I was at my friend Carolyn’s yesterday afternoon.

And I was feeling pretty upset about the whole awful gold-toothed hackers invading my website thing. Upset and vulnerable. Foggy, even. Like my brain had been hacked too.

She led me through a cool little process. Which is great, because I was in no position to think straight.

I’m going to share it with you because it’s fantastic. And because you guys are smart enough to be able to apply it to your own stuff.

NOTE: Carolyn is — weirdly enough — actually a real person. Not a character in my head. Not an internal monster. Not a fear. Not even a duck. I sometimes get crap from people who think having inner voices means you’re crazy instead of creative — just wanted to be clear on that!


Taking it all apart.

Feelings and qualities.

Carolyn: Tell more about what it feels like to be hacked.
Me: I feel vulnerable. I feel uncomfortable. I feel upset. I feel unsure.
Carolyn: What kind of person would hack into your site?
Me: I don’t know.
Carolyn: What are the qualities of a hacker?
Me: Sneaky. Taking advantage of someone’s vulnerability. Nefarious? Long twirly mustaches?


Carolyn: What do you think is going on here?
Me: It’s like they’re trying to hack into my head!
Carolyn: What does your head need?
Me: I need for my head what my super genius guy is doing for my site. No one should be able to get in uninvited.

What’s going on here?

Carolyn: And do you share any qualities with the hackers?
Me: Sits and thinks about it for a minute or two.

Looking for connections and not finding them.

Me: I honestly don’t see how. I mean, I do have the ability to get into someone else’s headspace because of my weird intuitive superpowers, so there’s a connection there. But I never do it unless a client has expressly given me permission to.
Carolyn: Okay. When would it be good to be a hacker? What about being a hacker could be useful and powerful for you?
Me: ???

Looking for qualities and finding lots of them.

Carolyn: Let me ask this a bit differently. Is there anything you admire about hackers? What qualities do they have that are useful?
Me: Sure. They’re smart. They’re quick. They’re highly capable and competent. They’re good at what they do. They’re goal-oriented. They’re invisible. They get things done.
Carolyn: Wow.

What qualities do I share? What qualities do I need more of?

Carolyn: So these are all good things.
Me: Yes. Absolutely.
Carolyn: Which are the traits that you share? Obviously you’re smart and quick and good at what you do. What about the other ones?
Me: I would love to get better at being goal oriented because I’m not at all. And I’d love to get better at getting things done. And I have weird issues around the word invisible, but I get that there’s a lot of power in there.

Tapping into the hacker’s power and taking it for myself.

Carolyn: What is the power of being invisible?
Me: No one can stop you because they don’t know what you plan to do. No one can stop you and no one can sabotage you and no one can criticize you.
Carolyn: So how would it be useful for you to be invisible?
Me: Oooh. I could have a magic hacker cloak of invisibility to protect both my head and the path to my goals… so that I can ultimately be more visible and more safe and more confident and more capable!
Carolyn: And get things done. Because you’re smart and you’re quick and you’re good at what you do.
Me: Yes!
Carolyn: Tell me more. Describe what it’s like to have a magic hacker cloak of invisibility and protection.


Me babbling excitedly while Carolyn tries not to crack up: Okay, so I can get this cloak of invisibility for my site and for my head.

And what this means is that no one can see how to get in, and no one can see where I’m going.

Sometimes we take the pirate flag down. And then we’re an invisible ship instead of a pirate ship! It’s like a disguise!

You know what, though? I like flying the pirate flag! Well, the pirate-duck flag. I feel annoyed and frustrated when I think about having to take it down.

But that’s stupid. We should just be faster than everybody else! A blur! Almost invisible! Actually, instead of flying the flag… it’s like we’re the ones who are flying. Trippy.

I really do want to be seen, though.

I don’t want to live an invisible life. It’s important to be seen sometimes because being a famous pirate helps inspire other people to lead interesting, adventurous lives.

It empowers them. And that’s important.

It’s just that I really need to protect my ship. And my head. And for that I need to be able to navigate between visibility and protection. And to trust my mission.

When is a hacker not a hacker?

Carolyn: So are you ready to take on some of the qualities of a hacker?
Me: Oh yes. Underneath my magical fog of invisibility that cloaks my pirate ship, I’m fast and capable and powerful.
Carolyn: What about the other qualities? Like “sneaky” and “taking advantage of vulnerability”? When is it useful to have those qualities?
Me: When there are people around who would (intentionally or not) try to get too close to my pirate ship.
Carolyn: For example?
Me: Like if there are hackers trying to get too close to my site. Or if there are critical people whose criticism is getting too close to my head. I can be sneaky about how I close up the openings into that space in order to protect myself.
Carolyn: Yay!

Back to the feelings.

Carolyn: How do you feel about the hackers now?
Me: They were just doing their hacker thing. It’s nothing personal. They have skills and they use them. They were just being bad pirates and I’m a better one. I’m a faster one, too.
Carolyn: So you’re not upset anymore.
Me: No. Bring it on! I have the fastest ship on the open seas and I can hide it whenever I want in a magical cloak! Or maybe in a giant igloo.
Carolyn: ???
Me: They’ll never look there! Good grief. I’m an adventuress. I’m a freaking pirate queen. They’ll have to try a lot harder than that to impress me. Pffft! Hackers.

And that was it.

Here’s the part that drives me crazy but that I also completely love:

The thing I despise contains something I desperately need.

The quality that will protect me is being demonstrated to me in a way that I can’t see it, but if I can find it, I can take its power and transform it.

Take experience. Add water. Stir. Etc.

The Fluent Self