I can’t believe I started this blog year ago…TODAY to be exact! I’ve actually been meaning to create this post for the past few weeks but inspiration finally hit today of all the days (the universe works in mysterious ways, huh?). The content of this post has been on my mind for awhile. I’m sure you’ve all been thinking “where the heck have you been??” Well, I apologize to all my fans (read: my mom) for disappearing! During my hiatus, I had some great self-realizations and transformations. One of the many contributions to this shift was starting this blog. I got out of my comfort zone and DID something and it really was the catalyst to a great year. But as they say, all good things must come to an end.
"But, Dan! Why stop? You were doing so well, I love your blog" (Again, thanks Mom). Have no fear, I’m not stopping. No, this blog was only the beginning. But it was something I thought I had to do; to build my business and be successful. If I stopped, it meant I failed. But, as we all know, that was just a belief in my head and I decided to let it go. Yes, let it go, let it go, it can’t hold me back anymore.
You see, a big part of my year was beginning to recognize what energized me in my life and deciding to put more focus on those things. I realized that writing was not particularly energizing for me. (Well, at least in the sense where I can pump these out every week.) However, this allowed awareness for other platforms that were more energizing for me, like creating videos. While I’m not quite a writer, I am a performer. I just needed to find my stage! I even took on a new stage name (Did you notice? I’m now DANIEL SCOTT ZIMMERMAN…can’t ignore a guy with a name like that, right?) Suffice to say, there are some ideas in the works that I hope will pan out in the near future.
So the takeaway from all this? If I never started this blog, I might have never made it to this particular point I’m at today. But if I also kept doing it when it wasn’t fulfilling for me, it wasn’t going to benefit anyone, either. Just like Elsa, I couldn't hold my real self back anymore, I had to let it go. I gave him the reigns and just like in the movie, it led me down a much more satisfying path. So for those of you with goals for the new year, I say whatever it is, go for it. Just do it. And if it turns out it’s not aligning with you, let it go and see where your true self leads you next. At the very least, you will have learned something that will help you going forward. Remember, there is no failure, except in no longer trying. (Thank you, Elbert Hubbard).
So for those of you who followed along, thank you. I hope this gives you some closure as well as intrigue for the next phase. Yes, it will be a challenging and intimidating adventure, but that never bothered me anyway.
To honor the Winter Olympics and finish off our nominated films theme, I figured this was the best choice this week. Though the film is not nominated for Best Picture (still trying to figure that one out), it was definitely one of my top picks this year.
This film is intense! The fact that it’s based on a true story (one I remember living through) makes it all the more insane. Tonya Harding (played here by Margot Robbie) is the focus of this film. To put it lightly, this girl had a passion! Despite all the obstacles depicted in the film, she stuck with it. I admire her determination and devotion given everything she had to endure. She gave up so much of her life to skating, only to have it turn it’s back on her in the end. Whether it was deserved or not, it really puts life in perspective and makes you consider how much you are willing to give up for something, even if the results you want are not guaranteed.
I think all Olympians have considered this. That’s why I’ve been so anxious watching the Olympics for the past two weeks. They’ve sacrificed a lot for their passion and it all comes down to a few moments where it can all either go right or not right enough. I like to remind myself that, although not everyone walks away a winner, their efforts are not wasted. They’re competing in the Olympics! If they lose, they’re still one of the top 20 athletes in their sport IN THE WORLD!
I think that mindset comes in handy when you are hesitant to pursue a goal where you can’t predict the outcome. You need a “shoot for the moon, land among the stars” mentality meaning no matter what your goal is, you’ll still benefit from the journey to get there. When I invested in coaching education, I was learning tools that could help me at any job or career I end up in. Even if I didn’t become a coach, I could still use the skill. In that case, the reward was much greater than the risk, so I went for it.
One thing we can be certain about is nothing is certain. If we love something enough, we almost have to go for it, no matter the outcome. We can hope for a specific outcome, but the rest is up to the universe. I mean, look at Tonya. She was literally banned from pursuing her passion...and she turned out alright. She took what she learned and put it to use in other ways. But a lot had to go wrong for that to happen. Just avoid hurting other people and you’ll probably be in the clear.
That’s all for now. Until next time, glide through a few of these questions for help:
What’s a risky goal you are considering?
Is the reward for achieving the goal worth more or less than the risk of not achieving the goal?
What would happen if you didn’t get the outcome you wanted?
What beneficial knowledge or skills could you learn from pursuing this goal?
What are other positive outcomes from pursuing this goal?
I couldn’t leave out the animated category, so let’s talk about Coco! The film follows Miguel (voice by Anthony Ganzalez ) whose passion for music is squandered by his family’s loathing for it (through unfortunate events, music has only caused pain and sadness in his family’s history). Miguel’s journey to get his family’s blessing to pursue music reveals some shocking revelations as well as the importance of family.
Another solid film from Disney Pixar, Coco reminded me how hard it can be to have a passion without the support. It’s hard enough to follow your dream when your own demons get in the way (fear of failure, being good enough, etc), but when the support of friends and family is absent, how do you power on?
Don’t give up. If your friends and family don’t understand your passion, they just won’t be the ecstatic cheerleader you were hoping for. To get them to understand, try listening to them. Just like Miguel’s family, they may have a belief or fear connected to whatever you are pursuing and are unable to see it in the same positive light as you. If they are willing, sit them down and let them talk. Most importantly, don’t argue or interrupt. Take in what they have to say and just let them be heard. Sometimes that can solve the issue right there.
When it’s your turn to explain your side, you can hope they’ll listen back, but don’t be alarmed if they do not. Be patient, give them time and use other means of support in the meantime. Forcing them to support you might not work so well. Giving them an ear to be heard and letting them see the positive impact your passion has on you might work better. At the very least, they wouldn’t want to stand in the way of your happiness.
Seriously, if Miguel’s family had just talked it out, they may have realized the importance of music in their family before Miguel had to run off and into the underworld. However, while it would have saved a lot of time and stress, it would have also made for a quick and boring movie. So save the drama for the movies, not your life.
That’s all the music I have in me this week. Until next time, think to the tune of a few of these questions:
How are you supported in your passion?
What do you need in order to feel supported?
Where can you find the support you need?
Why do you need support?
What does that support provide?
I know I said I wasn’t picking favorites, but “Call Me By Your Name” is definitely a top favorite. Although done unintentionally, I love that I’m posting this the same week as Valentine’s Day. In the film, we get the pleasure of watching a beautiful relationship grow before our very eyes. With the fantastically cast Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer), I definitely got the feels on this one.
I was particularly intrigued by Elio’s “call to adventure” in the film. For the non-screenwriters, the “call to adventure” is what sparks the main character’s journey and basically drives the plot of the film. I talk a lot about “calls to adventure” that we choose to follow (the goals we decide we want to achieve). But what about those “calls” that we have to answer that we are not ready for? Elio, for example, discovers he has strong feelings for another man, which is new for him. He can’t ignore his feelings, so he curiously ventures forward on this journey he wasn’t expecting.
We might be forced on an unexpected journey by being laid off from a job or being dumped by a significant other. It’s certainly not what you planned for, but now you have to deal with it. Just like Elio, you’ll experience confusion and frustration over something you can’t control. It’s a lot of emotions all at the same time. While these situations can be tough, I’ll just call them by their name: opportunities.
Unexpected changes in your life are hidden opportunities. You will be challenged, but you will grow, learning so much more about yourself. It’s also an opportunity to reflect and make changes for the better in the future. In the film, you watch Elio learn about himself, gaining more confidence and clarity in this new direction life has taken him. He’s maturing right before our eyes. If you experience an unexpected journey in the future, take advantage.
In fact, you should heed the advice of Mr. Perlman, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, who is in just about every nominated film this year! (Also, SPOILER ALERT! In case you haven’t seen it, stop reading now.) He has a monologue towards the end of the film that is one of the best monologues I’ve seen in awhile. He is soothing Elio during his heartbreak over Oliver leaving and asks him to “not kill [the pain] and with it the joy you’ve felt.” Forgetting the good times in order to not feel pain would be such a tragedy. Mourn the loss, but grow from it, rather than start over.
That’s enough gushing for today. Until next time, here’s a few questions to flirt with:
Have you experienced an unexpected journey recently?
What did you lose?
How do you feel about the change?
What are your opportunities?
How can this improve your future?
Continuing our theme of nominated films, I decided to go with "The Shape of Water" next. This romance is quite the peculiar one. I really enjoyed Elisa’s (Sally Hawkins) personal journey throughout the film. Unable to speak, Elisa lives an isolated, lonely life, until one day she finally meets “someone” and they fall in love. That someone turns out to be a high security, classified “experiment” of the amphibious kind. When his life is in danger, she enlists the help of her endearing friends, Giles (Richard Jenkins) and Zelda (Octavia Spencer) to save him. This quiet, meek little lady suddenly goes all “I am Woman, Hear me Roar!” and hardly bats an eye facing every obstacle in the way of being with her lover, including the scary Strickland (Michael Shannon).
What I love about this film is that it’s an ode to the bravery of underdogs. The ones who are overlooked, yet completely underestimated when it comes to getting what they want. In Elisa’s case, hell hath no fury like a woman in love. But there are other ways to be brave than taking on the US Government. Bravery might be asking your boss for a raise or talking to the cute guy/girl at the bar. It’s revealing your true self or passions, even if it means losing support from the people closest to you. It’s standing up to a superior who’s doing something wrong. These are tough situations because being brave forces us to be vulnerable.
One of my favorite authors, Brené Brown, talks extensively about vulnerability. She mentions that while we may want to avoid it, we forget that it also is a pathway to “joy, creativity, authenticity and love”** A hero’s journey in a movie usually involves an encounter with their deepest fear, rendering them completely vulnerable. But when they become brave and face it, they are graciously rewarded for it.
I came out at the age of 21. It was scary at the time to think I could possibly lose all my family and friends, but there was no way I could continue living a lie. I just wanted to be happy. So I faced my most vulnerable moment and I have to say, things turned out just fine for me. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but the best part was opening myself to more opportunities of joy, authenticity, creativity and love than I ever thought possible. I would have lost out on all that had I never braved the unknown. So, whatever your situation, be brave and take a chance on vulnerability. It’s so worth it.
I’ll let you find out yourself how it all works out for Elisa and friends. Until next time, let these questions swim around in your head:
How does being vulnerable feel to you?
Is there a current situation that requires you to be vulnerable?
What’s a brave or vulnerable moment you’ve had in your life?
How did you benefit from this moment?
How can that moment help guide you in your current situation?
**The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection and Courage by Brené Brown