For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike:
I’ve had a lot of timeline shame.
I’d beat myself up that I wasn’t moving forward fast enough, achieving the results that I thought I should have had within a certain window.
I’d look around to everyone around me—all of my amazing friends and colleagues—and I’d compare myself to everyone else. I’d feel pressure to build faster and do more.
And, honestly, more than a few times, it made me want to quit. If I wasn’t building up or achieving results quickly enough, I would get frustrated and want to quit.
And I did. Many times. I quit exercise routines when I wasn’t seeing results fast enough. I quit work initiatives that didn’t pick up steam immediately. I even quit writing blog posts years ago when I didn’t attract enough followers.
I was ashamed about how long things took me. So I’d put tons of pressure on myself. And then get overwhelmed. And quit.
And it would only exacerbate the cycle, making me feel more like a failure.
My momentum was so subtle that, honestly, most of the time it felt like I was standing in place, not moving forward at all.
And I spent far too often starting and quitting things because they didn’t seem to be working. I was endlessly starting over.
And it’s frustrating—as visionaries, it’s frustrating to see a vision so clearly and know we’re meant to do something big and then see little to no momentum. We can feel the potential. But the first few days, weeks, months, or even sometimes years can be slow moving. Slow enough to make us doubt ourselves and want to give up.
It’s taken me a long time to embrace that I’m the king of slow. I move really, really slowly.
I get up each weekday and write this blog—now for nearly six years. And I spent three years pretty much only offering the Sacred Circle before I was ready to introduce other levels. And another two years ironing out the Sacred Mastermind.
I get overwhelmed really, really easily. So now I take things slowly. And I don’t push myself to accomplish everything all at once.
I’ve learned to see a vision and know that it’s real—and also be comfortable holding onto it as long as I want.
I’ve learned to embody that vision slowly. In everyday, thankless tasks. Like exercising or meditating or blogging or recording audio versions of the blog. Things like reading a new book each week or watching recordings of past calls and seeing what I can learn about holding space better.
None of it’s all that glamorous. And I can assure you that I rarely see results in days or weeks. Most of the time, it takes me years to even notice any changes at all.
But I’m slowly embodying it. Because the point for me isn’t to see the vision created out there. It’s to embody the vision fully in here. To the point where its creation in the world is inevitable.
And it’s a long fucking process to bring a vision into your body. It takes a lot of everyday, mundane tasks.
About four or five years ago, when I realized that pushing and striving and shaming myself for being slow wasn’t getting me anywhere, I made a list. A list of the types of things I’d do when I knew I was a genius.
Things that felt impossible and overwhelming at the time. The type of stuff that timeline shame told me I should have already been doing all-at-once. Like hiring a lawyer and accountant, buying a house, getting engaged and married, hiring housecleaners, redesigning my website, going to therapy, hiring team members, buying a new wardrobe, exercising daily—that kind of stuff.
Stuff so far outside of my reach. But I made the list anyway.
And then I just picked the one thing that was within reach. And I did that. The one easy thing. I did it until it stopped scaring me. Until it was second nature. And then I did the next thing. And the next thing.
Because, if I could be the guy who goes to therapy, then maybe I could exercise. And, if I could be the guy to go to therapy and exercise, then maybe I could also buy new clothes. And, if I could do those, then maybe I’d be ready to hire a lawyer. And if I could do all of that, then maybe I’d be ready to bring on support.
And, before I knew it, it compounded. Really, really slowly. Not glamorously. And, from the outside, I doubt anyone even noticed each individual action. I hardly did.
But, years later, I’ve checked off every item on that list. And now I’ve got a new list of deepened means of embodiment.
But I didn’t do it for results. I couldn’t have. Because I would have given up long ago. In fact, there were things I had to scale back because I specifically wasn’t getting the results I wanted. And I couldn’t afford the financial or time investment of all of it.
But that was never the point. Because it wasn’t about transforming my outside world. It was about transforming me.
Seeing myself as a genius. As the person capable of sharing my vision with the world.
Embodying that vision so fully that it’s become internalized. A part of me. Like my intelligence or sense of humor.
And, one day, I might externalize my sense of humor, and people can see it. And that’s great. But it’s no less a part of me in this moment once it’s been internalized.
I embody my vision because I’m a genius, and I deserve to be the person who can create it in the world. And I know I’m a genius, so I’m in no rush to do it today. It’ll happen when it happens. When it’s easy and natural and right.
And, until then, I’ll keep getting up and doing the boring, thankless tasks. Because I deserve to internalize that vision. I deserve to embody it fully.
If we keep focusing only on the results, we miss the whole point. And we just end up comparing ourselves to others, which takes us away from our genius and into envy of theirs.
But, if we start from the baseline that we’re geniuses, and our job isn’t to create a vision so much as just embody it, then we naturally become the person who does that. Without being overwhelmed. Without even trying.
Listen—I’m the king of slow. I move at a snail’s pace. I am constantly paring down what I do so I can keep myself from being overwhelmed. Until things like teaching the Sacred Circle or writing this blog or doing scary things in the Unique Genius Experiment become so easy they’re second nature.
And I’ve let go of the timeline. Because accomplishing something is great. But transforming myself is a hell of a lot more sustainable.
And there’s no timeline to unfold deeper into your genius.
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 get upset you’re not seeing results fast enough?
— Have you ever had “timeline shame”? Have you ever felt like everyone around you is accomplishing things faster than you are? Have you ever quit something because you weren’t seeing results fast enough?
— Have you tried to push yourself to do and achieve more? Do you get overwhelmed when you think about all that needs to be done? Do you put a lot of pressure on yourself?
— What if your job isn’t so much to create a vision as it is to embody it? What if embodiment is less about results and more about the simple, everyday actions that bring that vision into your body? What if the small, thankless tasks begin to compound to make you the person capable of creating that vision in the world?