Reading today’s title, you might want to throw your wine glass at me, but I assure you, there’s a method to my madness. I found it while considering a speech that many of us have heard, or read, from Nelson Mandela, as written by Marianne Williamson in 1992.

The Story

My internet/social media guru is 30 years younger. They all are, in my world. He’s also awfully bright and has a tendency to drop bombs that light up all my receptor cells. That’s just one reason I love working with him.

We were discussing what happens when, in the middle of a huge life transition, it’s time to Call the Circle. That’s your inner circle. He calls it the Justice League.

Okay, he’s 36. It fits.

But here’s the thing. He pointed out that in the middle of gathering ideas, recommendations, discussing your options, someone is likely to come up with a really good idea.

“And then you panic.”

My god, he is so right.

The Panic Idea

I’ll bet you know exactly what this is like.

When I was in my 30s, the then-BF and I were arguing strenuously in our apartment. He said that I should write a book. I panicked so badly I peeled my watch off my left wrist and buried it in the drywall. Good thing I wasn’t aiming at his brain pan.

I was that panicked. That angry. That terrified.

Fast forward 30 years. I have written two prize-winning books, am a successful journalist, am working on my third book, and have published some 3000 articles in the last 18 months.

He was that right.

The Potential Within

Those who know us, love us, and believe in us, also see what we can be, often in ways we cannot. They admire us and see potential. We often leak our love for something, but don’t give ourselves permission to live that life. Do that work. Write that book, in my case.

When we ask, sometimes our Circle will answer, and that answer will speak to the baby birds in our hearts. Those birds that have waited so long for permission to sing.

Sometimes that is so terrifying – so in our face – that we run at full speed in the other direction.

The Positive Side of Panic  

Panic could be the single best thing that ever happened to you.

Kindly, before you throw your wine, drink some. Then read on, please.

The inimitable Marianne Williamson (who is now running for U.S. President 2020) wrote this paragraph, which was in the inaugural speech by Nelson Mandela:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

When your Circle, your Justice League, hands you your brilliance, it could be the single most terrifying thing in the world.

But if you can hold your horses (and your glass of wine), it might just point you where you belong. In your brilliance. In your Light.

Sometimes, we don’t even begin to come into our own until late in life. For many of us, that can only happen after a series of losses: the kids move out, we lose a spouse or a partner, we are laid off or retire.

However that relative freedom presents, it makes no difference. In the chaos of crisis, the confusion of what next, that next Big Idea may land. And we may indeed panic.

Because we are finally being called to be who we were always meant to be. Are you ready? Can you give yourself permission to be what you really can be?

When were you called to your brilliance? Did you have a moment of terror before stepping into your Next Big Thing? How did you manage that step? What advice might you have to take a deep breath and step into, rather away from, our Promise? Please join the conversation!

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