It was Fall, 2015. I’d been making a real effort to more clearly identify my list of “needs and wants.” I finally had figured out why I needed to make this list. It wasn’t easy. My first attempt got an F from my counselor: Apparently “wanting my loved ones to be healthy and happy” didn’t quality as a need or a want for ME. (Who knew?!)
At the end of the calendar year I had finally assembled my starter list. Still, I wasn’t sure I actually had done it right. It takes a lot of work, I've discovered, to dispel the notion of having wants and needs as being selfish. Click To Tweet Instilled at a young age by well-meaning parents from a very different generation, it took a very persistent counsellor and a strong support network of friends and family to encourage me past the front gate of self-worthiness. It was new for me to see a difference between self care and selfishness.
So I entered the New Year armed with this list. It included items like Do less admin work and more creative work; Live where I want to, and Significantly reduce the company’s debt. Things like that. I was interested to note that they were all big things; not material things like wanting a new scarf, or a trip to the islands (though I suppose if I got far enough down the list, those things might’ve ended up on it, too). The 10 or so items on the list spanned all areas of my life.
Having just started my project of experimenting with asking and receiving, I decided to take a risk and ask the minority partner in my business if he would be willing to help address any of the items on the list. In other words, I decided to ask for help.
The shoe drops
I had no expectations of any particular outcome, so I was very surprised to have him respond positively. In fact, he said, “I think I can help with a lot of these.” He went on to enumerate, and my eyes got wider. Then came the dropping of the proverbial other shoe…
“There’s a catch,” he said. “If I do this for you, make this additional investment of resources and take on these responsibilities, you’re going to have to be willing to give something up.”
That something turned out to be control of my company. Six years old at the time, it was my baby. Sure I’d had my challenges, learning experiences and even nightmares, but this…? How could I consider doing this? Yes, the offer seemed good–the chance to achieve some of my needs and wants that otherwise might take years–but still. Was it a leap I should take? It was a action that there would be no reversing later.
This was a decision that would require the classic Canadian walk in the snow. January in Saskatchewan is deserving of the moniker Great White North. It’s not just cold, it’s damned cold. And it’s generally pretty white. This year was no exception. It was about -25 degrees Celsius. It was crisp, clear and sunny. Not a hint of a breeze.
I bundled up, took a deep breath and headed out of the 70 degrees Fahrenheit controlled comfort of the house. I walked the few short blocks to the edge of the South Saskatchewan River. I walked along the river for half an hour, pondering my options.
I had started and built my company, and though I’d experienced many challenges, I was also proud of its accomplishments. And, it was mine. How would I determine if it was the right choice to give up control? Thoughts swirled, and after an hour I found myself no closer to a definitive answer.
I felt the full weight of the decision heavy on my shoulders and in my heart. Frustrated with my inability to come to a conclusion, I stopped at a viewpoint and gazed out across the river, away from the city, toward the south.
I remember the moment where I finally gave up, and asked (again) for help, silently, in my mind. And as I stood there, instead of an answer came a question. The utter elegant simplicity of the question stunned me. Because I instantly knew the answer. It was no.
An answer in a question
The question: Was keeping control of your company on your list of needs and wants?
I spun around in a circle, like, whut thu? I looked around, but of course there was nobody there but me and the voice in my head.
I’d identified the most important needs and want in my life, and keeping control of my business was simply not. on. that. list. As this clarity emerged, I had a most unanticipated reaction. I started to laugh. And laugh and laugh. The more I laughed, the lighter I felt. As the weight lifted from my shoulders and heart, I realized a few things, for which I immediately gave thanks and added to the Pink Notebook as research findings:
- My issue was resolved only with help from my Higher Power. I tried, bless me, but the answer just wouldn’t come. And the more I tried to access it, the further away I drifted from my core. I got confused, frustrated, and angry.
- My help didn’t come until I asked for it. Let’s face it: I wasn’t a believer. I had no memorable experience of asking for this kind of help, and getting it. Trusting (not my strong suit) was the first step. Accepting, surrendering, believing: having faith.
- Help came not in the form of an answer but a question. My HP isn’t an enabling co-dependent like me, so didn’t try to fix me, or solve my problem. A question was placed on my heart, because my HP knew that only I knew the answer. I had it inside me all the time; I just needed help to access my truest self.
- Giving up control of my company was only a metaphor. Cue the choir of heavenly voices singing Hal-le-LU-jah! I’m cute, but a little slow. This felt like learning upon learning; like small, gentle waves of water on a beach as the tide comes in. As time passes, the waves go a little further up the beach each time until eventually the waterline reaches to its fullest extent before receding again. The aha! moments don’t all necessarily come at once.
I’ve known for awhile that giving up control in general is hard for me, but now understanding how self-defeating that inability actually was, well that was (as The Donald would say) a HUGE result. The actual act of giving up control of something I might have assumed was so important to me was the two-by-four on the head my HP used. Without surrendering, giving up that control, I could never have experienced what happens when I really do let go and let God.
I gave my response to my partner, we created a go-forward plan and we moved on. Regardless of what the future might bring, it was the right decision in that moment.
Ask and you will receive,
Many more additions to the Pink Notebook were to be made as the experimental year continued…
Sign up to receive notices of future posts and opportunities to share your stories of asking and receiving.