There is a creeping guilt when journal entries are somewhat irregular. I could launch into some excuses, but all i'm going to say is the manuscript for Bhakti Business is finished! Phew. Writing the new book has been amazing. From getting the greenlight in April with an August deadline, i've hurtled like a pinball around emotions, panic, not being enough, fear then determination and resolve. I'm something of a method writer, so this was just perfect for the type of text that I wanted to write. As I birthed through my own dharma, I was given such clarity and insight into what I needed to say, and the right sequence to say it in. The editing process has begun, and now I have time to reflect, take a breath and get ready for the next stage. And some journaling!
There were so many 'a-ha' moments as I was writing, and i'm going to share some of them with you over the coming weeks as we lead up to pre-sales in November. But this is the one that is still sitting with me today. I have written a lot in the book about material spiritualism, the trap of harnessing our true nature of selves to explicitly finding our passion and purpose for self cherishing material gain. It's an artefact of the nineties, that exploded with the idea you only needed to use a little magic and manifest the things of your dreams to find happiness. More on this later in a dedicated post.
One of the hangovers of this belief system, and especially when it relates to the self and to business, is the expression 'fake it till you make it.' We've all heard it, and many of us feel that we are already faking it through our lives, hoping no one will notice we haven't a clue what we are doing or why. But lets unpack it a little bit. Fake it till you make it is endorsed by well meaning spiritualists and business gurus alike. As you delve into life, and especially when you are on the path hunting out your true nature of self, you are learning new information and mastering new skills with the discipline of practice.
You may literally at this stage be feeling like you are at any minute about to be called out by real professionals on your ignorance and lack. This is imaginary and its that old Ms. Ego bitching and moaning again rather than reality. As we are getting in the business of bhakti business, this is an occasion where you can step back into the position of observer and take a subjective look at how this concept sits with you and your values.
Faking it till you make it is fundamentally all about what other people think of you; it is trying to keep a front of reputation for a faceless crowd, so you can backfill it and eventually be that big gal on campus. This has got ego written all over it. The reality of life is that you are learning, and don't know everything (please introduce me when you meet the person that does). This is a beautiful opportunity to take people on the journey with you from day one and let them experience it with you. As Ram Dass says, falling flat on your face is an act of leadership, as it encourages all of the people who are too trapped to do what you are doing to believe in themselves and their capacity.
You may or may not fall on your face. The point is it doesn't matter. This is not a matter of being or feeling fake. Rather, it is like in Buddhism when you are making the choice to be bodhisattva: you are choosing to live as an enlightened being so you can in turn enlighten all others. You meditate on being Buddha as though you possess all of the qualities of a fully enlightened being and behave as one with complete compassion. You aren’t the Buddha – yet. In doing this practice you are acknowledging that within all of us (yes, ALL of us) there is the capacity for enlightenment in this lifetime.
It much easier to do nothing if you feel there is no way you can reach the finish line. By acknowledging what’s possible, then you are the only impediment. And you are already working hard to get our of your own way. I've come up with an antidote saying to eradicate the epidemic of 'fake it till you make its.' For all those bhaktipreneurs that want to live in the real its time for you to 'be it till you are it.' This is living bhakti, and when you are in the moment, filled with unconditional love, working to serve all sentient beings, you've already made it.
Dr Polly McGee is one part writer, and many parts assorted thinker, do-er, talker, eater, chef, explorer, yogi, kirtaneer and dog wrangler. She has worked in kitchens, bars and restaurants from frantic to fancy, managed multi-million dollar innovation grants programs, advised hundreds of start-ups on how to refine their business ideas and source funding, and championed causes from a variety of soapboxes, lecterns and stages. She is currently the Strategic Marketing Lead for Global Edtech Startup Prosper Education. Her new book, The Good Hustle, is coming out in February 2018