I believe our culture suffers from a disconnect with ourselves. We are so quick to listen to the counsel of others that we have stopped listening to our own inner adviser.
As leaders, we cannot afford to be cut off from our inner guidance. It’s what allows our ultimate value to shine through. If we cannot align with what our own thoughts, feelings and senses are telling us, then how can we expect others (or ourselves) to trust the decisions that we make?
I remember feeling the tug of the conditioned disconnect pattern when I was in my mid-thirties and trying to have a child. Our culture has us approaching the struggle to conceive as a disease. We call it infertility, even before we have tested our bodies to determine if everything is, in fact, in working order. We immediately judge the inability to “produce” as proof of a problem with ourselves, as well as a need to measure and “fix” the situation, which first begins by labeling it.
I remember, as if it were yesterday, sitting down in a swanky office across from the top infertility doctor at one of the leading hospitals in this country. My OBGYN was friendly with him, so he had fit me in.
Shuffling the papers in front of him, the doctor took a few moments to collect his thoughts. There was an uncomfortable silence. Finally, he leaned forward, looking down at my test results, and over the top of his glasses informed me, “We have identified and diagnosed the reason for your infertility.”
He paused. I waited. Then, he finally said, “It’s unexplained infertility.”
I thought, for a minute I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone. I remember literally holding myself back from laughing out loud.
I can only imagine the look on my face. “So, let me make sure I understand this,” I said very slowly. “Your ‘diagnosis’ is that you don’t know why I can’t conceive?”
The doctor furrowed his brow and looked visibly uncomfortable. He cleared his throat and replied, “All of your tests indicate that from a functional standpoint, everything is in working order.”
I responded, “That’s great news, but I’m still confused about how this constitutes a diagnosis?”
The doctor went on as if I had said nothing. “Due to your advanced maternal aging, we recommend in vitro fertilization.”
“I’m only 36,” I thought to myself. I also had enough knowledge about health and human biology that I knew there was a lot that didn’t add up. I looked at him, incredulously.
“Okay,” I said, looking directly across his massive walnut desk. “I don’t want to seem disrespectful, but what you are proposing doesn’t make any sense to me. You’re telling me there doesn’t seem to be any reason you can find that, from a physical standpoint, I cannot get pregnant, but you want me to immediately, because of my age, invest thousands of dollars to inject synthetic hormones into my body, hoping that this will ‘cure’ whatever natural imbalance I have, so I can conceive?”
The doctor sighed and took a deep breath. “Mrs. Philips, I am here to give you my professional opinion. What you do with it is entirely up to you.”
I looked at him, smiling. “I appreciate that and would like to know your professional opinion on addressing my nutrition and seeking ways to balance my body naturally. Is it possible my issue is a deficiency in key nutrients or a need to detox in some way?”
The doctor stared at me as if I had just spoken in a foreign language. He didn’t blink and responded very slowly, as if speaking to a two-year-old. “In my opinion, that would be a waste of your time, but you could always try that approach if the in vitro doesn’t work.”
At that, I looked around the room, considering his response. I noticed all the certifications and credentials decorating the walls. I stood up, politely thanked the doctor, and walked out of his prestigious office.
Fortunately, there is a happy ending to my “infertility” story. I listened to my own guidance and hired a nutritionist and acupuncturist who helped me improve my health and create a more conducive environment for a potential child to come into.
It worked, and within eight months, I conceived. I also enjoyed a blissful pregnancy, had tons of energy, no morning sickness, and delivered a full-term baby girl.
The point of this story is to illustrate the importance of aligning with what is true for you and not allowing outside measurements of what will bring success or the expectations of others to impede you from creating your own lane in which to navigate life.
Ultimately, none of us are here to be evaluated by our success or lack of it. Instead, we get to be measured by our ability to decide for ourselves and be internally congruent in order to make an impact from our unique points of value. Only from this place will we have the opportunity to be truly valuable and valued – serving at our greatest potential.