A "wise" woman I work with speaks in cliches. It's mostly annoying, but it's also fascinating. She does it no matter the topic. Once she asked me if I had a boyfriend, and I told her about Long Distance Guy, who is more a cyber-boyfriend than a real one at this point, and she replied: "People who have long distance relationships live in fear of loving and being loved." Thanks. Fuck you! Are you right? That makes me feel inadequate. Ever since then, I almost fear attempting a conversation with her. Then again, I'm quite fascinated.
Cliche came to my running club on Saturday morning, and ended up in my minute/mile group. In small talk, which she ALWAYS makes big, I told her how impressed I was with our colleague who had just run a marathon without really training. This common act threw her into virtual cliche chaos. "Colleague has run several marathons before," she said. (Enter Cliche #1: Muscle Memory) Once your body has done an incredible feat, it remembers and can do it again. Do you know what Colleague did? (Enter Cliche #2: Visualize) She excercised her brain. She took out the route map every day and memorized it. She knew every mile of that race, every block, and she visualized herself running every step. (enter Cliche #3: It's All in Your Head) The mind is a powerful thing; it can make you or break you."
We went on for some time, running and me receiving cliches interspersed in normal conversation, and I was feeling more or less as if I am not living up to my potential. I burned her after the 3 mile mark, and for the next 3 miles I couldn't help but think that, somewhere along my road from childhood to 33, I had lost a significant amount of confidence.
For a long period of my life I felt I was destined for greatness. As a child I interviewed myself while taking a bath, using Barbie as a microphone, practicing for when I was so great that people wanted to interview me. In fact, I was sure that my big compassion and my little frame were going to end the Cold War. Back then and for several years thereafter, people told me I was a dynamic person. In college, my landlord told me he wished people could invest in people instead of the stock market, because he'd most certainly invest in me. All this fueled my ego and confirmed my belief in my destiny.
Trouble was, I didn't see the path to get there. I didn't even realize I needed a plan, I just assumed success.
A 5 year stint at a Fortune 500 company, in other words Life Itself, began to slowly erase greatness from my mind. F-5 probably started tearing away at it from day one, but hey, just because I'm smart doesn't mean I'm not naive. I thought I was supposed to be an international business powerhouse.
Since F-5, Life Itself has continued to put me through spin cylce. I've had to realize and accept that there are actually people I encounter on this earth who are smarter than me (imagine!), and as much as I can respect that, it also makes my confidence fold at times. After all, if there are people smarter than me, how can I still be exceptional? Every once in a while, Life Itself stops to let the water drain, and a big WTF about where my life and my destiny for greatness meet enters my mind.
Now I work for myself. It's one of the clarities that has come from the pause. My boss is really cool. But you know what she forgot to do? She forgot to visualize the path. She sees the success of the company, she sees how that success will allow her to travel when she's not too busy, she sees the ease of paying the bills. But she forgot to take out the route map every day, and she doesn't know every step it will take to finish. Damn that Cliche. Or bless her, I don't know which.