Harvey, a client of mine for over four years, lives and works in LA in the television industry. Brilliant, creative and kind, he makes everyone feel appreciated by his character and presence. Harvey has finally arrived at his dream. Not only does he have the dream job for himself, heâs also getting paid what heâs worth. He is in the groove!
Harvey grew up in the bible belt of Texas. Allowing himself to be worthy of a salary that reflects all of what he brings to his career was a huge undertaking since it went against the primary tenets that money is evil, and that we shouldnât want material comforts. The underlying conflict between being spiritual and making enough money to thrive has been an underpinning of Harveyâs financial demise for all of his adult life. Now, in his mid-forties, heâs taken the steps required to receive the full benefits and reap the rewards of all he brings to his work life. Success!
This all within the past two months; so Harvey has been adjusting to a whole new reality â money, prestige, a new BMW motorcycle and more. And â¦
What I love about Harvey is that he is very much awake when it comes to seeing that having arrived at his desired destination doesnât mean the journey is over; he knows that in many ways, a new journey has just begun.
I was unsure what would show up in this coaching conversation once Harvey fully owned his worth, asked for a raise, got it and so much more. What did arise had me breathe a sigh of relief; for what Harvey brought to light was the realization that the money, the position and the motorcycle does not bring an individual to a sense of fulfillment but for just a few brief ecstatic moments.
To see that the striving for more money, prestige and power as just that, takes a breaking through of a reality that we believe to be the only reality. To see the striving as a spiritual practice changes the attachment to the outcome to something that is accumulative and builds something greater over time; we find ourselves with more wisdom, clarity and strength.
Itâs not the destination but the journey
Harvey certainly wanted to enjoy the increase in income, prestige and position, as we all do; but the significance was what he had to shift in himself in order to bring this level of success to fruition. He had to dig deep beyond bible belt beliefs and family circumstances in order to truly honor his gifts. It required him to recognize all of what he brings to the workplace â just as heâs always wanted and provided for others. He had to reframe spiritual tenets to see that itâs not about the money or about worthiness; itâs about breaking through belief systems that donât serve oneâs awakening. He had to think outside the box of a very seductive context in order to realize himself more fully.
Now that he has come to this part of the journey he asks: âWhat do I have to do to feel comfort and security? I donât see it as a possibility for myself.â
I wanted to ask: âWhy did you get this raise and position if it wasnât for the comfort and security that comes along with it?â It wasnât a question to be asked out loud, not yet, because to Harvey, there was so much more going on.
Up until this moment, the edge of Harveyâs comfort zone had been receiving equal payment for the value that he brings to his work. Now that he has expanded his comfort zone to include this he is now, once again on the edge of his comfort zone â how do I allow myself to actually enjoy my life, experiencing the comfort and security Iâve created for myself. This is a whole new world he is opening up to, because he was able to get the value/worth dilemma complete â at least to this point.
Thereâs a point where one realizes that there is no end or finish line. Those who pretend this is so tend to mask the physical discomforts that arise when living inside a box that will consistently feel smaller and smaller. Whatâs the point if we never arrive at our final destination â we never get to fully reap the rewards of our labor? Why not just settle for less â less stress, less effort, less personal abuse â¦?
The questions lead us to ask: What is success? What is fulfillment? Whatâs it all about? If itâs not about stuff and winning, then whatâs worth the effort?
For many people, especially men, the crisis in the mid-life crisis means coming to the edge of oneâs reality, peering over, and saying âthereâs nothing there!â Illnesses, job loss, collapses of the economy all bring us to these same moments of realization that reveal thereâs no security, thereâs no money, thereâs only nothing! Whatâs that about?
Go forward â thereâs nothing.
Stop - and thereâs nothing.
The reason so many of us choose to not choose is because, whatever dilemma we face, choosing to choose brings us to the edge of our comfort zones. It requires that we be uncomfortable, that we be open to seeing ourselves and our reality different and that we be willing to explore and experiment with the countless facets of the achievement weâve come to be, already, in this life. The edge of nothing is the same edge as thing. The practice of walking both sides of this edge, fearlessly, well, itâs pretty darn scary.
Harvey has gone forward, found that itâs not about the money, about winning or about things. Heâs now onto his next big adventure, knowing that whatever he finds, it wonât be about that either. Fortunately he sees the humor in it all and we both laugh our heads off. Being in business is a very fun venture!
This article is contributed by Dr. Rosie Kuhn, founder of the Paradigm Shifts Coaching Group, author of Self-Empowerment 101, and creator and facilitator of the Transformational Coaching Training Program. She is a life and business coach to individuals, corporations and executives.