Step 1: Get Reacquainted with Your Dream
Many times, we stumble through life in survival mode. We may maintain a job that is keeping the bills paid but doesn’t quite spark joy (as Marie Kondo would say), it’s just a means to an end. If you are anything like me then you have had certain jobs that have felt like, “You all better be happy with this 25% I’m giving you because I don’t have the energy to do more!” As arrogant as that sounds, I have felt that way before. My performance at work once suffered because I knew in my heart that I was supposed to be doing something different. Of course, I believe having great work ethic is important but I also believe that it is a waste of time and energy to direct that work ethic into things that do not light you up from the inside out! Gary Vaynerchuck (tech mogul and speaker) says that “Laziness is good!” He meant that when you are lazy doing something that means it’s not something you should be doing. It can keep you from wasting your time and hopefully redirect you into finding that thing you actually WANT to do or desire for yourself. For example, you may have been lazy with doing your math homework and you would procrastinate in completing it but you couldn’t wait to read a book and do your book report for English class because you love reading. Say you absolutely love your job, but do you love your lifestyle? Do you have a passion for travel? Do you desire to become more healthy and fit? In essence, WHAT DO YOU WANT??? Not “how” can you get there? Just starting with your desires.
Sometimes just organizing your goals and objectives is the issue and many times it’s not knowing what your goals or objectives are at all. Maybe there have been moments you have been so riddled with disappointment or doubt that it seems like those dreams could never come to fruition. Well, I am here to tell you to STOP IT! Turn back and pick up that pot of gold you left behind and get reacquainted with it. Pull out that vision board you put away, open up that business plan you have on your desktop labeled “One Day”, pull out those old outfits that you love but aren’t sure if you can wear anymore and look at it. Immerse yourself in the vision.
As a burn survivor, my dream was to overcome the need to hide my scars, to wear the tank tops and v-neck shirts that I would see the other girls wearing when I was in Jr. High. I wanted to not feel self-conscious. In essence, I wanted freedom! Freedom to be ALL of me everywhere I went and not care about how others perceived me. That was my dream for a long time, however, I felt the only way I could achieve those goals was to get rid of my scars. So, I spent years trying to get rid of my scars through surgeries, compression vests, injections and topical acid treatments. It didn’t quite do the trick because they are still here and very prominent.
Freedom…that was my dream…I just didn’t realize (until I was in my mid 20’s) that I could have that freedom without getting rid of my scars. That is when I began to think about what true “freedom” felt like. It felt like being able to wear whatever outfit I wanted whether it showed my scars or not, it felt like being confident when I looked in the mirror, it meant not caring whether someone accepted me for my scars because I accept myself.
Step 2: Embrace Your Scars
I was burned at a year and a half. I had six surgeries between the ages of 2 and 16 and I didn’t look at myself in the mirror until I was 25 because I didn’t want to see my scars. But I knew I could not stay in that place if I wanted to obtain the freedom I so desired! I knew I had to put in work and do something different. Now it took me a while to arrive at that place but when I did could see that it was important for me to step outside of my comfort zone.
It took me approximately six months to look in the mirror and actually be able to look at my scars without feeling pangs of discomfort and disgust. But, I did it. I was then able to show the world my scars when I wore a bathing suit for the first time without a t-shirt at a pool party. I found that by embracing myself, I’d tapped into a level of freedom I’d never experienced before.
*The level of work and commitment that is involved in this process varies from person to person and there are tools and methods that can assist in the process but this is an integral step in the process of turning your scars into your Superpower!
Step 3: Ask Yourself the Right Questions
If you ask a stranger on the street what time it is, they will tell you. If you ask your GPS to tell you how to get to San Diego, it will tell you. If you ask your brain why you have your scars and had to experience the trauma you have faced it will tell you its reasons why. And just like receiving the time from a stranger on the street or directions from GPS either can be a bit “off.” When you ask your brain, “Why me?” It will tell you its reasons and some of which can be fact-based answers and some can be fear-based answers.
In my case, I would ask God “Why did I have to have scars?” “Why did this have to happen to me?” and the answers I received were pretty terrible. Some included, “Because you were the bad kid that pulled the cup of hot coffee onto yourself” or “Because you’re just supposed to be the scarred “weirdo” for the rest of your life,” or “Because God wanted life to be difficult for you…just because.,” etc. These were all very TERRIBLE and UNempowering answers. These “Why me?” questions were unempowering because they were derived from a mindset of lack. In the proposing of these questions, I was stuck in my own paradigm that said my scars are somehow inherently negative or bad. I can see now they are not. They are just not how I thought I should be. They contrasted with what I perceived to be “normal.”
When I began to see that my brain was going to answer any question I gave it then I decided to give it more empowering questions to answer like, “How can my scars serve me?” “How can my scars serve others?” “What good has come from having my scars?”
When I asked those questions, I began to answer them. “I am very empathic and can feel when others are experiencing pain.”, “Because I have needed encouragement, I find that I like to encourage others.” Now I can say, “My scars have allowed me the opportunity to share with others through speaking and coaching messages of self-love and self-empowerment and it feels good to be able to assist others in that way.”
All of these are ways you can truly turn your scars into your superpower! All it takes is a shift in perspective!
*Now, I know these steps are easier said than done so if you would like assistance in your journey then coaching is an option. With coaching, the objective is to get you to realize your dream faster and with the accountability required to stay the course.