Cheap is more than money – Cultivating an abundance mindset

Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions. What are your actions showing you? Do you have positive beliefs, abundance beliefs? Or do you perpetuate negativity? Maybe you aren’t even aware of it.

Here are a few phrases I hear often. What is your impression of these as you read them? What emotions do they evoke from you?

– I don’t like to spend my money on extravagant things.
– I am happy being cheap.
– I am not cheap, I am frugal.
– I am doing better than I deserve to be.
– I don’t have the money for that.
– There never seems to be enough.
– Oh, s/he’s not so bad.

For the longest time, I wouldn’t buy certain name brand products. I felt that they were overpriced. Until friends had the same shirt that I had bought three or more times because the less expensive brand had worn out. And they had ultimately spent less money than I had. So who really saved in the long run?

On the other hand, I won’t buy other name brand products because their high price tag conveys a value that their product does not have.

That’s the key word. Value.

I have learned to value my money and my time and the time it takes to make my money. I do not want to squander it on wasteful things. I have also learned to pay for services I previously would not have paid for if it brings me value or helps me achieve my goals. I am more likely to take myself out to a good dinner (or get takeout) when I have worn myself out and know I won’t cook and will eat junk food instead of a proper meal.

A few years ago, I would not have hired someone to work on my website no matter how much money I was making. Beyond being too cheap to spend the money, it was also a source of pride for me. People told me how easy it is to do it myself. I felt like I should have control over what the presentation of my ideas looks like. Then the website sat. For four years. Sure I added some minor things and made some adjustments. But in the long run, I have no desire to learn how to do the work and don’t care how easy it is. My being cheap has held me back from going where I wanted to go.

I now see hiring others to do work that I will not do as an opportunity to help people. When I hire someone to help me achieve my goals, I am making available time that I can use in creative or revenue generating activities or better yet – for my family. I put funds into the life of someone else that may allow them an opportunity they would not otherwise have. I allow someone else to cultivate their skills while I cultivate mine. I create partnerships and teams, even if only for a short project. I allow others to shine – to operate from their highest self. Hiring them allows me to ‘do me’ better.

Creating confusion.
Another thing I have learned is that using the word cheap confuses the universe. If you are trying to manifest abundance into your life, but are still using words like “cheap,” you are still in a place of lack thinking. Try reframing these statements to value conscious statements. You want value. Value in your products, in your time, in your entertainment. And in your people.

Wait, cheap refers to people, too? Yes.
We collect people because of common interests, common activities, same place/same time. This is human nature. We are hard wired to build tribes. But for some reason, we feel like we need to keep them well past the times when they provide value to our lives or we to theirs. Historically this was important because of safety issues. These days, though, it’s just another way to be in lack. Afraid you will not find new friends. Or maybe you have never even thought about it. I know I had not until a few years ago. People came and went through my life. Sometimes I would struggle to hang on to them. Even if they drained me or made me feel bad. I kept people who were close to me even if they were cheap. Cheap in thought, word, and deed. I certainly do not need martyrs in my life, but I do not need people who do not choose value either. Is this the kind of people I want to have in my “five”? It is not. I want people who know and own their own value, their own truth and who project it back out into the universe.

What about clients?
Clients, too. There is this culture that tells us that we need to cling to clients who continue to buy our products or services. But I do not want cheap clients. I want clients who find value in the work we do together. Who enjoy using the products I sell. Who do not call and complain about every little thing. Who make an effort.

I used to work at a large corporation who had a massive client who the very embodiment of cheap. The client undercut their payments wherever they could. They required a significant amount of specialized work needed only for that client. The company (and others like it that worked with this client) had to hire teams to specialize in supporting this client. In the long run, this client was and continues to be a financial drain. Yet, the top line revenue looks really good on the books. Most of the employees would have fired this client years ago. For good reason.

You can too. Even if you have a small business and that client is your only client. If your clients consistently violate your boundaries or force you to push them beyond where you would like to go, you can dump them. I give you permission.

Creating opportunities
Since I have begun work cultivating abundance mindset, my opportunities have grown exponentially. Each opportunity better than the last. Sometimes it is hard to say no or to quit them when they are no longer serving me or my long game. This too is a form of cheap. Of fear. Of lack thinking. Knowing what your values are, what your mission is, is critical. It provides the foundation for you to build a solid life onto. Abundance mindset starts at the bottom and works all the way up. It is easy to be pulled off course or distracted when you don’t know which direction you are sailing your ship.

Cultivate abundance through awareness.
How do we cultivate abundance mindset? It begins with awareness.

Watch your language for the next few days. How do you speak to yourself? I used to call myself frugal often. In reality, I hadn’t established my thoughts on value.

Be aware of your feelings towards money and material items. How does it feel to buy an item, spend that money, hold that item? I used to have a lot of guilt and dread around spending money. Which I would then soothe through buying a lot of little baubles, ironically.

Take a look in around your home, do you keep items “for a special occasion?” What is the special occasion you are waiting for? Is that item being ruined by sitting and waiting? I used to do this with candles, fancy foods, and bath products. By the time that occasion that was special enough rolled around, the item was old, junky, ratty or spoilt.

Observe yourself in your mindset. Don’t judge yourself, just notice. If you journal, I recommend journaling about your observations, it will help you identify the root of these thoughts and help with the removal of them.

If you have made a conscious effort to define your values, compare you observations to your values. Are they in alignment? If not, make changes.

If you have never defined your values and are interested in guided work on doing this, feel free to drop me a note. I am in the process of building a course to help people get clear and granular on how to define their values. I would be interested in hearing from you.

Are there other actions you can think of that will help you cultivate abundance mindset? Do you have stories of being a reformed “lack thinker?” Or if you just want to dialogue about the topic, feel free to leave a comment.

Until next time …

In Light & Love
Namaste

Declutter the decluttering – a reframing exercise; notes from a reforming organizer

Welcome to Spring!

Everywhere I turn I see another article about declutter this, organize that, buy these fancy new containers here, look at this new decorating style, here is another minimalist/simplicity/organizational book on SALE today only!

What if, just for a moment, we consider the possibility that we are not all the same?

“Clear the clutter! Clutter is a sign of dis-ease. Clutter outside is a sign of clutter inside. Clutter is a reflection of what is going on in your head. And clearly, that cluttered space is just not good.”

So much judgement. Negativity. Fear. Why?

What if, just for a moment, we stop buying into that old inaccurate assessment that a cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind. Okay, maybe it does, but a cluttered mind does not mean incompetent mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a minimalist at heart and am striving to reduce my material possessions on a daily basis. But minimalism isn’t about having less stuff. It’s about valuing the stuff you have. Whether that stuff fits in a back pack or you need a big house to hold it all.

What do you value?

I am a messy desk person. No matter how many bins and organizers and folders and pretty this, functional that I buy. My desk always returns to a state of mess. When I was younger, I accepted this about myself. I am a creative and all the creatives I knew were messy. Then I grew up. And people started giving me organizational tips and techniques. Judging me. Questioning my performance at work because my work area was what they called “sloppy.” Judging me. I was asked how could I possibly find anything? How could they find anything if I was out? That last question got me. Convinced me to judge myself. It made logical sense and I began a journey into organization. One that I am very good at.

I can take the ugliest, messiest of spaces and transform it into a glorious machine. Everything has a place and everything is in that place. I structure it so that everything you need can be within an arms reach – thereby making you more efficient, right?

Right!

At least, that is what the experts say.

What if the experts are {{GASP!}} wrong?

What if we actually are more efficient when we live in our natural state?

As I write this, I look around my desk. I have been taking part in a self experiment. I have been allowing my creative side to win over my organizational side. I have been accepting me, in my natural state.

What began two weeks ago as a large pile of papers in my office and another pile in the kitchen (the *important* stuff) none of which was not being actioned – because my focus was on finding it a proper home – has turned into a very small pile. Well, five small piles actually. The five items I have left to action out of this huge pile of “stuff”.

Because instead of spending my free time and my mental agility on organizing and cleaning or stressing because my office was a mess, I simply set about the task of completing the work that needed to be done.

Know what I’ve found?

More clarity. More focus. More progress.

In the mess, I have found me. My focus, my clarity, my free time. I am in the process of accepting me, as I am. This is one of those areas where I have made an agreement with myself to “do me” as the new buzzword says. And stop trying to live in an office that perpetually looks ready for a magazine article. That was so exhausting. And honestly, I could never find anything. I could never remember which bin or folder the items I needed had been sorted into. My filing cabinet had multiple files with the same name on them because I would forget I had already created one. When really I didn’t need the file at all, I needed to do the work and get rid of the paper.

I can tell you exactly what is in each of those five piles, what needs to happen with it, and by when. That, is organization. That is efficiency. That is me doing me, being me, allowing me.

I can’t tell you how many Friday nights I spent with the music blaring, the room gutted and me trying to organize it all. What a waste.

Gone is the stack of receipts waiting to be entered into my budget. They are in my budget and tossed in the recycle bin. Why in the world did I listen to people who told me to block time in my calendar to do this??

Gone is the stack of camping options for the kids this summer. Instead of spending hours pulling them together and looking at them, I grabbed the one for the closest camp, scanned the schedule, picked the week that works best and booked their camps. Last year, the same task took a week of back and forth and maybe they will like this program or that program? how far is this drive? day camp or overnight? This year? Finished, in less than fifteen minutes and it only took that long because the camp system had a glitch.

Gone is the pile of research topics for a side project. Scanned into my Evernote, tagged, and searchable for when I get to that stage of the project. Which is a few months away. A few months without those papers cluttering up my space.

Also gone? The three different list taking tools I had. I don’t need them. I’ve actioned the work. Rather than spend hours making the list, setting the list up in a way that would be accessible wherever I was, I just did the work.

I have to insert humble apologies to former coaching clients right here. Yes, for some of you, I was wrong to make you do all those lists. Others of you though, it was perfect. I will be making lists too. Lists are a must in this day and age. We have too many things to do to keep all of that in our heads. With the piles of extraneous paper gone, I have need for small lists. Project lists. Not massive, multipage, task lists. I see the difference now.

I read a book awhile back that taught how to roll socks and towels so that energy could flow. The book set me on edge, angered me. I couldn’t understand why at the time. I get it now. Rolled and stood on edge is not my natural state. I had reached the apex of trying to roll myself into someone else’s methodology and my psyche could not take even one more “too” or technique. My psyche rebelled.

Now listen, I am in no way advocating allowing your house to fall to pieces. No ma’am, no sir. I am advocating being your true you.

What standards are you trying to live to that are outside of who you are and want to be? Where are you placing your value? Where are your techniques and efficiencies actually holding you back?

I have been nearing this buzzword, buzz phrase actually, a lot more lately. I am adopting it into my own lexicon. “Do you.” Who are you? Accept that. Be that. Do you. Stop the comparisons and the modeling and the attempting to fit your star shaped peg in someone else’s round hole. Glisten, glow, be free. Be you.

In Light and Love ~

#GratitudeExpands – 30 day Gratitude Challenge

In August 2015, I launched my first #GratitudeExpands 30 day Gratitude Challenge and invited all of you to participate. To send me comments and notes, to post to your socials using the hashtag #GratitudeExpands and to even tag me (@Driftseed everywhere except Facebook) if you feel compelled to do so.

I would like to invite you to participate again, or for the first time if you’re new. Beginning May 1st 2016, join me in spreading the overwhelming magic of gratitude and appreciation.

Feel free to share this post, as well as any social posts you see from me with #GratitudeExpands, with link back and appropriate credit, of course.

Find out how I started this by reading the original post here: https://mosaicstarfish.com/2015/08/31/gratitude-challenge/

Say “Yes” to your dreams

Ten years ago, I walked into a yoga studio for the first time. And fell in love. I was at home and comfortable with myself in a way I had never felt before. My soul sang. The “type A” voice in my head shut up and listened. The voice of the teacher was clear and heard by every molecule of my body. I felt at peace for the first time in years.

I had been having panic attacks. Bad ones. The kind other people can see and feel. I was projecting energy in every direction. It had been getting worse for weeks and weeks and my friends were getting scared for me. They didn’t know how to help, what to say, what to do. I was at work when a phone call came in from a friend who was just back from Afghanistan. He heard the disconnect in my voice, the spaced out, stressed out, non-existence I had been disappearing into and he said these words to me: “Go to yoga. Don’t think about it. Don’t study it. Don’t analyze it. Pick a studio, today, now, while we are on the phone. Sign up and go. I’ll pay for it if I have to. Just go to yoga.”

I didn’t argue, I didn’t quibble. While we talked, I surfed the Internet and found a few studios. One was starting a new sixteen week session the following Saturday, I signed up.

I walked into the studio two days later wearing baggy shorts and a ratty tee shirt. It was all I had for “workout clothes.” The owner took one look at me and guided me to some pants I couldn’t afford and gently suggested that next time I wear something more like this. No judgement. Just guidance.

I walked into class with a rented mat, a jumble of nerves, and a whole lot of fear. The teacher came over, knelt down, helped me unroll my mat, introduced herself to me, Her name was Jana, and she welcomed me. In that way that goes beyond words. An opening of the heart. A caress that touches your soul. The voices in my head fell silent, smiled, and welcomed her back. By the second class in the session, I knew I wanted more. I wanted the ability to bring this same kind of peace to someone else.

We went to work learning the basics – four corners of the hands and feet, how to build a foundation. What the asana is called (in Sanskrit, thank you very much), how to move into the posture, proper alignment, how to breathe. She was the best ujjayi teacher I have had to this day. Normally, my inner reaction would have been to rush, to hurry, to ‘get it’ and move on. Something about this woman, this studio, this practice – Anusara if it’s important to anyone reading – made me pause and listen. I, was in heaven. I studied at this studio for a few more series, but the drive was quite long and took too much of my time. Created problems at home. Jana moved back to Florida (I think) and I never had that same teacher/student connection at that particular studio. But my connection to yoga has never died.

Even when my practice on the mat has been non-existent, my practice off the mat has deepened and grown. You see, the thing that gets missed a lot of times these days is that yoga isn’t an exercise program, it isn’t a ‘work out.’ It’s a connection. To self. To the bigger picture. To the inner and outer. To the world, the body, the mind, the spirit. To growth and improvement. To acceptance of limitations, but also the desire to move through them. Recognize them, embrace them, accept them. They are a part of you and are not to be feared. Some are to be overcome, but some just want to be heard. It can be a very deeply spiritual practice, yet it does not interfere with any religious practices you might already have (unless those practices aim to do harm to self or others).

Despite becoming popular in recent times in the west, yoga has a long history dating back thousands of years. Documented (written) history dates yoga between 5,000 to 10,000 years old, but yoga roots deep in oral tradition as well. Handed down through the ages and brought to the United States in 1893 by Swami Vivekananada through a speech to the World Parliament of Religions. Paramahansa Yogananada deepened our western curiosity in 1920 when Babaji sent him to “spread the message of oriya yoga to the West.” The 1950’s and 60’s saw a surge of yoga occur in California. The interest has continued to increase and now includes multiple variations of yoga being taught around the world.

And now, well – in September, after ten long years of on and off mat practice and study, I have finally committed to stepping onto that path which captivated me so many years ago. In September, I will join the ranks of those working on their 200 hour registered yoga teacher (RYT) training.

Why now? When I have so many other things going on? You may ask. Well …. because.
Because, for the first time, the class schedule works with my schedule.
Because, for the first time, I have the money in my budget to buy the books and take the classes without worrying if it is taking food off the table.
Because, by the time the classes start, I will have wrapped up three of my projects and have no (current) intention of taking on more. A little break will be needed, fo sho.
And because the universe is conspiring with me to make it happen.

My husband, son and I discussed everything as soon as I returned from the information session. We all agreed that I would do this. I don’t know who was more excited – them or me. I filled out my application and have it all ready to submit. I loaded up my Amazon and Audible carts with the books I need. Then I get an email from Audible. Most items in my wish list are on sale. Three of my required texts purchased for less than $8.00. Two of the books are coming from Amazon, total cost of all five books? $10.81. It’s a sign. I read it, took it’s advice, and now send back much gratitude.

Over the years it has seemed like there have been little stepping stones to this path. A new studio with a better schedule. A teacher I was particularly called to. A better paying job that would allow me to afford the tuition. Baby steps all of them. This is the first time all of the dots have lined up.

And so, with gratitude for the opportunity, I say “yes.” Wholeheartedly, “YES” … and Thank you. See you in September.

Do you have a dream? Something that peaked the interest of your soul? Either immediately or through practice? Is it a part of your life? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Until next time …

In Light and Love ~

I had an amazing experience recently. I was scheduled to attend a lecture hosted by a famous author. Okay, it was Liz Gilbert, who was scheduled to speak about her recent book “Big Magic” and the creative process of writing it. Or some such. I didn’t pay attention to the description because I didn’t care. It was Liz frikken Gilbert, and it was nearby and I was available. I was going. Period.

And it was amazing.

Early morning she decided that she would instead host an impromptu workshop for the attendees. And it was magnificent.

This woman is so deft on her feet that she was able to transform her scheduled engagement into something so powerful for the people in the room (and for herself – she did the exercises, too) and present us with such a lovely gift. I will forever be grateful.

Why? You are probably wondering what was the big deal. If you follow me, you know how much reading and personal development and such that I do. That is all great and wonderful. But lately I have stopped all of that. I have stopped reading personal development books and attending webinars and free this or complimentary that because there was no execution in any of it.

Let me say that again:

There was no execution in any of that.

I was full of ideas (other peoples ideas). Loud ideas. Ideas that drown my ideas out. Ideas that created fear and anxiety. “Do this, don’t do that”. “My success came from x, y, and z. Oh, you haven’t DONE x, y, and z??” And where was it getting me? Stalled. Nowhere. So much information coming from so many places and giving so many different directions to go. I would take a few steps only to be greeted by someone else’s panic monster waving it’s arms and telling me I was going in the wrong direction.

I had been backing away from it for awhile. Unsubscribing from mailing lists, unfollowing people on socials. No more ingesting. It was time to digest. More importantly, time to execute. Once upon a time, I executed first and analyzed later. (not a bad approach these days, by the way) What happened to that chick? She needed to come back and blend into this chick and get some momentum going.

And then along comes Liz …. and she breaks me open (her words).

Using the six main chapters from the book, Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity, she spent three hours ‘breaking us open’. And through the breaking open, I made room within myself to digest the pieces I had cherry picked from all of my coaches and mentors and people I follow. I got more actual work done in the fourteen hours immediately following the workshop than in the prior two weeks put together. And I got a lot (A LOTTA LOT) done in those two weeks. And in the weeks prior to that. Ever since I stopped listening to others telling me what to do and started actually doing.

And by completing work, I am opening myself up to manifesting more work. The opportunities that have been coming my way have been unexpected and not what I would have thought I would have wanted. There is some heavy lifting to do. I look forward to doing it. For the first time in a long time, I understand WHY I am doing that work. And it isn’t because some course told me I should. It’s because it relates to my long term game plan, fits into the me I am and want to become, and makes my offerings more cohesive.

So what is my point with this rambling?

To tell you that it’s time. It is time to stop learning. You know what you need to know. Start executing. Take the first step. Don’t look. Just move. Movement creates movement creates more movement. Get moving and course correct as you go. Stop following other people’s paths. Unless you want to do exactly what they do exactly the way they do it, but I suspect if you’re reading my work, that isn’t who you are. Stop trying to figure it all out.

Want to be a writer? Pick up a pen, touch it to paper. It does not matter what the words are that come out.
A painter? Buy the paint, dammit. Spill it on the ground, play in it. Cover yourself with it.
Make something, draw something, write something. Create – something. It does not matter what.

Stop hiding in your learning and go make “it” happen.

You suck at it? Everyone does. Practice. That’s what the infamous “they” did.

Go. Do. Right. Now.

In light and love
Namaste

**Need help getting that creation fired up? Have something in you that won’t come out? Send me a note via the Kickstart Your Curiosity page.

Starfish on Periscope – Making Paleo Brownies

Yes, I have been ‘Scoping.’ For quite awhile now (find me @Driftseed). And I love it. Come on over and check it out. We’ve been having a lot of fun.

This week, I have been participating in a ‘rolling scope summit’ with a few of my friends. Find us using #Essentialife. We are talking about reducing toxic load, stress management, movement and exercise, and – of course – healthy eating.

I kicked off the summit by making a Flourless Paleo Brownies recipe that I found at The Waking E-Zine and it is ah-mazing. I tweaked the recipe by adding Wild Orange Essential Oil* because we love those dark chocolate and orange flavored oranges that you can find here in the US around Christmas time. It was the perfect addition. Other great additions could be Peppermint and Lavender. Both go wonderfully with dark chocolate.

Below, find my version of Amber Oliver’s fabulous recipe.

IMG_20160202_192405454

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup zucchini shredded in a food processor liquid drained and large chunks removed
1 cup of almond butter
1/3 cup of local raw honey
1 farm fresh egg, cage free, organic, etc. (you know the drill)
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1 cup of extra dark chocolate chips, mostly melted (enough that they won’t sink to the bottom of the pan in a big clump) – Choose your chocolate wisely. I use Guittards or Enjoy Life brands.

3-5 drops of Wild Orange, Peppermint, or Lavender Essential Oils* (Optional, but oh so tasty – see disclaimer below) – add these into the melted chocolate

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all the ingredients in order into a large bowl (If using essential oils, stir these into the chocolate before adding to the remaining ingredients)
3. Combine well, remove any pieces of zucchini that create lumps
4. Pour into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Brownies will be thick, more cake-like and very moist. If this isn’t to your liking, you can drain the liquid from the zucchini for longer or squeeze the water out using paper towels. These are a perfect potluck treat. You can sway you’ve brought the veggies!

DISCLAIMER: Not all essential oils are safe for consumption. Read the labels. If there is a food supplement label on the packaging, these are safe to ingest. If there is not or the label states “Not for consumption (or some other phraseology that means the same thing) do not eat it or put it in food/drink.

If you want to know more about the essential oils I use, contact me using the form below.

 

Untitled – thoughts on progress and the path to success

Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert Landscape

It’s that time again. The quarterly review prep.

I am reviewing my lists of goals, desires, progress. Reviewing wins, misses, failures, lane changes and more. Excuses and validations.  Cycling quickly through a wide variety of emotions. I succeeded here, failed there, won and lost. I’ve written the same words over and over for years: lose weight, get in shape, be more financially savvy, move to the next level with my businesses…. You know the drill.

This time is different. I say that every time. And every time, it is a true statement.

Every time I get to a review period, I am better at everything on my list than I was the time before. Small steps forward in many directions. But this time, this time I finally feel awake. In the past quarter, I have learned more than I learned in the three full years prior. I have learned what I am doing “wrong.” I had been told before, but this time I have learned. More than that, I have heard, finally, over the din of so many voices of others, I have heard my own voice. My own guides. My own path.

It is an amazing sound.

I encourage you to try it. Stop taking in more and more and more. Stop pulling in the voices of others. If you are like me, you’ve collected many. So many that you can’t even digest or action the lessons they have to share. Read, study, learn – by all means. But chew on it. Swallow it. Eat it up. Before you move to the next thing. Know why you are collecting the knowledge and how you will apply it before you invest the time.

I understand. I am a knowledge junkie. I am drawn to courses and books and study materials like a moth to a flame. When one mentor makes a recommendation, I pounce on it. I am a lifelong learner. It’s time, though, it’s time to put to use what I have learned. Which is a lot. I am a walking university.

I’ve made an agreement with myself.

No more courses. Books only for the courses I am currently subscribed to and then only for entertainment …. Which creates a large danger zone as my entertainment books are personal development books.

No more.

Currently sitting on my virtual course shelf are five business courses, three yoga studies books, and three personal development courses. Plus a finance book that is in itself like a semester of college. Looking at all of this brings the awareness that I have been hiding in my learning.

It’s time to stop the madness. I have a few business needs that would be met by me doing those courses then implementing what I learned, but I don’t want to. I have no passion or even a desire to acquire those skills. Someone somewhere told me I needed to have them. In reality, I don’t need them. At least, not right now. I am going to hire that work done for me. It isn’t in my best interest to spend the time learning those skills for a one time utilization.  Instead I will create abundance in someone else’s life and pay them to do what needs done.

This is the year of the “not doing list.” I will be taking things off my plate and giving them to others who want to do them.

And honestly, I am kinda tired of being told what to do. Even though it is done with love and the best of intentions. And often – at my request …. I had sought input with the hope that by listening I could avoid some of the pitfalls. By devouring lessons and stories of pain, I could avoid my own. But if studying the lessons of others is keeping me from taking massive steps forward, then that would be the biggest disaster of all.