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How I Did It And How You Can Too

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Things happen in clusters in my practice. A certain theme or focus will show up across classes and private sessions. So this article I want to share about one of those themes … the theme of ‘how did you do it’ and ‘how can I do it too’?  The ‘it’ being a livelihood which is interesting, fun and sustainable.

When you are in the public eye like me (due to the nature of my work and how I market it) people make all sorts of assumptions and projections.

Some of them are accurate and some of them are not. I find I’m often having to dispel misunderstandings, so clients can understand the reality of how things have been and are in my work and life as they go about constructing their own shift.

A Perhaps Surprising Relationship to “Creativity”:
brain-left-rightSome clients have me pegged as the ‘creativity’ or ‘artistic’ gal. Which is quite different from how I view myself. They want to have a conversation about how I manage to consistently do ‘creative’ work (which is often something they feel they are putting off or not finding time for).

For me, creativity isn’t separate … it’s ‘prime’ … it’s woven into my everyday work and life. I find the time because it’s integral to what I literally do every day. My creativity is not some split off or separate thing. It’s incorporated into what I do through the variety of my offerings and all that goes into providing them.

Stubbornly Pursue Your Authentic Interests:
sphere-spikeyMy interest in Visual Skills (which is how some of my clients find me) is just one of many interests that I have pursued over the years. Others include organizational development, strategic planning, visioning, coaching, depth psychology, trauma, consciousness, manifestation, spirituality, kundalini, energy work, healing, space and advanced technology, etc. Which taken together is a very big picture.

I’ve woven all of these interests into who I am and how I work. I don’t think of it as ‘creativity’, although I suppose it is. I think of it as ‘being me’ … steadfastly pursuing what authentically and genuinely interests me.

I’m just kind of stubborn I guess about going after what attracts me and blending it into my work and life as I go.

Trust Your Own Instincts:
Some of my interests have become quite vogue in recent years (visuals skills and also some of the consciousness and spirituality stuff). This higher level of receptivity and interest by others hasn’t always the case.

I started poking into these topics decades ago, back when they weren’t as well known and I had to suffer the ‘giggle factor’ or worse from others.

People who see my work and brand now (after so many years) sometimes have no idea of the flack I bore early on from some family, friends, colleagues and clients about my unusual interests … and this flack continues to some extent even now from more conservative quarters on the adoption curve.

gossipsFor the clients who ask me how I’ve done it, I say that I have learned (through trial and error) to trust my instincts. If I have an interest in something I pursue it – I don’t look for reassurance, affirmation or permission from others.

I follow my own instincts and pursue what appeals to me. And I try to ignore ignorant or hurtful comments from the peanut gallery should they arise. I trust myself foremost not them.

Develop a Stronger Belief in Yourself and What You Like:
I suggest to my clients that if they are attracted to things they believe are different, innovative or creative that they may want to develop a stronger belief in their own instincts and develop a thicker skin where others are concerned.

dignity-signIf you want to be pioneering (and visual skills, consciousness, spirituality, etc. are still pioneering as they unfold into the mainstream) you’ll also need to be strong, steadfast and kinda stubborn in your own worth and value and the dignity of what you are interested in (even if others don’t quite get it yet!).

It’s not always easy or comfortable being ahead of the curve. But if you can hang it in there it is SO WORTH IT in the long run when the curve finally catches up! You will eventually be rewarded for your foresight and perseverance … and with a career that genuinely suits you.

About the Burning Of Boats:
Another thing that I’ve shared in these conversations around ‘how did you do it’ is the concept of ‘burning your boat’.  This analogy goes back to explorers/pioneers of early settlements who literally burned their boats when they arrived on new land that their leaders wanted settled.

The option of returning to where they came was abruptly removed by the burning of their boats. They had no option but to do their best to make it work in the new territory.

pirate-mapThe burning of boats is a large part of why I am where I am now. I either burnt my own boat or I had boats burnt on me by circumstances. So I was forced to make the best of it of where I had landed.

Plus back to that stubbornness mentioned earlier. I’m stubborn. I could have taken easier routes, but I didn’t. I wanted to see if I could make a go of it doing what I liked and cared about rather than taking the safe path. If I literally wanted a roof over my head and food in the fridge I was required to take action in the new territory. Which in hindsight was a real treasure in creating work that truly suits me!

Living that close to the edge is not for everyone but it served me really well. I created conditions that made me have to do it.  So, if you find yourself wanting to do something but you never seem to get around to doing it … you might want to look at your boats.  Are they serving you?  Not just in the short term practicality that they are perhaps providing but in the larger aspect of your overall LIFE and how you really want to spend your precious time?

If you really want to be doing what you say you want to be doing, maybe you need to burn some boats so you can’t do other things anymore.  And, for those of you who have had boats burnt on you (fired, relationships ended, etc.) this might help you to reframe your circumstances as an opportunity.  Not an easy for sure but an opportunity to build in the new territory rather than staying in the old status quo that you really didn’t like.

Wake Up to How Short Life Is:
I know this article is getting a little long, but there are a few more things that I want to share (as they were shared in these recent conversations I have been having).

This may sound cliché but life is short. And that is something that I’ve deeply known for a while now having had mentors, friends, colleagues, and family die (sometimes in unpleasant circumstances) and also having done a lot of past and parallel life regression work.

singasongOur lives fly by VERY quickly. Scarily so. So there is really no time like the present to get going! If you have a unique song within you, it’s a shame for you die without it having been sung as only you can sing it.

I say do whatever you can to pursue your interests and weave them into your work and life. Sing your unique song! It’s a worthwhile and noble pursuit and any progress is good progress, so keep going and get in what you can!

Mission, Purpose And Team Helper:
Ever since I was a kid I have had a very strong sense of mission and purpose that I am here to DO SOMETHING.  For the longest time, I didn’t know what the heck that was but I could palpably feel it nonetheless (maybe you are like that too?).  Eventually, the how became clear, through being a Process Professional with multiple tricks up my sleeve and an educator/mentor to assist others.

This drive is not egotistical, it’s communal. I’m here to play my small part and to be of assistance to others doing their part — together we form a powerful team that is shifting things for the better here on planet earth.  Being visible to some extent is part of the picture (a sometimes uncomfortable price to be paid in order to accomplish the larger job).

So my mission is ultimately about ‘service to others’ and about what we as a collective can do to improve things. I share my stance with other Process Professionals who are contemplating their own ‘it’ and what it takes to create that (skills development, identity, brand, website, marketing, sales, etc.).

earth-clipartSee if you can authentically make your ‘it’ about something bigger than yourself. Even if that drive is never spoken about directly but gives you needed motivation to keep going when the going gets tough.

Most of the folks I attract are already ‘service to other’ oriented and that perspective can make doing their necessary business building steps more palatable.

Watch Out for One Dimensionality:
Yes, I have unique and interesting work that I’m well compensated for.  I’ve worked hard for it, taken risks and also been very lucky.  But I also tell folks who find my example inspiring to please don’t glamorous what you think my work and life is. It ain’t all a bowl of roses. And I still have plenty I’m in the midst of shifting too.

I have my fair share of ups and downs, insecurities, frailties and things that go boo in the dark. We live on a dualistic plane here in the 3D, which comes with both light and dark.  I am certainly no exception!

family-home-clipartFor those with a family, I say ‘cut yourself some slack’, it’s not fair to compare my work ethic to yours. I did not have kids and I have yet to partner long term. So as a result, I have had a LOT of extra time to pursue my interests and not have to consider other people’s feelings, desires or expectations in addition to my own.

My life is pretty one dimensional at this point in time. I’ve got work, authenticity and sustainability figured out but there is more to life that just these things.

I sometimes have to remind my clients with families, non-monetary hobbies and satisfying social lives to pat themselves on the back. You’ve accomplished very important and satisfying things so don’t sell yourself short. All of these aspects to life are important, it’s just the order and timing of things that can vary as we go about our shifts … myself and you included. All the best with your particular shift!


© 2017 Christina L. Merkley

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Christina Merkley, "The SHIFT-IT Coach" is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Visual Thinking and Energy Work. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and conscious businesses to define and manifest what they truly want. And, trains other Process Professionals in her innovative ways of working. For more information visit: www.shift-it-coach.com and www.visualcoaches.com


Posted in Inner Work, Visual Skills
4 Comments
4 comments on “How I Did It And How You Can Too
  1. Lindsay says:

    Synchronicity is an incredible thing. I can’t tell you how many times your blog posting is exactly what I needed to read at the exact right time.

    You are a catalyst!

  2. Ayn says:

    Fantastic article, Christina. Thanks for sharing your story and insight on how you’re doing “it”, very inspiring – you’re a courageous woman! I feel so honored to be a part of your powerful communal tribe as we all continue making our shifts, it is great to have this sense of community. And thanks for sharing the “burning your boat” concept…this is something I’m going to spend some time considering. 🙂

  3. Geri says:

    I love how open and honest you are and how you are willing ping to share of yourself to help others achieve or believe in themselves! You are truly a briliant educator, mentor and coach. You seem to put the right stuff out when I need to hear it 🙂

  4. Debbie Quigley says:

    Love, love, LOVE the depth of Ms. Merkley’s wisdom and contribution on so many levels and layers. A life well lived, well explored and shared with it’s many nuances, is such a heartfelt gift that she delivers each time she reaches out and embraces us all. A beautiful song indeed!

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