The Silver Bullet
The Silver Bullet is my Holy Grail. I’ve been searching for it for years now. I’d like to pretend it started when we started this business, but I think I’ve always been on the hunt one way or another for The Thing that will Change Everything. Where is the Key that Unlocks It All? What do They know that I don’t?
What am I missing?
With Remarkable Women (and back in the beginning, Somebody Inside), it started with watching businesses around me seemingly doing better than ours. Wondering what they knew that I didn’t.
Knowing that if I could only find it, that I could have access to the deep success they are apparently experiencing. Because I am smart, I make things happen. I just need the missing ingredient.
For a long time, all of my learning was centred around the silver bullet. Finding that single brilliant thing that would launch our business like a rocket into the sky.
(After all, our work is about changing the world. It’s important that we do it today. The World is waiting for the change we bring.)
I invested in courses, implemented strategies, learned voraciously and aggressively. Taking it all in, doing what They said I needed to do.
Of course, in reality, we were doing pretty well, but we weren’t even close to a business that ran on its own brilliance, if you know what I mean.
Pretty well simply wasn’t cutting it when I could SEE that there were people who knew another way. I just needed to knuckle down and work harder to find it.
It can’t be that.
It took a long time for me to realise that I had held the Silver Bullet and many of its friends in my hands more times than I could tell you.
I had discarded it for not being shiny enough, quick enough, smart enough. It simply could not possibly be that.
But now I know what it is, and some of its really close friends, I wanted to be sure to bring it to you today. So that you can have it too.
I bring it knowing that it’s not very pretty, and it might not feel like a win and you probably will get to the sentence where I share it and experience a giant anti-climax of ‘NOOOOOO, it can’t be that!’, but I guarantee you that it has the power to change everything if only you allow it to. With it, you can change the World.
There are clues everywhere if you look for them. The problem is, because it doesn’t look the way we want it to, most of us are ignoring them too.
I heard it from wise voices and found it in the writings of wise teachers. But I knew they were telling lies because it couldn’t be true. The World was showing me thousands of people who had found another, better way.
One day, my coach sent me an article he had written.
I can’t remember what was in it, but I’ve never forgotten the title.
‘How I became an overnight success. In 45 years’.
There it is.
You see, the silver bullet is Time. As we teach our Remarkable Leadership students every year, there are no impossible goals. Only impossible timescales.
And now is the Time to get that into our bones.
Our desire to go faster is brilliant, except when it has us make compromises that make us miserable.
It’s brilliant, except when it has us burn out because we tried to go too quickly.
It’s brilliant, except when it has us give up because we used up everything we had in the first round of many and we forgot to create a place to refuel.
Give yourself time to create your remarkable life and your remarkable impact.
We’ve become so obsessed with time being precious that we’re losing it anyway, in our desire to do all the things so fast before time runs out. In fact, I would argue our desire for speed has us move time even faster, because to a greater extent than we might think, time is malleable (try holding a plank for 60 seconds, or eating an ice cream for the same amount of time, you’re going to have a very different experience) and in pushing faster, things ARE faster.
Faster is not the formula. A hard thing for a woman who runs at a million miles an hour to digest.
The Toxic Affects of Comparison
From today, give up ever participating in The Comparison Game where you look at what others are doing and find yourselves coming short. They are showing you their outsides and not their insides. You are not even comparing like for like.
More importantly than that, there is only one outcome in the Comparison Game. Losing. You will always find someone better than you wherever you look, in some facet or another. And you are playing a bigger game than that. This isn’t about your ego, and who has the most followers, the most money, the biggest title. It’s about showing up in service. It’s about making change that matters.
Time’s best friends are Experimentation, Honouring your Gifts and Respecting your Inner Wisdom.
When we Experiment, we celebrate the failures as much as the successes, knowing that we have learned vital new things in this mission to make a difference. With experimentation, we accept that we are testing something out, seeing what happens, staying curious about the surprises that we didn’t even expect to uncover. We commit to a life of flexibility and agility. One where we respond to each new knowing and adapt accordingly.
Just because we know where we’re going, doesn’t mean we know how to get there.
Our experiments reveal more of the path.
When we Honour our Gifts, we create a path we WANT to be on for a long time, a mission we are hooked on staying with. Because not only are we loving the output, we are loving the time we spend creating it. We can’t imagine doing anything else, because this thing we are creating, this idea we are pursuing, OUR WAY, is where we get our fuel, not where we deplete it.
When we Respect our Inner Wisdom instead of responding to our impulses, we recognise that very few things are urgent or indeed so critical that they must be done in this exact moment, sacrificing our sanity, our health and our relationships in the process.
We realise we do in fact have time to reflect, to seek counsel, to listen to the voice inside us that says, ‘this is not an emergency, catch your breath first’.
A rocket takes 80% of its fuel to simply get off the ground.
But once it is in orbit, it is uncovering new territories and opening our eyes to things we have never seen or known before. It is literally experiencing magic, beyond that which most of us can imagine.
I have no idea where you are in establishing what you are here for, making your mark with your leadership in the world, or even starting or growing your business. I do know that it takes time to craft and shape a thing that matters and that after getting started, the next most important thing is to Stay. And to Stay with what we are creating, it has to be something we love and are excited by. It has to be something that doesn’t get adapted and compromised each time we need to pay our rent or the bills. We have to get creative so that we can be in it for as long as it takes.
And if it’s something that fuels our very bones, taking a long time to make it could very well turn out to be the best thing in the World.
So create something you can fall in love with for the long run, so that you get to stay with this dream that you know matters in the World.
Fall in love with the creating and not the creation.
From there, so much more is possible.
We need the thing you know matters. Whatever it is. Because we need a world where more women step into full expression of their many gifts instead of squeezing themselves into shapes they would rather not. And even though it doesn’t always feel like it, we’d rather wait to see it thrive than watch it burn out because it simply didn’t have the space to grow.
What you are doing matters. And so do you. Don’t trade one for the other. Allow them to be in harmony with each other. That’s where the magic is.
From today, fall in love with Time. Stick with the things that matter to you. Creating the difference you long for is going to take a lifetime if you let it. Even if it doesn’t look the way you think it will today.
And what a remarkable story that will be.
Create excitedly and courageously.
Stick with it.
This is going to take time. Almost certainly longer than you think.
So, equip yourself for the long ride and walk a path you are in love with. We’re waiting patiently, excitedly and with more than a little pride for your brilliant contribution to our World.
(With thanks to the Aster Inc Social Incubator Team and their Social Enterprise Graduates who inspired a shorter version of this as their graduation speech. Keep fuelling your rockets!)