Which metaphors do you use to describe your life? Is your life an adventure-filled journey, an ecstatic dance between yin and yang, an amazing roller-coaster ride? Or is it a tough battle, a never-ending war, a boring day-to-day assortment of chores and dissatisfaction? The way you view and describe your life greatly impacts how you experience it and how you react to opportunities and hardship coming your way. As Mr. Tony Robbins says in Awaken the Giant Within:
“Metaphors can empower us by expanding and enriching our experience of life … We must be very careful about the metaphors we allow ourselves to use.”
Is life a struggle? Until very recently, I saw life as a struggle. I saw it as a struggle for survival, self-expression, and recognition; a struggle for the right not only to be, but, specifically, to be myself. Every morning, I would wake up thinking I was the gazelle that had to get out there and be ready to fight the lion. Every morning, I would leave my house ready to battle to claim a little spot for myself in the world; every day, I would see everyone I encountered as a potential feral animal ready to pray on me. I always had my guards up; I never let anyone in for fear of being eaten up alive.
I know where this view of life as endless struggle came from. I picked it up during my childhood and early teens when for several years I didn’t deem it safe to express myself and I felt that every time I tried to be myself or express my viewpoint, my voice would be crushed. I internalized the notion that there was something wrong with me, I silenced myself, and I also began to see the world and its people as my enemies instead of my allies. That was the belief I held on to for many decades. Until now, that is.
I recently realized that seeing life as a struggle is definitely not going to help me move along. If anything, it is going to make everything more difficult. I thus made the conscious choice of finding a new metaphor, one that would support my journey rather than hinder it, one that would make me feel peaceful rather than endangered.
Life is like a river. It suddenly came to me, the new metaphor I was looking for, and here it is—life is a river. Like a river, life flows naturally and without effort; it encounters obstacles sometimes— rocks, for instance—but it keeps flowing, it doesn’t stop; sometimes it stands still—it is a lake—and sometimes it reaches its goal and becomes one with the universe—it has merged into the ocean.
Now, whenever I feel stuck, I remind myself that life’s flow is natural and cannot be haltered. I remind myself that life loves me, supports me with its waters; that life flows in my direction, and that it is beautiful. I am moving away from seeing myself as being under constant attack—an ingrained belief that has kept me paralyzed in victimhood. Instead, I see the world around me as something that was meant to be and that I can reach out to safely without getting hurt.
And what about business? I see my life as being one with my entrepreneurial journey, which is ultimately a journey of self-discovery and self-expression. For this reason, I have extended the metaphor of the river to my business as well. It serves me well as I figure out a new approach to productivity, moving away from the aggressive, striving and constant-struggle model toward a wholesome, effortless and holistic way of getting stuff done. My business venture stems from my deepest desire to share my gifts with others, realizing myself in the practice while being of service. It is an extension of me; like a stream of water, it flows naturally from me. There will be rocks, there will be lakes, and there will be oceans, but my business will always be a genuine expression of who I am. I can’t conceive it any other way.
And now it’s your turn: Which metaphor(s) do you use to describe your life and business? Is life for you a juicy margarita on a mid-summer night, a milkshake, the cycle of seasons, a balance of expansion and retreat, a beautiful painting? And is your business a day-to-day grind? Is it an amazing adventure? A bucket full of surprises?
And, are the metaphors that you use supporting you or are they an obstacle to you achieving your goals (in which case, it might be time to change them!)? Let me know in the comments below. Thank you SO much for reading.
‘Til next time,
I BELIEVE that every woman has the right to be her most wonderful and powerful self. It is a matter of discovering it.