Archives For success

The Sizzle vs the Steak

Natalie —  March 25, 2014 — 1 Comment

I was talking to my brother recently about how much energy can be spent on possibilities that never come to fruition. He used a phrase that hit home when he said, “I don’t want to waste my time being sold on the sizzle. I want to be eating the steak.” Meaning, I want to spend my energy on what is real in the present, rather than chasing a future promise.

We’ve been sold on the sizzle of having our life purpose magically bestowed on us before birth. Once we figure out what our purpose is life will be a breeze.  But there’s a catch, we have to figure it out or we’ve failed.

This looks so easy for those in the limelight (athletes, actors, musicians, politicians). We’ve given them the power of our interest because they seem to have figured out their life purpose, as they are succeeding in making money doing what they enjoy, or so it seems.  Yet we also love to watch their failures to reassure ourselves that even the famous aren’t perfect and have to suffer.

The truth is that we get to choose our purpose (the steak). It’s not pre-destined.  When we struggle to “figure it out,” it’s because we believe the lie of the sizzle. We are looking for an answer outside of our Self. Seeking a sense of fulfillment from a source out in the future depletes our energy. The analytical-mind has kicked-in to drive us to find an answer when we need to be listening to our intuitive-mind for guidance.

The analytical-mind references past information and data to help us make decisions. Our intuitive-mind allows us to read the present and see what we are a “yes” to or a “no” to.  Our intuitive mind has access to our entire Being’s wisdom and assists us in recognizing the steak versus chasing the sizzle.

We’ve often defined purpose as having a passion for something.  For me writing is a passion, it gives my life meaning and yet it’s not my career nor is it my only pleasure. In fact, often I find it hard to write, to find the words to express what I feel inside that I want to share with others.  But once I do, it is such a wonderful sensation of alignment with my Self.  The dance between me and words is not a handshake that results in a book deal and assignment to complete a task that I get paid for, defining some measure of success. It’s a bridge that connects the islands of my heart, head, body and soul; then extends that connection to invite others to self-reflect or gain a deeper understanding.

I used to hold tight to words that I’d written, if they didn’t fit in the piece I was crafting, I felt I needed to save them for later lest I not be able to create them again. Now I take pleasure in deleting a sentence that doesn’t work. I trust that I’ll find a new way to express the sentiment in the right context when the time comes. I’m not hanging on to the sizzle of possibility but taking a bite out of the steak in front of me. Saying what needs to be said right now!

Creating anything in our life requires taking steps that are not an end in and of them self.  Maybe that seems like chasing the sizzle, but when we are truly present for the moment rather than putting our energy out in the future, we are eating the steak every day while we create our lives.

How many times have you tried something that didn’t work out the way you thought it would? A relationship, job, diet, investment, project or goal that failed. We assume that whatever we tried was a failure because it didn’t end with results that we had in mind when we started.  This translates into distrust of our intuition. 

When we say yes to something and head down the path, our yes quickly becomes defined by our projections of how it is supposed to turn out or take form.  It feels good to have a plan and move toward what feels purposeful, a direction that will help us achieve something greater than we are now.

The issue with most failed plans is that somewhere along the way a new piece of information showed up, in our environment or in our intuitive awareness, but we ignored it because we were already climbing the mountain and we wanted to summit the peak.  We had to summit the peak because it was our destination, and by god we were going to do it, even if there was ice forming on our path or lightening striking at higher elevations.  This is commitment and discipline, right?

We had such an attachment to the end result that we couldn’t give up or change our plan.  We were unwilling to stop and say, “Hey this journey has been fun, but I see that it’s time to put it on hold, take a different trail, or go back down to lower ground and try it again another day.”  We got fixated on the summit and forgot to be flexible.

It’s in our attachment to the outcome that we lose perspective on why we are putting one foot in front of the other.  Are we walking the trail without noticing the beauty around us, our head filled with future plans? 

True success is born from staying in-tune with what we are experiencing this very moment.  Are we self-critical, focused on what we are not doing or wish we had done?  Are we afraid of what others will think if we do not achieve what looks like success?  Are we so attached to making it to the summit that we are unwilling to respond to new insights? 

When we’re blinded by focus on the destination rather than the journey, we ignore signals from our intuition and environment.  We encounter obstacles that keep us from reaching our goal or make it to the summit and discover it is less satisfying than what we’d imagined. 

The purpose of every intuitive yes is to point us in a direction, so that we will intersect with valuable life experiences.  There is no failure in not reaching a certain preconceived point on the path.  The only true failure is in not giving ourselves the grace to change course as we become aware it’s needed.  It is only in the present, that we can align with and hear our inner-guidance, feeling a sense of success regardless of outcome.