For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike:
Yesterday, as part of my Unique Genius Experiment, I organized a Meetup for entrepreneurs and artists in my neighborhood to grab a midday coffee (or, in my case, tea).
I started telling the group about the Unique Genius Experiment when one of them asked me what results I’ve seen so far.
The question made me pause—mostly because I hadn’t even really considered that there would be results.
“I bet a lot of amazing things are already changing and will change over the next 10 months or so,” I started telling her. “But, honestly, it’s way more about making me more open and less fixed. And that’s the biggest result I could imagine.”
We visionaries know that one all too well. We’re the ever-passionate tribe. We get obsessed with a new book, modality, nutritional regimen, vision—and it becomes the end all, be all.
Sometimes we get so attached to a certain vision, way of being, or belief that we start to internalize it as part of our identity. And then we’re really resistant to ever changing it. Or even accepting negative feedback about it. Because it feels a little bit like our identity is under attack.
I remember when I first started this work—I was obsessive about two rules: My work would always be in person and always be one-on-one. I couldn’t even fathom how people opened up to strangers online. Or that so much healing could happen when people weren’t getting personal attention.
I was rigid about it. Even when I was struggling or things weren’t working out as planned, I refused to even try anything online or with a group.
The great irony, we know now, is I’ve only worked online and in group formats for years. And it suits my work way better. The level of safety and control over your experience (to shut off video and/or audio when you’re not ready to be seen) is something people never had access to in in-person, one-on-one interactions.
But I was fixed. Rigid. Desperately grasping on for control.
Not co-creating with life, but imposing my demands on how I thought life should be.
If that were a relationship, we might call it an abusive or controlling relationship. Obsessively stubborn and never leaving room for co-creation, for feedback, for flexibility, for the other party.
And the truth is we get sucked into fixedness all the time. When I hang out in certain entrepreneurial circles, I hear the same strategies so ubiquitously that I begin to believe this is the only way to do it. I forget that there’s a big world out there of people trying all kinds of things.
And then I step out of my comfort zone. I do something I never expected I’d do. I go out of my way to meet people I wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise. And I suddenly step into genius that is so different and foreign to me. Wisdom that shakes me up.
And I have to decide if I’m going to hold on to my fixedness so tightly. Or open to the life that’s happening in front of me.
I know that whenever I’m gripping on so tightly, it’s because I’m convinced I can’t trust. I’m not safe. I’m afraid.
If I let go, all hell would break loose. And the world as I know it—or believe I know it—might be radically different. And I’ll lose my footing and have no ground to stand on.
So I usually dig my heels in further.
I remember when I was so sick and a doctor told me I might never be able to drink alcohol again. For anyone who thinks I navigated my own shifts gracefully at all times, hear this—I screamed and threw pillows when I got home (I have witnesses).
I wanted to dig my heels in further. I didn’t want to change my diet or drinking habits. I didn’t want to have to manage my stress better.
Ironically, today, not drinking, eating differently, and having a whole array of stress management tools is something I actively choose. But I wasn’t always so open.
I was so afraid to try anything. Afraid to fail, honestly. Because my self-worth was so tied up in this fixed identity of who I was supposed to be. Or how I saw the world. Or what practices made me successful.
I used to be terrible at receiving feedback. Because I’d take it so personally. I’d feel like they were asking me to change who I was as a person—and not one little behavior.
After a lifetime of being told I was “too much” and “not enough,” everything felt personal. And so I dug my heels in deeper. I was fixed.
We have this illusion that all of life is fixed. Like our home is standing in place, our relationship is static, and even our own sense of self is well-formed. But the truth is the only things that are truly fixed are dead. Everything that’s alive is moving.
We get shocked when our homes or cars need maintenance, like they’re not supposed to break down over time. Or when our relationships hit rough patches when they were so good years earlier. Or when we find ourselves interested in things we never were before.
We’re not static; we’re alive. We’re vibrating and changing and growing in every single moment.
Fixedness is trying to turn ourselves into objects. It’s making us perpetually stuck. Because fixed things don’t move. They don’t grow.
And life is happening all around us. It’s always growing. Our visions are always growing and changing. They’re fluid and alive. Like all relationships.
And we can try to dig our heels further into a ground that’s changing, itself—or we can pick our feet up and move. Unafraid by what changes come up in our life. Trusting ourselves that we’re flexible to roll with whatever happens.
We can always be curious. Like children. Not needing to judge or fear or even create a story around the new things we encounter. Just be curious and experiment. And, if it works for us, great. If it doesn’t, that’s great, too. And we can always revisit it if we ever want because we’re always changing ourselves.
We’re never the same as we were yesterday. We’re alive. We’re geniuses. And the world is never the same either.
So we can open up and embrace the life that’s happening in front of us in this moment. And, in my experience, there’s no faster way to share your genius with the world.
Questions for Reflection:
*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:
Do you ever feel stuck?
— Do you ever get stuck? Do you grip on tightly to some thoughts, beliefs, or ways of being in the world? Do you keep yourself in the same situations or with the same types of people? Do you stubbornly resist what life is showing you sometimes?
— When’s the last time you tried something really outside of your comfort zone? How often do you open yourself to new experiences or topics outside of your normal work and life? How open do you feel to exploring new ways of being in the world?
— What if rigidity and fixedness blocks you from your full genius? What if stepping outside of your comfort zone—even if it seems unrelated—can move that stuckness? What if opening to new experiences is how you train yourself to flow more easily with life?