Someone close to me recently called me out for “phoning it in” on a recent blog. This person is normally very supportive of me in every sense of the word, and I trust him implicitly. Even when I don’t agree with him.
Him: “I saw your blog. I’m calling you out for pulling a Steven Tyler.”
Me: “Steven Tyler? What are you talking about???”
Him: “Remember commenting on how Steven Tyler was phoning it in during that last season of American Idol?”
Me, a bit agitated: “I didn’t phone it in, I delibertly decided not to write a fresh blog because I wanted to share a chapter from Tao Flashes (my book). That’s called Marketing.” (By the way, I love Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith; his creative commentary was the best thing about American Idol for a long time. But later in the series, I thought he seemed more passionate about his scarves than the contest or contestants.)
Him: “Hmmm, maybe you’re right. But I was wondering.”
His comment initially stung me and my immediate reaction was to defend my stance. And my ego.
But what’s the point of working on self-awareness, reading goo gobs of inspirational and motivational books, and even writing one myself, if I’m not willing to question everything. Even the smallest of things. And I had to admit to myself that there might be a tiny grain of truth there, small, yes, irritating, yes, but maybe enough to create a pearl of wisdom.
It’s not so much that I had a huge ephinany. But I had to admit to myself that he was partially right. I had always planned to share some of the chapters of my book, Tao Flashes, in my blog so readers could taste a sample of its content. (I’m proud of this work, and in no way would I consider any chapter phoned in. ) But this particular week, I decided to opt for sharing a chapter instead of creating something from scratch because I was tired. And busy. And I didn’t think I had the energy to uplift and inspire, which are ultimately the higher goals of my blog.
So instead of feeling guilty, which is such an easy pattern to fall into, I decided to own the fact that sometimes, sometimes, it’s okay to “phone it in.” I believe that our spirits guide us on these matters more than our egos. And I believe there are times when we need rest, creatively, emotionally, physically, mentally so we can restore and reactivate our spirits. So we can renew our passions and hear our creative guidance.
So maybe the next time you feel you’re just phoning it in on a project, or even in a relationship, ask yourself why. Maybe you’re just tired, overextended. Or under-supported. Maybe you’re percolating, waiting to give voice and vision to something new. And maybe, just maybe it’s time to relax and listen to your inner guidance. With some rest, you’ll hear it.
And as for me, I feel grateful to have someone in my life who helps me hear the truth. Someone who questions me and acts as a catalyst for my growth and higher learning. And just as important, someone who will still watch American Idol with me, even if Steven Tyler is no longer on it. (Still missing you Steven.)