I was recently talking to a friend about 2012 and I told her that I’ve long wanted to have a super power that wouldn’t so much let me look into the future, but instead would just transport me there. I explained that I didn’t want to change the future. The events would have played out just as they were “supposed” to and I would have all the memories as if they had happened in real time, but I wouldn’t have to wait to see the results. Snap my fingers and I’m there. No looking back.
Instead of waiting a year, I’d know right away if my book were going to be published. I’d know if my PAVEME(A)NT lecture was gaining the momentum I hope for. I’d know if I had succeeded at becoming more universally authentic in all areas of my life. Did I finally go an entire year physically fit? I have big visions and big plans for things, just not always the patience to see if they actually happened. My time traveling super power would eliminate that problem.
But then…I was in the midst of running “hill repeats” (working on that physically fit goal), when, after years of thinking the “snap to the future” would be my ideal super power, I realized I want a different one.
If you’ve never done hill repeats, it’s basically an exercise in drawing stares from your neighbors. Over and over I sprinted up the hill in front of my house and walked back down. Up. Down. Up. Down. You’d think I was field dressing an elk right in the middle of the suburbs based on some of the looks I received.
It was then that my super power desires changed. What I want now is the power to deflect any and all judgment. Maybe it’s even bigger than that. I want to be completely impervious to judgment. I don’t want to take the time to deflect it. I don’t even want to know that it’s happening. I had to deflect the stares of the people watching me run up and down the street by telling myself to keep going. What I want is the power not to even notice.
Unlike my time traveling super power, the best part of this new super power is that it’s possible to achieve. I’ll never be able to skip ahead to the future, but I can learn to deflect, ignore and become completely impervious to judgment. It just requires a little practice and training. Yesterday was the perfect start. I. Just. Kept. Running. I know it seems like such a simple thing to just keep running, but judgment is my Kryptonite. If it’s anywhere near me, I can be stopped in my tracks. Worse, because it manifests itself in different ways, with doubt and fear, for example, it can keep me from starting. So, keep running I did. And it felt great.
We’ve all heard (or have read or have experienced) the concept of taking baby steps as we learn to set goals. We start by setting goals we can more easily accomplish. And start to create and achieve bigger goals. Before long, we’re goal-setting machines. It’s a little like working out and exercising, right? Start by simply walking around the block. Then you run a bit. And so on…until you find yourself running a marathon (if you want to do such a thing). Surely this is simplified, but you get the point. Start small. Achieve. Create the habit.
The same can be done with overcoming judgment. Just get outside your comfort zone. Start small. Running up and down a hill is really nothing. Realistically, it was easy to deflect the stares. (Hell, there might not have even been any judgment going on. Those people may have just been wondering what I was doing. But, those stares created doubt and made me want to stop. That’s exactly what I mean when I write that judgment manifests itself in many different ways. It’s a shape shifter.)
I have a friend who had a HUGELY successful career in the tech industry. He worked his ass off and did very well for himself. As we talked about my last post about permission and the negative affects of judgment, he told me that when he left his last job, he took months to let some people know. He was afraid of the judgments they would make. And now, as he thinks about what he wants to do next and as he searches to find a vision for his passions, those same judgments cloud some of his ability to see that vision clearly. It’s difficult.
I’ve written about my own fear of playing my Djembe in a public drum circle and the ridicule I feared for being off beat or playing something “wrong.” I started with a smaller drum circle and survived. Not only did I survive, it was an incredibly inspiring (and empowering) evening. It not only made me feel good about myself, but overcoming the fear of judgment that night rekindled my old love for wanting to create more music in my life. Piano and/or guitar lessons are on my list for 2012. (And, in what should put much fear into all of my friends and family, I’ve privately thought about singing lessons. Not so private anymore!)
So this is the groove I’m trying to get into. I’m going to keep testing my resolve for what I want and need. Without judgment, I can say what I need to say. I can do what I need to do. What’s the quote (sometimes attributed to Mark Twain): “Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.” In short – screw judgment. It’s part of a bigger mission to live more authentically. After all, it’s impossible to live the life you’ve imagined if you can’t do what you really want because of the judgments of others.
Without judgment in our lives, we feel like we’re stronger than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. If we can overcome caring about what other say or think about our goals and dreams, we don’t need to skip ahead to the future to see what happens…because we already know.
What super power would you want to have?