Recently, a friend of mine whose 12th-grade daughter is starting to hear from colleges to which she applied, said, (well, texted - talking is so last decade) - “I can’t wait until you go through this [with your daughter].” At this point, you are probably reading this as one of those conversations where we parents roll our eyes and sigh in resignation, because everybody knows, the college application process is the final, awful, conflict-ridden hurdle to overcome before we release our children to The World. So, surely, my friend was being snarky.
If that is what you assumed, you are wrong. My friend genuinely has been enjoying the college application process with her oldest daughter (and I can assure you, as she is several years sober, she was not TUI - texting under the influence). So, of course, as with all things counter-cultural, I was intrigued. It had never occurred to me that the college application process could be an enjoyable bonding experience between mother and daughter. I asked her some advice, since my own daughter is now a high school junior; I ordered my daughter a book on getting organized with it (because this must be a process she drives and works on); and I subscribed to a fascinating podcast I found on the subject. (Check it out: Getting In: A College Coach Conversation).
Before my run this morning, I listened to one of the episodes, which are always discussions by former college admissions officers. Something they emphasized in this episode was something I had never considered, and while I ran, I thought about it. The former admissions officer insisted that the people reviewing college applications WANT the applicant to be a good fit for their school. Suddenly, my image of these grumpy, middle-aged people with college admissions tenure, who smugly enjoyed the power they had over these children’s (and adults’) future, vanished. Because of what I interpret to be the insanity in many circles, metropolitan areas, and schools, where children pile on so many AP’s and extracurricular activities that I wonder if they have discovered a realm where there are 34-hour days and 10-day weeks, not to mention the fortunes spent on SAT prep courses and educational consultants - I had assumed that the college application process, just like any Keeping Up With The Joneses race, is inevitably awful and the people making decisions are akin to the Wizard of Oz (before he is found out).
As I ran, I felt cheerful as I contemplated this new idea. Whatever school my kids end up applying to, their wizards really want them to go there! The wizards will read over my kids’ transcripts and highlights, not with an intention to hit the Deny button, but with the desire to find everything they love and admire about my kid, so they can hit the Accept button! So, basically, for my kids to be rejected, they will need to convince the wizards that they really belong elsewhere. As I smiled over the neighborhood hills, I followed this line of thinking to other areas of life. Applying to schools is an intense experience, but it is a fraction of our experience on this planet. How about all of the other events, where we show up somewhere and feel that anticipation, perhaps anxiety, as there is a possibility of rejection? Every time I write something and hit Share, I say a prayer, that my intention for writing and sharing something may be from a place of service and authenticity, and that it may be received that way. It would be easy to focus on the people who may be out there reading my babble and thinking I have no clue what I am talking about (they may be right), but I choose to believe that when someone is led to my blog, it is because something I am saying is what they need to read today. As I ran, I thought, people WANT me to succeed, to show up in a helpful way, to make a difference. I thought, that is what people, the world, God, want for ALL of us!
Think about how this positive mindset affects the energy you put out there. Whether you are applying for a job, filling out an online dating profile, checking out a new exercise venue, attending a dreaded social event - shifting the way we think about it affects the way we present ourselves. Do we reek of desperation? Are we crafting this persona because we assume that surely, the wizards would never accept me as I truly am? Are we piling on the adult version of AP’s and extracurriculars (i.e. saying Yes to everything except for Self-Care and what stokes our spark, or helps us rest)? How about if we try on another assumption going forward. Even if it feels like a huge stretch, we can imagine the wizards, whoever they may be in your life today, feeling really good after their morning run and meditation and eager to meet YOU, the one who will make their group, company, class, institution, day, complete. Of course, we all experience rejection, especially the more we put ourselves out there. Rejection sucks. It’s inevitable. But I think if we go into life’s admissions processes with the assumption that the wizards want us to succeed, and giving them permission to decide we are a better fit for someone else, or another situation or institution, we can greatly diminish our suffering.
“There is a lie that acts like a virus within the mind of humanity. And that lie is, ‘There’s not enough good to go around. There’s lack and there’s limitation and there’s just not enough. The truth is that there’s more than enough good to go around. There are more than enough creative ideas. There is more than enough power. There is more than enough love. There’s more than enough joy. All of this begins to come through a mind that is aware of its own infinite nature. There is enough for everyone. If you believe it, you can see it, if you act from it, it will show up for you. That’s the truth.” - Michael Beckwith
“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” - Lao Tzu
“Everything you need you already have. You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else. Your completeness must be understood by you and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality.” - Wayne Dyer
Here is my prayer for you today. May you know that you are enough, that you are worthy, and blessed with a gift that allows you to be of much-needed service to this world. The wizards in your life want you to succeed, and want you to be in their "club." (And if you don’t believe this, act as if you do - with enough practice, your brain will catch up).
Motivational coach, athlete, mom, entrepreneur. I love helping people mindfully reboot their health & joy.