Eating dinner alone my last night in New York on the roof-top terrace of my hotel was stunningly beautiful and eerily symbolic of this moment in time. The last few weeks Soul Carrier has been catapulting forward at a speed I could never have imagined. It is thrilling and a little scary. Eating dinner alone was symbolic of that — I literally was on top of the city, it was spectacular and stunning, and I was alone.

Visiting New York always brings me so many chances for growth and inner reflection. There are a billion opinions being thrown my way, friends who simply cannot understand why I would EVER choose to leave Manhattan for dry/dusty/slightly-ignorant Phoenix, bitter and jaded encounters, and an overall elitist attitude that New Yorkers know best, period! It can be rather startling. And at the end of every New York visit I come away exhausted and drained!

This trip was a little different – my friend from Arizona, Kelly Lee was with me. Our days were like a Curb Your Enthusiasm marathon and at end of the day we would be laughing hysterically recapping all the the absurd moments. It was so fun traveling with her – we see life through a similar filter, so when someone said something bizarre or judgmental, we would look at each other and shake our heads, and start giggling the moment the person was out of ear shot. It was comic relief.

And Sunday when Kelly left ahead of me and I had time to be alone and time to absorb New York’s attitudes and judgements, 100%, without any comedic-buffer – things started to hit me and rattle me a bit.

I want every encounter to be a chance to learn, to grow, to refine myself and get closer to my truth. I never want to act like I know it all – because goodness knows I clearly DO NOT! I have so much to learn, so much to grow from, and so much refinement ahead of me.

I want to be centered and grounded enough to hear criticism, judgements and opinions without reacting to them. I can graciously listen, figure out what is true and fitting for ME and Soul Carrier, and filter out the rest without getting upset or defensive. No one ever needs to prove to ANYONE their reasons for doing something. When you are truly centered and grounded in your soul – you don’t need to justify your life away – it is simply your choice.

For most of my life, however, I have been doing just that! Giving a reason for everything. I felt like I needed validation for doing what I was doing, especially if someone criticized or judged me for doing something. And this trip gave me plenty of chances to practice NOT giving a reason. People are going to have opinions, judgements and criticism – there is no doubt about that. But can you graciously hear them out, check and see if there is something you can learn from, and then let go of the need for their approval, if they do not like what you doing, creating or up to?

I realized that for most of my life, I have been scrambling for people’s approval. If they criticized or judged, I would stumble over myself to become what they wanted just so I would have their approval. My worth was grounded in their approval.

However, I want to give up the approval drug. My value is no reflection of whether they approve or not. They can be a snob about my decisions, dislike my designs, my creations, or think that I am unsophisticated for wanting to live anywhere but Manhattan, and I can take a deep breathe and realize those are just thoughts – that is it. Those thoughts are not my TRUTH, they are not my worth, and they most definitely do not size up my value.

Being a leader, an innovator, someone who wants to charge a head and do something different means not blindly following the crowd and groveling for approval and acceptance. Sitting at the top of that restaurant all by myself, really drove home that concept.

I do not want to live my life being an approval junkie. I do not want to spend my energy trying to get people to condone every move I make. I do not want to live life seeking the next hit of acceptance and trying to look good so people will like me.

I want to live from a place of soul. I want to trust my intuition when it comes to what makes sense for my life and Soul Carrier. I want to graciously listen to those that have gone ahead of me, but always filtering the advice, criticism and opinions through the lens of my own soul. Just because someone speaks something does not make it the golden truth for my life and business.

I have all my interns read Don Miguel’s The Four Agreements — and the book speaks to not taking anything personally — good or bad. I need to hone in on that for myself.

Good, bad or indifferent what is said of me, Soul Carrier, or my life decisions, is no reflection of my value and worth.

I want to show up powerfully and make an impact. Doing that may mean forging ahead without the approval of the rest of the world. And that is okay. I would rather be alone doing what is best and right for my soul. Then blindly drifting along hoping for the next hit of approval and acceptance.

Can you listen graciously without getting defensive? Can you filter out what doesn’t make sense for you? Can you live from soul versus people’s approval and the desire to look good?

To learning to listen without reacting. To NOT basing our worth on other’s approval. To living a life from soul.

Jenn