It’s no secret that the once artsy and bohemian city of San Francisco has become a mecca for technological innovation.
I’m one for embracing change, so I recognize the incredible opportunity, growth and open-mindedness and creativity that abounds. But I can’t help but notice that the vibe of this great city seems increasingly sterile, stressful, competitive, and obsessed with “success” - or at least the appearance of success. Companies, startups, brands, people, leaders, visionaries, entrepreneurs - all trying to "make a name for themselves." (Just try this fun game of introducing yourself as a "Founder" at the bars and see what I mean.)
I have a theory that SF has attracted droves of straight A students, overachievers and perfectionists who are deathly afraid of failure and will work themselves sick to prove their worth to a team of people who also put themselves under a massive about of pressure. (Yes, I fall in this category and consider myself “recovering.”)
As one of my friends put it:
“You come here seeking something, but you get here and realize that SF has lost its free spirit. Now it's just another rat race."
The perception is shared by many - including myself - which is one of the reasons I decided to opt out of Corporate America.
Note: I am NOT suggesting that every free-spirit who is seeking something “more" quit their day jobs. In fact, I believe quite the opposite.
I believe that we need those seeking a life of greater impact and meaning to infiltrate all parts of society and business and take a stand, challenge the status quo, cause a fuss and change what’s not working.
At the same time, it is also worth noting that, depending on your circumstances, sticking around in your organization or industry may or may not be your best move. Because creating change - and being the change - from within the system is a very personal choice.
It's not about doing what you “should” do. It’s about having the courage to be yourself and listen to the call of your heart and soul, which naturally have your best interests in mind.
(More in a future post about why there is now a bonafide movement of women who are opting out instead of leaning in.)
OK - getting back to San Francisco and the undercurrent here that I believe is creating massive amounts of unnecessary stress...
Living here, you can become very accustomed to the splashy flashy wars of who has the biggest and the best… billboard, office spaces, snacks, gadgets, websites, funding, parties and launches.
In other words, it feels like there is a constant energy of striving in the air. You just breathe it in and just kind of get caught up in it.
You start to believe that you’re always behind, not enough, you “should” be somewhere else or further along. This type of thinking that permeates our culture is ultimately one of fear.
Most recently, I started to feel the anxiety around the “launch” of ELEMENTAL. I caught myself thinking, “You need to get this done. You should have had this out by now. You’re too late. They're doing a launch. This isn't BIG enough...”
Luckily I could hear myself and recognize that this is total BS.
But why is it like this?
I believe that fundamentally, one of the core reasons is our collective disconnection from the Feminine.
If the universe is made of lines and circles, where Masculine is linear/mental and the Feminine is circular/felt, our modern culture places way to much value on all things linear, straight, calculated, intellectual thinking, in the mind, point A to point B, a sure thing, strategy, plan, action, timelines, “making it happen,” etc.
This leads to thinking like:
“I don’t have enough time. I need to figure it out. I need to make this happen. I need to get this right.”
And it leaves little room for the circular - flowing, creative, open, a felt sense, in the body, organic, natural, unfolding, mystery, stillness, intuition, “tuning in,” etc.
And when we feel discouraged for “being where we are,” we shut off our creativity and ability to take action. Ultimately it’s not about getting rid of those fearful thoughts, but rather, acknowledging them and knowing how to work with them.
Unused creativity is not benign--it metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgement, sorrow, shame. We are creative beings. We are by nature creative. It gets lost along the way. It gets shamed out of us.
In ELEMENTAL, you will learn how to cultivate your feminine power to move with grace through your own blocks and fears.
Once I got back into my own feminine energy, I was able to stop stressing. I could open up to the possibility that there are greater forces at work in bringing Elemental into the world. I could surrender my mental construct of the “right” timeline or strategy and see how everything was happening exactly as it should - a concept called “divine timing.”
In his Ted Talk, Bill Gross states the single biggest reason why startup succeed is TIMING.
Here’s what I realized:
Everything doesn’t need to be a #bigfuckingdeal. Not even in San Francisco.
In places like New York where you’re a little fish in a big pond, people are creating and putting things out there all the time. Most people won’t even notice what you do, so you might as well just do something.
So if you have some idea, something you want to create - stop worrying about it and do it. Do it because YOU believe in it - not for someone else’s approval or for the perfect stream of Instagram photos. And do it how you want to do it - in a way that feels good. Because people can tell if you are stressed, worried, hurried or fearful. Come back to your heart, to your love for life and the life that flows through you.
So I’m releasing ELEMENTAL just in time to celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday, 3/8. And I’m doing it my way, in my timing, with more love than I could ever imagine.
Here’s my new mantra:
There is beauty in letting things unfold naturally.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, and you are unfolding exactly as you should, in the perfect timing.
And watch the countdown of ELEMENTAL on Instagram for a sneak peek of the program!
I can’t wait to hear from you...