Today is September 23, and I came to work wearing my Birkenstock sandals. This has a deep symbolic meaning for me, so I want to share this story with you. Who knows, maybe it will stick in your mind and help you at some point in your life.
While I was working as a lawyer, one thing that really annoyed me was the dress code. Of course, I understand why lawyers have a certain dress code, and it makes perfect sense.
What bothered me, however, was that because of that dress code, I couldn’t wear my Birkenstock sandals to work from mid-May to the end of September.
I may not pay much attention to fashion, but for some reason, wearing Birkenstock sandals during the spring and summer, whether for work or leisure, gives me a profound sense of freedom. Don’t ask me why that is, because I’m still figuring that out.
Anyway, I kept trying to convince myself that this was a trivial and superficial matter and, therefore, I shouldn’t feel frustrated because of it. But that didn’t work. I mean, how could any logic, no matter how reasonable, silence the strong feeling of freedom that arose in me when I wore those sandals on spring and summer days?
Finally, I realized that I was fighting a losing battle and that it was pointless to rationalize the whole thing because those sandals were stirring something deep inside me that I wasn’t aware of, but that was undeniably strong.
I began to think about how I could turn this “strange-energy-stirring-deep-within-me” into a fuel that would propel me even faster in the direction I wanted to go. At that time, I had already reached a point in my life where I realized that something inside me that has the power to create such a strong sense of frustration can also create a correspondingly strong desired vibration – I just have to learn to direct it outward in a different way.
Since I already knew at that point that I didn’t want to pursue a career in law (I had my own small law firm at the time) but preferred to work as a coach and Mindfulness trainer, I decided to write a detailed list of certain things that I was magnetically attracted to, and that would often be present in my life after the manifestation of my new (coaching) business. My idea was that these things would act like “energetic magnets” and magnetically draw my attention to them every time I thought about them for even a moment.
One of those “energetic magnets” that I put at the top of my list was, of course, the idea that if I make my coaching business a reality, I can come to work in Birkenstock sandals as a matter of course 😊
Since that moment, almost every time I felt frustrated because I had to go to court in “normal” shoes, for example, 😊, I reminded myself how much it depends on me how long I have to wait for the moment when I can go to work in Birkenstock sandals every day.
I would say something to myself like:
“Tomislav, it all depends on you. If you want to wear Birkenstock sandals (the ‘energetic magnet’) almost all the time in spring and summer, stop worrying and overthinking too much and focus instead on making your coaching and mindfulness business happen.”
And so I gradually began to develop the habit of “channeling” the intense frustration with my Birkenstock sandals into something I wanted – something that supported me and drew my attention.
And it was exactly this story about Birkenstock sandals that helped me realize, from my own experience, how much time I had spent letting my work frustrate me.
It’s no secret that while I was working as a lawyer, I was generally very frustrated (not because of the work as a lawyer, of course, but because I knew very clearly that I wanted something very different). I knew I wanted to enter the coaching world and work with people worldwide – this desire shone brightly within me.
But instead of focusing primarily on the specific reasons WHY I wanted to enter the world of coaching and WHAT I WOULD SPECIFICALLY GAIN when I had somewhat successfully realized it, my attention was primarily focused on the things that frustrated me at the time about the job I was trying to escape.
So, instead of focusing on the specific things I would gain if I manifested my coaching business (“energy magnets”), I focused my attention primarily on what frustrated me about my job at the time.
And it makes perfect sense that I was frustrated at work.
And that’s why I like to think of my adventure with Birkenstock sandals as my story of freedom because it helped me understand the essence of freedom from a very unusual point of view. It helped me to realize that I cannot jump from the “place of frustration” to the “place of joy” without first having a firm grip on the “place of joy” – and that includes concrete “energetic magnets” waiting for me there (not just an abstract idea).
In other words, I thought I desperately wanted to be free, and all my attention was seemingly focused on freedom. However, essentially, what I was “vibrating” most of the time was THE VIBRATION OF WHAT FRUSTRATED ME. And, of course, my attention was mainly on what frustrated me.
I began to understand clearly that the state of consciousness that boils down to ‘I WANT FREEDOM FROM SOMETHING’ has nothing to do with freedom. It’s a state of consciousness that further connects me to what I want to escape from.
In contrast, ‘I WANT FREEDOM FOR SOMETHING’ is a state of consciousness that connects me to what I want to experience.
The vibration is very different when I’m looking for a new job to escape ‘annoying co-workers’ and ‘toxic communication at work” than when I’m looking for a new job because I can experience the _______________ (insert what you’re magnetically attracted to) in the new job.
At first glance, it’s a small difference, but at heart, it’s significant.
When I meet clients today who have been frustrated about something for a long time, I often remind them that this frustration is actually a valuable resource that can be turned into powerful fuel that will get them to their desired destination – it just needs to be wisely channeled outward.
“I want freedom – so that I can move away from_________________” = a vibration that anchors you further in the undesirable.
“I want freedom – so that I can __________________” = a vibration that opens paths to the new.
What are your “energetic magnets” in the desired reality that propel you forward in moments of self-doubt and when you question your abilities?
What are your “energetic magnets” in the desired reality that propel you forward in moments when you want to give up because you don’t think you have the strength?