Last week, I had an intake with a man dealing with what he is reluctant to call his second burn-out. He is smart, heartful and gentle. We had a beautiful conversation about what he wanted, what attracted him and worried him about having an intentional psychedelic session.
Right when he was about to leave, the conversation flowed back to the main thing he’d love to do. How he has more experience with it than many people his age, but no ‘proper’ education. Which is part of what holds him back from diving in.
Goodness, do I know that one!
Long story short: I basically have a made-up job, though I know many named and unnamed people have gone before me, and I am more than grateful. (And dedicated to developing their amazing legacy!). It took me a while to claim the title of Trip Guide, or Trip Coach as I dubbed myself for an article in the Dutch Vogue this month ;-).
The theme of ‘not good enough yet’ comes up pretty regularly in my surroundings. For instance, a few weeks ago I visited someone I don’t know really well; we just have one of those ‘I like you and I’m pretty sure you like me, too’ connections. The cork board in her beautiful airy apartment was full of sweet memories and inspiring pictures. And a list of courses to take and books to read (with parallel list of insecurities in her mind).
Goodness, do I know that one, too!
Immediately (upon hearing him talk about this doubt & seeing her list) I thought about a quote that I heard years ago that helped me so much. I’d say a sense of ‘Lift as you climb’ was even pivotal in starting Guided Tripping, because it totally shifts a perfectionist’s perspective. From: ‘I have to be perfect (read: beyond reproach or untouchable) before I claim to be able to help anyone with anything’ to: ‘Maybe I’m depriving people of what I have to offer now, while waiting for a moment that’s never going to come: that of 100% certainty.’
Other inspirations in that same vain, that might strike more of a chord with you (because even the best quotes aren’t perfect for everyone) are:
“And you ask ‘What if I fall?’ O but my darling, ‘What if you fly?’” – Erin Hanson
“Start before you’re ready.”
And, the programmer’s favourite:
“If your release is bug-free, you launched too late.”
Some things are just not plannable. Or preparable. You take an inspiring course and it turns out the people that are attracted to you hardly have any need for your painstakingly explored methodology. You spend years (and a lot of energy and money) becoming certified but your clients hear about you from friends – a much more trustworthy channel anyway. Or getting yourself reimbursable through insurance, and your clients don’t care about this because most of them can pay you out of pocket without blinking, and the ones that can’t also can’t afford the extra package for alternative stuff anyway. You wade through the book and it turns out you already intuitively do 80% of it, making it an exercise in confirmation rather than learning. Or, like me, you read the included assignments with interest and then turn the page to the next chapter without doing them.
Your being and skills are useful for someone. Now. If you’re even just one step ahead, you can help. What if for them, going to your teachers (or waiting until you’re at your teachers’ level) is a bridge too far; has them feel incompetent, stressed, and worlds away from their goal? (Csikszentmihalyi’s famous Flow-model looks for the sweet spot between the difficulty of your goal and the required level of competence to reach it (relative to your existing level).
Who do you talk to that expresses gratitude for your input? What if you saw those conversations as data, beta tests? And those people as models, avatars for your clients? That you could serve, like, right now? (Ok, maybe next week :-P.) What if they came away from those (introductory so: reduced price?) meetings refreshed, more aligned, more alive, joyfully empowered, with perspectives and re-frames they didn’t have access to 90 minutes ago?
Here’s what I know, even without knowing who you are and under what circumstances you’re reading this: You have a valuable offering.
Whether you decide to start charging people or organisations for it, is up to you, but you could. Among other things, you deserve to live without financial worries, so you can, well, live without financial worries, which is just nice. And so you can serve your people more freely than if you are skimped (because having financial troubles makes you less smart and probably also less good at ‘doing you’).
Oh, and especially for the ladies (and any human who also has a feminine side, which I imagine is practically everyone), here’s an extra tidbit.
The masculine (and therefore most widely validated) planning method is to decide on a goal, plan out the steps to get there and then take the steps, regardless of what’s in the way. The feminine method (and therefore anywhere between somewhat to heavily frowned upon, if it’s even recognized as a ‘method’) is to do the thing that feels best right now, what evokes more of you, and from the next place feel into what’s next.
The quality pulling you forward is important. This distinguishes it from short term, conservative, numbing habitual stuff.
The sweet spot here is to dream about something that has you smile and feel excited and have that as your dot on the horizon, which you commit to. But then not to get too hung up on the route to take. Maybe you restrict the choices in each moment to those more or less in the ‘right’ direction, but please *do* have fun along the way and see how small you can make a step to still be satisfied with today. You just keep your feelers out/eyes peeled/mind open for opportunities that will invariably show up to help you move there.
Because maybe the voice in your head saying there are already too many people doing what you want to do, or so many people more qualified than you, or that no-one is holding their breath waiting for what you have to offer, is really a well-meaning internalized protection mechanism. One that’s unfortunately a bit crude and unable to differentiate between actual danger and the discomfort of growing into more of you, your fulfillment and your unique positive impact.
I hope you’ll indulge me here and take a moment to pause and check in how reading this impacts your system: your belly, your chest, your legs and arms, your spine, your thoughts, your emotions, your sense of connection to the world, to your possible futures and the history that got you to where you are now. The concrete, the subtle, the abstract.
What would your future self, the one standing firmly where you can hardly imagine yourself now, want you to know? It’s probably something much better than any of the quotes I bombarded you with above, because it’s yours.
Where have you climbed to already, that you can help others navigate to, because you know where they are now? From there I trust the next step will come into focus, like the landscape in a computer game being generated in more detail as you get closer to it. Asking of yourself that the shrubbery 2 miles away be as ‘in focus’ as the rock right next to you, before you decide to move towards it, is as demanding of your RAM as it is pointless.
I wish you well and am already thrilled for the people you’ll be lifting up, so they in turn might do that for others. They may even overtake you sooner than seems comfortable. And wouldn’t that just be perfect?
And PS: It’s ok to want a bit of support for yourself if any of this resonates with you. It’s not a small thing, but it can be reduced to a lot of small things 😉. Help can come from friends, people who have done something similar with seeming ease, a coach, or maybe from me. But you *have* to ask. Because (yep, cue another quote): the thing that generates trust more than anything, is asking for help; not offering it.
PSII: The man that started this blog off, is taking big steps in showing up and helping his people. Without even doing a session – go figure. And case in point.