I have never lacked for bravery. I have many faults and weaknesses, but for whatever reason I have that thing in me that makes me afraid of very few things.
I spent my 20’s climbing the shit out of the advertising ladder – I was throwing myself at whatever was given to me, having fun, learning a ton, traveling the world and gathering up friends that are still with me today.
But I wasn’t deep down happy.
Instead, I was on digi-crazed auto-pilot, jumping at the pings and scurrying from one engagement to the next.
I was good at what I did. But not happy.
Addicted. But not happy.
This was when the great 21st century entrepreneurial story started to take root in culture – anyone could start a business and they were. This is also when my generational peers started using digital tools en force to start non-profits, save children around the world and fight against injustices.
I was making commercials.
I knew it was dumb.
I knew I wasn’t deep down happy.
But I didn’t know what else to do.
I read about people who had the great thunderstrike moment, where they suddenly KNEW the thing they had to do. Had I suddenly realized that my thing was to empower girls in Africa or start a knitting business or adopt ten stray dogs and start a traveling road show, I would have done any of those things. Because remember, I got that bravery thing.
So part of me was waiting for the “aha” moment. Part of me was offended that I didn’t get the bolt of inspiration. I was craving it and ready to go.
But nothing struck.
You know why?
Because I never sat still long enough for the lightning bolt to find me.
A bored mind is a receptive mind.
A bored mind is a self-aware mind.
A bored mind is a creative mind.
I was never bored.
I was filled to the brim with distraction and busyness. Chock full of doing.
My company needed me.
My twitter account needed me.
My emails needed me.
Actually, that’s all shit.
My soul needed me.
But I wasn’t tending to it at all.
But then actually, one day I did get hit by the lightning bolt.
It had nothing to do with the next big social media idea or the liberation of millions.
It was a lightning bolt that told me to walk away.
Give up this life.
Take a break.
And so I did.
And for two years I gave myself space.
I went back to nature.
I stayed detached from companies and clients.
I took care of me.
I learned how to meditate.
I journaled a lot.
I worked with a guide.
I went on one of the great journeys of my life.
Yes, I did cover a lot of miles in those two years, but the real journey was the one into me.
Painful. Enlightening. Expansive. Exhausting. Hard as hell. Full of light.
Besides that initial “get out of here, Heidi” lightening moment, there were no more big aha moments. Rather since then, it’s about a series of smaller “oh yeah” moments. Moments that can only happen with space. Those moments kept me from returning to my former life, despite the strong gravitational pull of comfort and ego. Those moments led me to start a company that does the work I love doing, but we do it in a way that doesn’t murder us in the process. Those moments helped me change the structure of my life – not every day is perfect, but I’m happy.
So my 5% is about creating space.
Many days I fail, but I know this is my great quest and struggle right now.
Building a life where the screens get put down, where the rush is kept at arm’s length, where quiet is real, where the mind can wander, where real connections with myself and others can be made.
It’s taken every ounce of my bravery to build this life, build my company and welcome this space. It runs counter to what much of culture overtly and subtly pushes us to do.
There are days that I utterly fail.
But I keep trying.
Because without the space, I’m just another walking dead.
And I just don’t want to do that anymore.