I'll admit that one internal story I've had to confront and uproot again and again as a conscious adult is one we might call the "Lone Wolf" story.
It's easy to recognize a Lone Wolf: she is confident, strong, and fiercely independent. She questions authority and resents being told what to do. She needs always to see the big picture; can't stand a meaningless task. Though often surrounded by others, still she feels separate, apart.
When it was time to choose a college, all I wanted was to be anonymous. I wanted a place where I could do whatever I wanted and be judged on performance rather than participation; where I could slink into class after 3 days' absence and have nobody lift an eyebrow. And that's exactly what I got.
Now, a decade later, there is not a single professor at that university who would remember my name.
Entrepreneurship is at once a funny and obvious choice for a Lone Wolf. Obvious because you get to be your own boss and choose your own clients and make your own schedule; funny because everyone who strikes out on such a path has to learn essentially the same things, and the Wolf who is too stubborn to learn from others who have gone before is rather doomed to bushwhack just to the left of the path, where the bushes and brambles are thickest, because she insists on learning everything from scratch.
For me, it hasn't been entirely from scratch -- I've invested in my fair share of online courses. But in recent months, after years of resisting serious mentorship from anyone other than my parents, I found myself saying out loud: "I think I need a coach."
It's no secret that the most successful people habitually invest in themselves and hire coaches to help them continually up their game. It's no secret that the Lone Wolf is only capable of so much.
Then, at a conference last week, an opportunity arose in the form of a coaching program. And, though I'd learned a lot from these coaches over the weekend, still as they were making their offer I thought: "I know what you're doing. I've studied this. I know exactly what you're doing to make me want this." And when they revealed the number, I thought: "No way, José."
But when I left, my thoughts went like so:
"Isn't this exactly what you've been looking for?"
"Didn't you JUST say how much you're craving accountability and a reduced learning curve?"
"Yes it's a big investment, but isn't it true that you can afford it?"
"How much longer are you going to insist on figuring it all out by yourself?"
And yet STILL, there was deep resistance coming from somewhere I didn't fully understand.
So I sat with it. And I asked myself why. And I saw the Lone Wolf looking balefully back at me, but it wasn't even that. It was something else. I knew it was fear; but fear of what?
And then it hit me: My fear was not that I would invest in a coach and fail. My fear was that I would invest and be wildly successful, and that this would somehow change me, or my relationships, or otherwise suck the joy out of my existence.
And I realized that as long as I kept telling myself the Lone Wolf story; as long as I continued eking my way ever-so-methodically through the brambles; then I would be safe from ever having to find out what accelerated growth in my business might do to the rest of my life.
(Even though I know this is a totally irrational fear! Even though I know that wild success is just an amplifier that makes you MORE of who you are! Because that's the thing about fear: it doesn't have to make any sense to have a strong, lethal grip on you.)
So -- long story short -- I said Yes.
And it's one of the most thrilling decisions I've ever made.
Each of us has inner stories that will prevent us from saying YES to the things that will help us grow into the people who are capable of building the lives and the businesses of our dreams -- but only if we let them.
Every day, we make a new decision about whether to let them.