Are you hiding your greatness?

 Painting by Amy Judd

Painting by Amy Judd

Let's be real here.  Everyone has something they're hiding.  

I'm not talking about dark secrets or that lie you told your mother in grade school that you still feel guilty about.

I'm talking about your greatness.

Yes, you heard me. YOUR GREATNESS.  

You've got a superpower, a hidden talent, an ESSENCE that is radiating from your heart and yet you hide it from the world.

There are 3 main reasons why we hide our greatness.  

And there are 3 small steps we can take to UN-do this habit that's holding us back from our dreams.

Here’s why we hide our greatness:

1. We are afraid of failure.  Believe it or not, failure is actually important in life.  Ask any successful entrepreneur how many times they had to fail before they succeeded? Brené Brown was only half-joking when she called the TED conference the Failure conference—since every successful person up on that stage was there because they were willing to fail in order to succeed.  Willingness to try and fail is actually what sets us up for greatness.  So stop using failure as an excuse for hiding your greatness! 

 

2. We are afraid of success.  Some of us are afraid of success because we might actually have to accept happiness.  Then what? What happens when there’s no more conflict, nothing left to strive for? We might actually be—no don’t say that word….bored! Some of us have a survival mechanism that’s addicted to struggle. So we keep ourselves small and in hiding so we don’t succeed and so life is always “hard.” And then we pat ourselves on the back for having tried so hard, and feed our self esteem from that struggle. I’m here to suggest an entirely different way of operating, where we are operating from our greatness—from the assumption that we don’t need to prove anything—we are already great! If we were to allow our greatness to shine through, achieve success, and we finally access that feeling of ease and flow, imagine what else we could create from that place?  If success is not a destination, but a continuum of wins that are aligned with our commitments, we will never be bored, and fear is bankrupt! 

 

3. We are afraid of responsibility.  Responsibility is simply doing what you say you’re going to do.  When we are out of integrity with our commitments we don’t always act from responsibility.  Then we guilt-trip ourselves for it (believe me, I used to be an expert in this) and let the inner critic make us believe we’re bad and wrong for it. When we show our greatness we have to get responsible for our commitments. And that’s scary.  But if we stop making ourselves bad and wrong, and judging ourselves every time we aren’t totally responsible, we might actually make it out of the driveway! I have to admit, getting responsible is actually really refreshing! It sure beats not fulfilling on our dreams and commitments and then sulking about it! 

 

Ready to get a taste of your own greatness?

 

Here are my 3 Baby-Step Solutions to these fears that will finally get you out of hiding!

 

1. Declare what by when—not how! Ever get caught up in “how am I going to pull this off?” Ever shy away from declaring a deadline because you don’t have a strategy in place? The biggest misconception about declaring a commitment is that you need to know the how.  When you stop worrying about the how and start declaring your what by when you open up the energetic channels for things to start moving.  Suddenly you spring into action, get creative and your greatness starts to show it’s teeth! 

 

2. Post a visual of your commitment.  Sometimes you’ve got to see it to believe it.  Once you’ve declared your what by when, put it on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror.  Put it on the window behind your desk.  Put it on your laptop so you see it every time you open up your computer.  It’s hard to avoid taking action towards greatness when you’re reminded all the time of your vision.  Make it pretty, make it simple, but just make sure it’s visible! 

 

3. Get support.  Support is important for 2 reasons: First, when you have support you’re held accountable. Arrange for someone (a friend, a colleague, or a coach) to check in on you at the date and time you declared you will deliver on your commitment.  Second, having support means you have someone to go to when there’s a breakdown.  Breakdowns are actually normal (making a big deal out of them only prolongs them).  On the other side of every breakdown is a breakthrough! Getting supported by a professional coach can get you in touch with the possibility that each breakdown brings, and help you reaffirm your commitment and get back on track.  

 

If you’re ready to stop hiding your greatness once and for all, follow these steps! If you need some support, let’s talk. Remember, baby steps are all you need—the greatness is already inside you. 

In awe,

Melaina

 

P.S. I'm outing my greatness! My superpower is designing and facilitating life-changing programs so you can go out and change the world, your way.  I've had a new program ready to roll for a month, but guess what? I was hiding my greatness...And the greatness of the dozen experts I'm collaborating with!  NO MORE! Click here to see my latest program PURPOSE + PROFIT that will change your life or the life of someone you love. No shit, no kidding.  Because my mission is to be of service, and I can't do that by staying small.  Love you all. 

How to Take Your Power Back

One morning in November I woke up raw and sad.  An unsolicited email from an ex had knocked me out of my power.  I felt pain in my neck and in my spine.  Oh, no, I thought, not another day of this.  Committed to my morning practice of body and soul time I instinctively put on a youtube mix of Ani Difranco, who I hadn’t listened to in years and laid down on a roller on my mat. The roller dug in along my spine and intuitively I began running my hands along the floor, out from my legs, up above my head and slowly out and down again. It felt good, like the thing my body needed.  And then, suddenly I realized what I was doing:

 

I was opening my wings.

 

I’ve been having visions that I have wings for almost a year now.  When I first saw them, I remember noticing they were huge and white, but bound by thick rope, keeping them close to my back.  Occasionally, I could feel them opening, in those “A-Ha!” moments. But most of the time, they were tied up.  

 

A few weeks ago during an intensive Circling Immersion Workshop I saw my wings again. Circling is a dynamic group process focused on transforming our way of being through authentic relating with others. During one process, I was supporting a young woman as she stepped into her power: I saw her wings, and mine, and they were opening and beating together. Later, while doing my own work with the group around shame and anger, I felt them again: my chest opened as I locked eyes with someone in the group, my wings broke free. I felt almost a daring energy coming from my chest: What have you got? I dare you. I’m ready.

 

In that moment I could feel a new sensation radiating from my chest in a bright orange-red fireball.  This fireball resembled a fiery planet, with red flames in orbit around a yellow luminescent core. The amazing thing about this planet is that it didn’t seem to matter where in the Universe it traveled, I knew it was secure because it was orbiting on it’s own axis of light. And just like that, wings flapping, fireball churning, I returned to my power.

 

The thing about recognizing and stepping into your power is that it’s scary and you WILL get pushback. Fear of that pushback or shame around taking up space can easily keep us small. For years I was worried that by speaking my truth I would upset others or rock the boat too much.  I had this idea that if I was a “caring person,” I couldn’t really speak my mind or have what I truly desire because it might hurt someone.  

 

The truth is, when we show up in our power, we can trigger people.  But the benefits of that power and everything we have to offer the world, make it a disservice to society to say small. It is actually our responsibility to find our power.  I realized that I had been suppressing my anger, but if I actually channel it and welcome the parts of it that motivate me to make change, it can be a force for good.  

 

So I’ll say it out loud here and own it:

 

I am angry that you lied to me about your feelings—I am worthy of better.  I choose to channel this anger to create opportunity for authenticity and honesty in all my relationships.

 

I am angry at the human rights abuses, racism, sexism, and bigotry in our country and in our world—we deserve better. I choose to channel this anger into action in service of justice.

 

I am angry that I let fear and shame keep me from being seen.  I choose to not to hide my power any more.

 

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I invite you to join Five Days of Fearlessness Challenge! Just JOIN THE CHALLENGE HERE and then post about your fearless action each day this week in the Inner Peacebuilding Now Facebook Group.  Let’s support each other in taking back our power!

 

  • How are you hiding your power? What’s keeping you small?

  • What is that thing you’ve been resisting or suppressing that will actually set you free?  

  • What is the first step you are committed to taking that will unbind your wings?

  • What will you committed to doing today to practice FEARLESSNESS?

It’s time for Peacebuilding—Inside and Out

By Melaina Spitzer

  Photo by Mark Freeth

Photo by Mark Freeth

When I woke up the morning after the election, I was in it: Shock. Sadness. Anger. Fear.  The decision that Americans made deeply disturbs me. The protective parts of me were swinging in full gear. “How could they? Who are these people? They don’t represent me!” shouted my angry part.  I could feel the division between myself and the “other” Americans growing deeper in my mind. So I took a deep breath and chose to examine this incredibly important question: How are we going to work together? How are we going to heal? 

 

In my heart, I know the answer: We need to begin a long process of conflict transformation and peacebuilding in America.

 

How does Transformation Actually Occur?

 

I have spent the better part of my adult life studying and working on something called Conflict Transformation.  The idea behind the concept is that it’s not enough to simply “settle” a conflict, to put a band-aid on a wound and say it is cured.  Evidence has shown us that conflict is cyclical: it will come around again—unless the relationships between the actors in the conflict are actually transformed.

 

The only way we can truly transform a conflict is if we can begin to imagine ourselves in a different sort of relationship with people we perceive as enemies or adversaries.  This concept—the moral imagination, coined by John Paul Lederach—was something I saw firsthand during my masters’ thesis research on the ground in Colombia. 

 

In the context of over 50 years of armed conflict, I decided to study a group of farmers and workers who had managed to maintain a peace zone in their territory, in the middle of a war zone.  I knew this had huge implications for Colombia, but today I want to share this example because of its’ implications for our polarized American nation.

 

How did this small group create peace in the midst of war? They weren’t super humans, trained mediators, or wise academics: They were farmers, workers, displaced people, and victims of violence. However, they achieved something extraordinary: In spite of their own pain and trauma, and stood up and declared: We have no enemies. We will talk to you, but in exchange you must agree not to commit violence within our territory.  If a conflict arises, instead of hurting or killing, call on us and we will mediate.  For over twenty-five years, this group dialogued with armed actors from both sides—guerillas and paramilitaries—who had committed terrible atrocities.  They won the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 by implementing their own version of conflict transformation: a long-term process of peacebuilding. 

 Teaching at at the local school in the Peace Community in La India, Santander Colombia during my field research.  One quote on the mural says, "There is no path to peace, peace is the path." 

Teaching at at the local school in the Peace Community in La India, Santander Colombia during my field research.  One quote on the mural says, "There is no path to peace, peace is the path." 

The Road to Peacebuilding in America:

Colombia is not out of the woods yet, and neither is the United States.  Colombian voters rejected a peace deal, even as their President received the Nobel Prize, sending negotiators back to the table.  In the US, the election battle has just ended, but our polarization continues and our divides run deep.  So let me leave you with this nugget of wisdom I learned from the Colombian peace process: 

“The very people we don’t understand, the people we feel anger towards, are the people we must seek out and dialogue with. 
 

It’s ok if today you aren’t ready for dialogue today.  Many of us are still reeling with emotion, unable to envision having a productive conversation in this moment with someone from the opposite side of the political divide.  If this is true for you, just be with your emotion.  Welcome all parts of yourself; be accepting of your inner landscape as it is.  After all, if we are going to have a successful dialogue with the “other” we cannot lead with our anger, fear, or sadness. We have to put our higher selves capable of compassion, curiosity, and empathy back in the drivers’ seat.   If you are struggling with how to do this, please reach out to me—I would love to support you and share my resources on inner peacebuilding with you.  

 

Ultimately, if we shift the relationship with parts of ourselves that we don’t like we will be more able to shift our relationships with others. For example, if we can understand fear in ourselves, we can understand it in others. This is why I created Inner Peacebuilding.  We must build strength through our own capacity to listen.  If there is one thing I learned in Colombia, it is that the most important quality to cultivate is empathy: To understand what is behind that person who has hurt us.  From what we know about trauma, usually the perpetrator was first victimized, the bully was bullied, the violent offender abused.  This doesn’t mean sacrificing justice for peace—we need both in our world and we cannot have one without the other.  It does mean being willing to listen, knowing that when people feel heard, their walls come down.

 

Let this election be a wake up call. It’s time to start talking to the “other” to start understanding those we perceive as our adversaries.  It’s time to stand strong in the face of fear and say, I choose something different.  Whatever side of the divide you fall on, it’s time to start getting to know the other half of the country.  Let’s choose dialogue. Let’s choose peacebuilding—within ourselves and through our conversations with others.  Let’s choose conflict transformation.  It won’t be easy, it won’t be speedy, but it just might be our way out.

 

* If you're interested in cultivating your own inner peace, let's talk