The Birth of The Glow Effect
One thing I knew for sure: something was off. I was bleak, bitter even, causing people to run in the other direction. At twenty-seven years old, I was ready to retire. I dreaded the thought of starting over. This can’t be all there is, I thought, so I sought out mentors and allies for guidance. I was told in many different ways to stay the course in this role, learn the required lessons, and earn enough to have a foundation for future endeavours. Apparently, I would know when it was time to go.
On Friday, April 19, 2013, when my alarm went off, the first thing I did was cry. Paradoxically, I was crying because I was crying: I had a fully functioning body and mind, which afforded me amazing opportunities, yet I was paralyzed by fear, self-doubt, and guilt. Crying for crying was unacceptable. I refused to spend my life like that. Those tears were the call to action I needed to recreate my life. It was time to take responsibility for change. I no longer could blame anyone else for my privileged misery. I could no longer wait for someone else to make my life better. I had to be my own hero.
I never sought out “glow.” I never aspired to be a business owner, leader, or writer. I aspired to climb the next rung on the “success ladder.” That success ladder wasn’t one that I built. The infamous “they,” the ever elusive “them,” built that ladder. I was following “their” lead. Growth, glow, and connection were not on the ladder. “Survival” was the name of the game, and a huge part of me didn’t want to play.
I was moving up that ladder quickly. I had recently finished law school and was a first-year associate at one of Chicago’s top family law firms. I had my own office (awesome, despite the lack of windows), a killer wardrobe, gorgeous apartment, and benefits galore. Meanwhile, I was more fearful than ever. It was a proven path—there must be some happy lawyers, right? All I needed was to hit the next rung, gain another few letters after my name or before (i.e. “Mrs.”), make more money, and then I’d feel fulfilled, right?
I came to a certain point on the ladder where all the “when-I-have-more- ____________________ (fill in: money, things, love)” statements no longer applied. On the surface, I had acquired all the trappings of success, but when you looked deeper, there was emptiness. Very little of this life reflected me. Granted, I didn’t quite understand who I was at this point, but I knew that this wasn’t it. Living someone else’s version of success manifested as profound feelings of inadequacy, weekly illnesses and ailments, constant bitchiness, hating myself, overwhelm, exhaustion, feeling stuck, and yearning for other people’s lives, just to name a few. That energy transferred onto the people with whom I came into contact. I craved other’s approval because self-satisfaction wasn’t present. As I sat in my office staring out at the wall, drowning in fear that I would be here for the next five to ten years, I waited for someone, anyone, to rescue me from my misery.
Whether we are aware or not, we ask to be saved quite frequently. We find comfort in the role of the victim: “He did that to me,” “It is her fault that I am this way,” “If only that occurred, I’d be happy.” By projecting blame for our internal state, we’re saying that there is something that must happen out there to save us from in here. Indecisiveness, self-doubt, and fear are a few examples that something out there is affecting us internally. In order to glow, we must go inward. Glowing means taking responsibility for your reality by looking inward first.
When I took responsibility for my life, the result was not subtle, and the effect was not limited to me. Every person in my life breathed a sigh of relief when I began anew. I received frequent comments like, “You seem lighter,” “Wow, I’m inspired just talking to you,” and “You glow.” I had a surge of energy, excitement, and radiance that I can’t fake. More importantly, as I transformed my life, I gave many people implied permission to own their unique desires, skills, and versions of success.
Some people applaud my courage in leaping off the survival-driven ladder; some people think I’m an idiot. The truth is that the fear of staying in lawyerly life finally outweighed the fear of leaving. Instead of panicking about what I didn’t have (a business degree, networking connections, or start-up income), I took my strengths, passions, and willingness to learn and built my version of success. Tony Robbins says it best, “The quality of your life is directly proportional to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably deal with.” Starting a business, living a life based on principles of love and compassion rather than money, completely recreating my life, still freaks me out. When I took responsibility for my life and went inward to discover success on my terms, the universe stepped up to support me. With glow, I attracted brilliant people to assist in the journey: website designers, clients, marketing gurus, spiritual leaders, patent attorneys, copyeditors, inspiring friends, business coaches, and so on. I didn’t even know to envision of half of these needs, but the universe brought them my way. The fear hasn’t gone away, but by pursuing success on my terms, my response to uncertainty transformed. The result: no longer do I live small, plagued by self-doubt. Now I live big, free and powerfully.
Throughout my education, volunteer work abroad, business development, and coaching, I studied the drive to effect transformation in both the collective and individual realms. I worked with movements in South Africa, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United States in efforts to raise people up for independence, confidence, equality, love, and community. Yet, such collective movements were just that: an effort. They were a fight, dark, forceful, and manipulative. Many beautiful and eager souls were defeated from attacking darkness with darkness, anger, resentment, litigating—essentially more darkness. On an individual level, without a transformation of perspective, forcing yourself to change or do something different leaves you fatigued. You could read every self-help, weight loss, and efficiency book on the market, but if you’re still trying to do better, different, or more/less you’re still related to something in the past. You’re still operating from a limited worldview. Fighting such darkness with darkness results in fear of failure, starting things but not finishing them, co-dependence, feeling like you don’t deserve things to work, stagnancy, doing the bare minimum to avoid disappointment, paralyzing indecisiveness, and the list goes on. Sound familiar? The Glow Effect is a fundamental personal and societal shift of consciousness. It’s a vessel for both affecting and being the change we want to see in the world.
When we’re physically injured, our body will compensate for the weakest part. It will carry the brunt in order to endure, so much so we don’t even notice that the rest of us is knotted up and fatigued. We can limp along for years with aching hearts, failed potential, and irritations, just mobile enough to survive the day-to-day. When we’re fatigued, we tend to make weak decisions. We compromise; not the loving-amenable kind of compromise, but the I’ll-stay-small kind of compromise. It’s the kind where self-worth seeps out with statements like, “I don’t deserve what I want,” “I should be more accommodating,” “I should be more reasonable/logical,” or my favorite glow-killer, “This is as good as it gets.”
These statements of a dimmed soul keep you from making powerful decisions. Glowing, alternatively, requires tenacity and faith. You must do the internal work, like meditation, journaling, and getting out of your comfort zone, but you also must keep your spirits high to manifest your vision. It’s tough to be radiant when you’re fatigued. You glow by daring to go inward. Dare to feel, speak, and act your version of success and joy. As a result, your glow brightens. By connecting and living from your center, you can touch, move, and inspire others to confront their own fears, to seek their version of success and joy. This is what I call “The Glow Effect,” when your light simultaneously creates AND inspires more light in the world. It is both the name of this transformative movement and the process through which you can create radical success and profound joy on your own terms…
Want to read more? This is taken directly from The Glow Effect book! Check it out!
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