I was preparing a lesson the other day for the group I run at a therapeutic facility. I was looking for something that would allow me to give the women I work with a sense of their potential, even if it was just a brief glimpse. This is, as everyone knows, a difficult task since the ability to see our own potential is hampered by the baggage that we carry that blocks our view. And yet, I wanted to somehow convey to them my belief not only in their recovery, but also their potential as human beings to do great things. I was reminded of the quote from Marianne Williamson, which you can find here, that I first read more than a decade ago.
The line that stuck out to me that day was the exact same line that stuck out all those years ago:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
You know those moments when you hear a truth, and you know it is a truth, and you know you have to listen even if it is difficult to hear? That is what this quote does for me. It forces me to realize that the fear that I feel at being inadequate, at being an imposter, at forever falling short, is actually masking the true fear: that I am “powerful beyond measure.”
Why would that be frightening? Why on earth don’t we want to be powerful?
Because if we are powerful, we have a responsibility to do something with that power.
As I study the different stories that I come in contact with through the lens of the Journey Model, I always find it fascinating to look at the Hero at the beginning of the story and compare them to the Hero at the end. So often, as the Hero leaves home to begin their adventure, they think they know exactly where they are headed and how the Journey will turn out.
They are almost always wrong.
More often than not, the ending is so much bigger, so much more meaningful than they could ever have dreamed. They achieve levels of greatness they could not have anticipated, doing the impossible and more.
Our ability to conceptualize potential is so small at the beginning of a Journey. Through the experiences we have as we walk the Journey path our perspective is widened, our eyes are opened, our understanding is deepened. What was once too vast or too grand to conceptualize in the beginning becomes the logical outcome of our experience.
No one questions Harry Potter’s ability to take on Professor Quirrell at the end of book one. It makes sense after all he has been through. But the Harry Potter we meet at the beginning of the story could never have conceptualized beating a powerful, evil wizard—mostly because he didn’t even know wizards existed.
So if, at our core, we are not inadequate but immeasurably powerful, what does that mean for this moment, right now?
If you are like me, you are at the beginning of the Journey to find out what being immeasurably powerful means. It means eventually taking steps into the darkness, trying and failing and trying again, and giving up my insecurities. That is, after all, what a Journey like this will look like.
For this moment, however, it is merely taking a moment to allow myself to dream, even if it is just for a moment, that there is more waiting out there for me than I can comprehend. That I might actually be able to do something that makes a difference in the world. That I am destined for greatness—even if that greatness is only measured within myself.
To achieve that potential; to embrace that power within myself; to take on the responsibility to be that person so I can discover what I really am capable of.
For today, that is enough.