Personal Inventory

In about 4 hours I’m walking into a room of about 50 people and sharing what used to be my deepest dark secrets. Today they’re just facts about my life experiences. I’m still a bit nervous (understatement) because public speaking to more than 2 or 3 people is a new experience for me. Any time we do something for the first time, it’s scary right?

I’m more afraid that I’m going to be all over the place because I don’t script anything. I just let it flow from my heart and trust that a power greater than me will work with me and help me deliver the message I’m supposed to. Who knows, maybe that message will be that you should prepare a little better before you speak to people, Greg.

I remember the first time I was called upon in 12 steps to get vulnerable and share my story. It was probably the hardest thing I ever did. I started by sharing little bits and pieces. Things that were a little scary but didn’t make me completely exposed and vulnerable.

Then it got tougher when I came across the 4th step. The 4th step asked me to do a thorough inventory of my life. This shit was getting real now. I had so many secrets that I was ashamed of. I remember as I started writing the stuff down all I could think about was “In the 5th step you’re going to have to share all this shit with somebody when you’re done.”

I guess that’s why it took me over a year to complete it. I had to pick the exact right person to share this stuff with.

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I mean, this is some real shameful stuff and if it gets out there to the wrong people I’ll have to go crawl in a hole somewhere and die. As I write this I’m laughing out loud because it just seems so ridiculous today. I wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed because of the facts of my life; I was ashamed because of my interpretation of them.

My interpretation came from these crazy thoughts and beliefs that I learned a long time ago and they didn’t even apply in my life today. They weren’t real. They were just defense mechanisms that I had created a long time ago when they served some purpose in my life. At one time in my childhood I learned that there were things called family secrets that weren’t meant to be shared with the world and if I did they could cause me pain.

I don’t even remember if I ever knew what that meant but I believed it because the person who taught it to me was someone who I respected and wanted to be like (a mentor). That’s what I do; if I see someone who has something I want, I try to find out how they got it and apply it to my own life. That’s how we all learn, right? At least that’s what works for me.  

The thing is this only works if we’re pretty clear on what it is that we want. When I was young I didn’t really know what I wanted because I had no reference point so I relied heavily on others to guide me toward what was best for me.  The problem was, as I got older and developed my own reference point I still kept letting others guide me down their path…a path that no longer was mine.

Today I continue to do those inventories every 6 months because that allows me to analyze what things are working for me and what isn’t. With a clear focus on my life’s purpose and the goals required to fulfill that purpose I’m able to correct my course along the way and get rid of some the old stuff (beliefs) that I no longer need because it’s slowing me down.

What are some of the old beliefs you have that no longer serve you in your life?

Inventory your bag, get rid of the stuff that’s weighing you down, and then SOAR!