The caterpillar sheds and outgrows its skin 5 times!  My outgrowing to grow was shedding off the ego mentality of who I am is based on what I achieve.

If I achieve successful possessions, a successful reputation, a successful profession in life then I can stake my claim – “I am” successful.

The problem was, although I experienced many successful moments I still “felt” unsuccessful.  We don’t want to just be successful; we want to “feel” successful.

The Inner Tongue of Feelings

I don’t care what anyone says, feelings speak louder than affirmations and actions.  And regardless of all the visible success, it’s the invisible tongue of your feelings that affirm your success.

My feelings were speaking the tongue of “it’s not enough!” And “you should be this by now!” These thoughts spoke a feeling of I am not.

“I am not” is a mentality of lack and poverty – It expresses the feeling of to be enough, I must achieve enough.

That lack mentality only saw “enough”coming from the expected moment of “when this happens.”

I like to call it…

Blowing In the Wind of When

Blowing in the wind of when says, “when I achieve          , then I will feel complete, successful, or fulfilled.”

Blowing in the “when” kept me striving, but never arriving.  And the hustle culture to become goal-driven, and performance-driven, kept me “driven” in the “wind of when,” and feeling like not enough.

Driven By 2 Stories

I remember when I finally mustered the courage to make a big leap – tell my dad I’m leaving the family business, leaving our church, and leaving our hometown to shift my marriage and my mindset to a space of purpose and pathfinding.

And here’s the kicker – I made the leap with no salaried job lined up! A leap that landed into total “cliff-hanging!”

As a former University Career Manager, the golden rule is “never leave a job, without a job lined up.”  But I needed more than a new job.

I needed space for mental “de-cluttering.” I took transitional jobs, but for me finding a new path of perspective was priority over finding a new path of profession.

This shift sparked to emotional dialogues:

Self-perception – what’s happening to you.

Self-realization – what’s meaningfully happening in you.

My self-perceptions was a dialogue that sounded like….

  • Comparison – “Level-up like your college friends, good job, good house, good status.” “It sucks you’re a late bloomer!” “You should be much further professionally.” “Fit in but damn it…be better!”

  • Conflict – “You’re a preacher’s kid, why aren’t you following your dad’s path.”  “Okay, prove your own path, but regardless you’ve still failed the family business and are a disappointment to your parents.”  “You have no solid track record of notable success.”  “Prove yourself in order to be approved.”

  • Circumstance – “You’ve got a MBA, why are you accepting substitute teacher gigs!” “You’re not giving your wife security, man up! “Your good efforts, are being suffocated by the reality of not being good enough!”  

Like a caterpillar, I kept growing into new skins of self-perceptions that suffocated me.


Self-realization would eventually shed those skins to see myself complete. Completeness felt like potential.  The more I “realized” and worked with my potential, it expanded my enoughness to satisfy the moment with enough.

  • Fulfillment is living from self-realization.


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