What happens when you’re squeezed
On August 30, Dr. Wayne Dyer died. During his life, he had a big impact on me. I devoured his books. I watched and re-watched his PBS fund raising programs. A friend of mine (Hi Vicky!) and I made a pilgrimage to NYC to see him speak in person. When he died, I thought, "hmmm…maybe he can hear me. Perhaps I should ask him for something. Some advice or guidance?"
Then, I realized that he didn’t need to give me anything. I was struck with gratitude for what he had already shared. So, I let him go. Thank you, Dr. Dyer.
Then, on Facebook, Dr. Dyer started popping up all over. One post recommended, "I Can See Clearly Now," a book I had not read. He wrote 40 books in his lifetime, and in 2014 he published his last, a memoir. Not long after that, he died.
I got the audible version and listened to it as I went running over the next couple of weeks. After reading 25 chapters, it occurred to me that the book showed up in my life because it was what I was asking for, when I decided not to ask.
In "I Can See Clearly Now," Dr. Dyer writes about pivotal moments of his life. Every chapter begins with the words, “I can see clearly now,” and he reflects on each pivotal event with the insight of current awareness. Over and over, the worst things became the very best things for him.
In chapter nine, he writes about his dad, who abandoned him and his mother and brothers when Wayne was three years old. Wayne spent years in foster homes and in an orphanage while his overwhelmed mother tried to reunite and support her family. Wayne harbored enormous anger and resentment, for years, until he chose to forgive his father.
“I can see clearly now. As much as I wanted my father to show up and love me when I was a young boy, I now value his absence as one of the greatest gifts I’ve been granted. His waywardness and abandonment of me was truly part of my coming here to teach self-reliance, which is one the great themes of my life."
You may not recognize gifts when they initially show up as suffering. Later on, you can see more clearly. There’s a point in the book when Wayne talks about his therapy practice. He realizes that he must let go of that part of his life because he needs the time to devote to writing and speaking. He’s developed easily applied techniques for people to help themselves lead better, happier, freer lives. That doesn’t mean long-term therapy is wrong; he just isn’t the guy to do it. Though many people point out the “obvious” error in his decision — “You’re successful and make a lot of money doing really good work! You must be crazy!” He does what he knows he has to do.
This hit me right between the eyes because I feel that way about my consulting work. I am wrapping up my one-to-one practice to make space for new pursuits. I want to reach as many people as I can with the terrific online tools I’ve developed for business development. And, I am over-the-moon excited about our Zoom Drain franchise company. On a tough day, a day where I feel squeezed, I am tempted to doubt myself. Consulting is lucrative, and I’ve created a lovely business and reputation. Still, if I listen to my heart, I know I’m heading in the right direction. Deep breaths.
So what about you? What is it that you must be, do and share?
Perhaps you want to change direction in your business? A “squeeze” situation can give you the needed push. A contractor friend, Cliff, quit new construction work cold-turkey after building a profitable $7 million company.
He told me, “One of our general contractors announced that he wasn’t going to pay the retainer on a job. We had lost money on the project already, and this was going to put us in a serious cash crunch. Not only that, the general contractor gave me an earful about what a rotten businessperson I was, clearly projecting his own shortcomings. I was fuming. I knew right then that I was done with new construction work. I stopped delivering bids and wrapped up the jobs I had.”
Then, there was a big, empty calendar in front of him. Cliff let dozens of good people go. His intention was to grow his service department, but he was basically starting from scratch. His sales dropped to less than $2 million, and fear gripped him like ice-cold channelocks. There was a space, created by his inspired decision to leave behind a life that no longer suited him. He was brave enough to let that space be, until he could catch up. Until the marketing kicked in and the phone started ringing.
“There were some scary moments,” Cliff told me. “I could close my business. I could get a job working for someone else, but I was not going backwards. Something in me knew that I could be successful as a service contractor. I kept putting one foot in front of the other.”
Cliff has now surpassed the $7 million mark with his service company. Though a humble guy, he has the quiet confidence of a man who followed his heart, in spite of many logical reasons not to. The seemingly worst thing became the best thing.
“I can hardly believe I’m saying it now, but the tough times brought out something in me that I didn’t know existed. I’m grateful that I went through that hell.”
Dr. Dyer reminds us that, if you feel you must do something, then you must do it. Let the space develop between what was and what is on its way. And trust that you’ll find whatever it is that you most need in that space.
I’ve had many wonderful mentors in my life. Dr. Dyer is one. How interesting that he died shortly after he wrote his autobiography. He was not one who “died with his music in him.” It’s almost as if he had nothing left to do … he did everything he needed to.
So what do you, and I, have left to do before we go? We’ll know it as we feel it. When we feel it, we must do it. Even if it’s scary. Even if others think we’re nuts. Even if we don’t know how.
I can see that clearly now.
“When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out — because that’s what’s inside. When you are squeezed, what comes out is what is inside.” —Wayne Dyer
Ellen Rohr provides “in the trenches” insight that business owners can relate to. Comments? Questions? A different view? Reach her at 417-753-1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the Bare Bones Biz community, at www.ellenrohr.com, for free tips, problem-solving webinars, money-making tools, and lots of love.