In the place of the counting was just SPACE.

SPACE.

And I realized I was relaxing on a level I hadn’t before.
Because there was NO counting. There was no structure.

Just my breath.

And I realized how the counting had become a crutch.  It was actually holding me back.  I had been on the same step again and again for the single reason,
I didn’t think I was ready.

Thank goodness my teacher knew I was. Because without his guidance, I would STILL be on that step, and probably wondering why I was having so much trouble relaxing.

Growth doesn’t happen in comfort.

Much like the minute we take off the training wheels, or take off the floaties and swim without help, it allows us to see we are actually CAPABLE.

I remember Broadway choreographer Patti Wilcox saying to me in class one day,
I want you to always take class standing in front from here out.

She saw something in me, and she knew I was ready.  Without her guidance, I would have stayed in the back for years.

I’ve heard so many people say to me,
I’m not ready.

But the truth is, confidence comes from the new action you take.

You can only see to your limitation, so the vital ingredient here is a guide, someone who knows your dreams, who is tracking your efforts, and is skilled in what is necessary for you to grow.

Growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it definitely doesn’t happen alone.

The largest lesson I learned in my face of my divorce was to ask for help.  But not just ANY help, help from specific guides who got me,  and who could really help me. I would never have decided to launch my business and successfully go full time without a coach.

And I would never have dropped the counting.

The part that is the largest miracle is I’ve been struggling lately with how to release more control.  This was actually what I wanted to ask my teacher about.  And even before I could share that, he offered me the action that would give me exactly what I needed.

Turns out I was ready.

And what about you?
What step have you felt you’ve been in for years?
Do you have a guide?

What if you are ready to go to the next level?
Is someone seeing you as capable and offering guidance?

We don’t grow alone.

Your success will unfold when get out of your own way, and you come back to being a student. 

We do this together.
You are far stronger than you think.

Surround yourself with guides that see this in you.

And then take the next step.
You’re ready.

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography