We all now the old adage: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. A large group of women I know substitute “add vodka and ice” for “make lemonade.” Potato, poTAHto. What that’s really saying is “make the best of your situation.” I can’t really argue with that logic, except when it’s completely ass backward. More on that later…
How many of you know someone who’s had a career doing something they’re good at, but don’t love? Maybe it’s you. It’s certainly me. I’ve been a working musician for over 25 years, and I sort of like it, but I don’t love it. I’ve never loved it. It’s just something I happen to be good at, it’s made me enough money to make a living doing it, but it doesn’t inspire me or drive me to explore my creativity. It’s become my cubicle. It sucks. Lots.
So, what to do? I suppose this is the “If life gives you lemons” moment. When we find ourselves stagnating in our job, or our relationship, we need to make the best of it, right? WRONG! This is when the “…make lemonade” logic and I part ways. Sure, there’s a period of time when you make lemonade, when you make do with where you are, but only long enough that you figure out what else is on the horizon, what else you might do that will inspire you or drive your creativity or fill your soul. I’ve found that in the times I feel most stuck are the times when I’ve needed a change the most. We don’t get that stuck feeling when we’re fulfilled in our career or our relationships.
How do we get ourselves out of LemonadeLand, you ask? HARD FUCKING WORK. I’m in the crux of it right this second, so I can speak from the heart on this one. There are what seem to be too many hurdles to overcome, too many variables, too many uncertainties. “How do I start doing what I love to do? Can I do it without having a degree or certification? How will I find clients? Why would anyone listen to what I have to say? How am I going to make money doing this?” Then I realized something…
…I’m being a martyr!
Poor me. I have soooo many options, and sooooo many goals and aspirations, whatever shall I do??? Ugh! Snap out of it! I am woefully, and annoyingly, talking myself out of finding answers by making it about “poor me who doesn’t know WHERE to begin” instead of about “Nicki Denofrio, Bringer of Truths and Destroyer of Wimpiness!” (Monikers given care of my dear friend Sheila Kerwin). Sure, I’m the one who needs to change, and that’s the key, isn’t it? Change. But it’s not just change, right? It’s a specific type of change, and we all know what my favorite version of change is:
I just need to look through a different lens! Instead of asking “How do I start?” we need to ask “Who do I talk to about starting this?” Finding someone in the field into which you wish to break helps answer not only that question, but also many of the consequent questions (do I need a degree? how to build a clientele? how to hone my message to the right audience?). The money will follow once you are on the right path and the hard work gets put in 24/7.
I’m at the very beginning phase of getting out of the music business and into the world of life coaching/public speaking. I’ve dabbled, and have had support from some amazing people who are a continual inspiration (and kick in the teeth) to persevere when I doubt myself. It’s in those times when we need to trust our gut and go for it. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? We fail? So what! Failing one time does NOT a failure make! Failing to get our ass back up, tweak the weak spots, and try again is a failure.
I firmly believe we are all here for a reason. That reason is buried inside all of us. Some don’t have to dig very far to unearth their reason for being; others have to dig deeper and go through some more dirt and worms, but it’s in there.
What is buried under the dirt and worms in your soul? To get to it, do you need a shovel or a backhoe? Who do you know who can help point you in the right direction, or help you dig? What can you do with the gift you’ve been given to make your life, or others’ lives, more meaningful?
So, the next time life hands you lemons, it may just be a reminder that you really wanted to make coffee in the first place, and not lemonade.