On success ceilings, Japanese toilets, and what it takes to outsmart the brain on the way to achieving your dreams

Just the other day in a public restroom I told my 4 year old that when we’re really rich we’ll have a Japanese toilet that cleans your bits and plays music and heats up the seat for you.

Her response?

“Mummy, what does rich mean?”

Perhaps one day I will feel flush enough (gah) to install a Japanese toilet. For right now, though, I want to talk about how our ideas of success are moving targets AND about the fact that our brains are actually structured to keep us from achieving our biggest, baddest goals.

Success is such an ephemeral thing. How many times have you said, “I’ll have made it when…” and then fill in the blank with your idea of success: a million dollars, a certain company as a client, a home/homes, specific travel adventures, a best selling book, relationships that look a certain way.

And then when The Thing happened, you felt…nothing? Or not much, anyway?

While we love the achievement of The Thing, we’re actually beings who thrive on the process, the challenge, the journey of going after the next milestone.

And it’s a beautiful and painful part of our human existence.

You see, there’s a larger discussion underway in our culture about our constant striving for the next level, for achieving and getting ever more. And it’s a valid discussion because I know quite well the feeling of achieving the goals I set for myself while still not being able to acknowledge my fundamental worthiness, ok-ness, my safety. I achieved my goals out of a sense of scarcity and lack of worth- not from a place of fullness and delight.

It’s a topic I’ve written about before- this Not Enough-ness. And I think it drives much of our fear-based actions and emotions, and, yes, our perceived success.

But imagine for a moment what would be possible if you felt like you had all the safety, resources and validation you desired? If you no longer entertained the voice of Not Enough, what might the world look like?

It could be magnificent- tho how do we even begin to get there?

On a micro level, I think the antidote to Not Enough is both contentment and acceptance. I struggle mightily with the latter. In fact this year I’ve spent more than enough time asking, “WHYYYYYYY?” in an anguished cry.

Acceptance of my current situation has not come easily for me at all. And cultivating an internal sense of More Than Enough has proven to be a daily, even minute-by-minute practice. In other words, it’s fucking hard.

That’s because humans are wired to grow. To seek expansion. To desire more. Even though our reptilian brains would prefer that we not expand. That we not seek growth. That we stay safe.

How, then, do we as creative and visionary entrepreneurs cultivate the More Than Enough-ness that can serve as a foundation of acceptance, gratitude, and contentment as well as continue to grow, evolve, and succeed without falling prey to the wiring in our brains that would prefer we not take risks?

Because I want to feel safe, abundant and in my ultimate creative flow just as I am. And I also want to learn, grow, morph and change in ways that might also be labeled as success. These are not mutually exclusive states.

This conundrum is the one we’ll dance with this summer, in my Summer Book Club.

Together we’ll read and discuss three books that bring theory, practice and narrative approaches to expansion, success and Enough-ness on all levels: emotional and spiritual as well as in the physical world- because that is the world we inhabit.

And we’re doing this so that we can install the Japanese toilet if that’s The Thing as well as enjoy the reality that rich is what we already are- every single one of us- right now.

I do hope you’ll join me.

A word on the logistics:

We’ll read these three books:

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

The Architecture of All Abundance by Lenedra Carroll

Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron Gikandi and Bob Doyle

We’ll meet on the following Tuesdays via Zoom:

Tuesday July 9, 12 pm - KICK OFF!

Tuesday July 16, 12 pm - The Big Leap

Tuesday July 30, 12 pm - The Architecture of All Abundance

Tuesday August 13, 12 pm - Happy Pocket