Awakening: The Steak and the Sizzle

Living my Awakening: Choosing Actions Motivated by Love

This week, I deeply desired to know what was behind this feeling of NOTHING that was inside me. I’ve made so many changes in my life, after my spiritual awakening, yet I still have days like this.

It seems that a big bubble of emptiness is in the way of me moving forward, stepping forth, and reclaiming my ‘mojo’. What’s in the bubble does not feel like doubt and it does not feel like insecurity. If feels like a great big space between my self-confidence, and taking action.

I feel confident, and I am well studied. But what I wish is to feel comfortable at the top of this cliff of who I have been, before I jump to who I am now, and who I am going to be.

If you are an entrepreneur, or an adventurer of any sort, you know this feeling. You have the vision, you hold a vision, and you know you can make it a reality. The feeling is scary and terrifying, and electrifying and vivifying all at the same time.

I feel I’m in that rut that the wheel catches, just before a big push causes it to lunge rapidly forward. I’m in that pause before you take the leap off of the cliff.

Trusting a Way Forward Will Reveal Itself

In the Harrison Ford movie, Indiana Jones is at the edge of a cliff. Before him is the opening in the next cliff, and he knows, in his gut, that this is the location of the Holy Grail. He instinctively knows that a way will reveal itself, but that he has to trust to find it. Jumping the full length between cliffs is not humanly possible. So he leaps, knowing that a path will appear.

And it does, as his feet land on an invisible bridge, and he walks forward.

I Wish to Reclaim my Sizzle and my Motivation

I want that sizzle back… that dashing-ness… that inner drive… that joy and happiness… that easy confidence. That knowing that I’ll be successful and I will look good doing it. Like I felt, when I was younger.

This is the sizzle. The sizzle of feeling fully myself, fully participating in my life, caring about what I care about and acting on it.

What I’ve realized, is that my sizzle, my get it done capability, has to transition with me to support moving forward. It has to evolve.

But first, I needed to find it.

Where Did the Sizzle Go?

In my years in investment banking, I was a powerhouse of ‘get it done’, pushing forward in every way at every turn. And I felt that I had to do this, because unlike those with various connections, what I had was chutzpah and intelligence, strategic sense and the ability to work hard, stamina and strength, and I was eventually able to engender loyalty and friendship. I am grateful for this time in my life and I worked on teams with wonderfully talented people.

I had a vision of what I wanted, and where I was going. And I had incredible motivation.

Motivated by Fear, and Anger

When I look a little more closely, I realize that what motivated me at the time, was actually fear and anger. These were the driving forces that got me to my goals and that sustained the fight in me.

I learned to use fear and anger to my advantage, to further myself and my career, to fight for those on my team, so they would get paid and get opportunities, to push forward and get noticed, and to just keep going because it wasn’t easy. Maybe it wasn’t that way for everyone else. But it was that way for me, racing up the corporate ladder.

This was Investment Banking in the 1990s

It was an environment where if I did not produce by contributing to company revenues through my work, I would be let go, where my pay was based on my contribution, but others were always trying to steal credit for it, where none of us wanted to share credit with the others because our jobs were at stake; because it made a real difference in our pay, in who got promoted, in who got the new project to work on.

I’m not exaggerating because during my honeymoon… one of the only times I ever took days off…  someone called me repeatedly in Italy as they worked to prove my incompetence so they could steal a project I was working on. I was pushing the competitive edge in my own way, like the time when I kicked a senior person out of the office I was working in, which I had just moved into on my own. Sometimes raw drive and competition is funny, and sometimes it’s not.racing

I loved the firms I worked at. Yet it was an environment where management would bring in your competitor and interview them, just because it would make you work harder, and maybe negotiate your pay a little less hard. And management would give the same assignment to two people, to put them into direct competition together, then give vague indications of whether they actually supported you over the other person, to see where it would go.

And then there were those considered ‘superstars’ who would get flown to Hawaii to vacation all expenses paid so that they would say no to the competition that wanted to fly them to New York for an interview that week.

Teamed Up: The Steak and the Sizzle

Looking back, what I realized is this: Win or lose, it all really came down to attitude. To being the ‘steak’ versus being the ‘sizzle’.

There were less than a handful of women and I partnered up with one of them to work on a project. And so we had two bankers working with us – the one assigned to her and the one assigned to me. And these were handsome guys, beautiful men, handsomely dressed in fine suits.

And she would joke that we were the ‘steak’ and they were the ‘sizzle’. Because we had the numbers and the analysis and the market positioning and the company sized up. But they had the flash, and the connections, and the ease of being successful men, the smile and competitive attitude and the ‘I’ll make you rich capability’ that young dashing bankers have.

Yes, they were the sizzle.

The funniest thing was that when we went to lunch together, they ordered the salads. Sizzle has to stay fit to look good.

Living the Sizzle Moment

At the same time that this insanely competitive environment was setting us all against each other, we were pulling together to get the work of the firm done. And it was an exciting time. There were rules that everyone followed. And knowing those, you knew where you stood, no matter what side of things you were on. There was raw unguarded competition. But there were rules to the competition, and there was respect. Talent and merit were rewarded handsomely.

It was an incredible experience, working with such incredibly smart and brilliant and motivated and competitive people. It was a moment in time… when smaller investment banks in San Francisco ran rampant financing start-ups that the old banks wouldn’t touch at the time, when new products and services were being brought forward that today are common appliances. But at the time, we were dreaming of the future, and what it might be like. It was tough, and it was thrilling.

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There were innovative young people doing really exciting things at the dawn of the public company internet era, breaking new ground, setting trends in the moment. There were a lot of really smart people pushing forward together in a group, working to finance innovative young companies that are some of the superstars of today’s markets and economies.

What a time to be grateful for. What a great thing to participate in. It was the sizzle, in every way.

Feeling Nothing

When I left investment banking, I was exhausted, and my body ached from plane rides and time changes at all hours of the day and night. It was hard to not focus on the intense effort, the personal struggle to succeed, feeling completely tired, of feeling done.

Of feeling, nothing.

I’d love to get my mojo back, because I have dreams, and visions, once again.

It comes down to motivation.

I’m no longer willing to be motivated by fear, or by anger. I am willing to be motivated by Love. Is that exciting to me? Yes.

openheartlightLove is the New Sizzle

I want Love to be behind what I create, what I do, how I think, who I am. I have a sense of a higher purpose, of fulfilling my soul’s purpose, and it’s exciting and brilliant and thrilling and it’s just… wow.

And, I’ve determined, this is behind the feeling of NOTHING that I have been feeling.

I know how to move forward, how to be successful, without love. I’ve told myself that I don’t know how, what the process is, to move forward with love and that’s not true either.

The truth is, that behind this feeling of NOTHING, is the incredible fear of how my life might change if I move forward, loving.

We have lived so many lives of toil, and of pain. We have lived lives of disappointment, of losing love and of feeling love is lost to us, of wishing for glory but of finding pain. We have lived our lives burning up in our own anger, paralyzed by our fears.

Having the permission to move forward in another way is new territory.

Anything can happen.

And I guess I will find out, because, I am willing to love, again.

© 2016 Susan V. Lacerra.  All Rights Reserved.
 Permission is given to share this article on other blogs and websites, as long as the text is posted in its entirety without alteration and with the accompanying photos (if photos are in the repost), and with the author’s credit, copyright and live website links included in the article. Contact the author at susan.lacerra@gmail.com. Twitter handle is @SusanInspired.

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