Sounds like a strange statement for a life coach to make but trust me on this…. For the past 8 years, I have supported thousands of women and men around the world who felt stuck, uncertain, at a crossroads and trying to figure out what their next step would be. The problem always came down to these three things:
- Conflict of desires
- Lack of self belief
- Personal resources of time, energy and attention
We’ll start with conflicts of desires.
We all have things that are important to us, things we want to do, be and have this week, this year and in our lives. Often, and I mean really often- the things that we desire are in conflict with each other.
For example: I want to be here with my family and friends but I also want to travel the world and have adventures. I want to be a stay at home parent and have that time with my kids when they’re small but I also want to be my own person, have my own career, go to work and honour that side of me. I want to start my own business doing something creative and holistic but I want to feel secure and know with certainty exactly how much I’ll be earning each month. I want to meet a partner, fall in love but I want to keep my heart safe and myself protected from potential disappointment and heartache.
It’s so normal to have these internal conflicts and a lot of the time, we’re not aware or we don’t use the word ‘conflict’- we just think we’re nuts because we keep going around in circles and don’t make decisions on anything.
We have this expectation that we should and could be able to do it all- if only……
If only we were good enough, more efficient, smarter, fitter, more confident, better with our finances etc etc. We look at the highlight reels of other people’s social media accounts and we end up feeling like crap- she can do it – why can’t I? There must be something wrong with me. I’m too lazy, not disciplined enough, not pretty enough, not old enough, not young enough, not smart enough etc. I really want to call BS on this.
We have all been conditioned from an incredible young age to value certain things- marketers and advertisers have invested billions into making you think a particular way, feel particular feelings and desire certain experiences and products in your life. But when you break out of the brainwashing, do some deep personal work and detach from external expectations- you find that what you truly desire stands out more. The fog lifts and the truth hits you right between the eyes. You’re clear on what you want because you know, you truly know what you value. Can you imagine that- feeling crystal clear on who you are and what you will create your life around?
Then, once you have the clarity. Then comes the next obstacle!
Lack of self belief or confidence
So, you know what you want. You know what would make your heart sing and bring a big smile to your face BUT it’s really scary. Who are you to think you could do something like that? It’s too different.. It’s risky…. I could be hurt or disappointed……What will people think??
I find it interesting that when people have a big dream combined with bucket loads of fear- that they manage to tell themselves that obviously the dream isn’t meant for them. If it was, they’d just go and do it and not be afraid. They take the fear and resistance as a sign that this isn’t their path. Again- I’ve to call BS on this. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing so get comfortable with being uncomfortable if you want to have a life that excites you and brings you new experiences.
We all have stories that we tell ourselves about who we are. A lot of the time, these are old stories that we’ve been carrying with us for years- allowing them to shape our beliefs and decisions in life. If these stories aren’t serving you well or if they’re holding you back- it’s time to look at them properly and challenge them. When did you start telling yourself that you’re no good at x,y,z? When did you begin to define yourself with limitations? What happened that caused you to stop showing that side of yourself to the world?
When self belief or confidence is lacking- you need to lean deep into your courage instead.
You will have a choice: You can stay where you are… Or you can be brave. Practicing courage means you may feel uncomfortable and vulnerable but that you are moving forwards. It doesn’t need to be leaps and bounds- just small steps closer to the truth of what you’re about and what you desire.
As the brilliant researcher and teacher Brene Brown says ‘Courage is a heart word.’ The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart’- being clear on who you are and showing up as that person each day.
Let’s look at the next reason why we should stop trying to have and do it all.
Personal resources of time, energy and attention
I want to shine a light on this issue as it has comes up regularly for both myself personally and for my clients. I’m talking about taking ownership of our personal resources of time, energy and attention in relation to our desires and priorities.
We can have as many goals and dreams and desires as we like, but we cannot have unlimited priorities.
Our goals and dreams need our attention, they are worthy of our attention. What we forget is that the personal resources of time, energy, money and attention that we have- has limits. I’m not saying this to rain on your parade, I’m saying this because this is one of the main reasons why life tends to get messy and frustrating, especially for women.
You see, often, we give away our personal resources to others without thinking of it or blinking an eye. We take on extra work to be helpful even though we’re already a bit swamped, we help our partners sort out their careers even though ours could really do with attention as well, we babysit and help out family even though we say we never have time to go out and meet someone. Far too often, we give away our time, our energy, our focus and our attention and have little left for our own dreams, desires and plans. Like it or not, but we have been conditioned to do so and we barely realise.
No more sweetie.
It’s time to step up and I’m challenging you to hold your personal resources of time, energy and attention as sacred. I’m not saying don’t be kind or helpful, but don’t be a pushover. Put boundaries in place and protect your own dreams. It is your time to pay attention to you, to spend your resources on you, to be aware, to be brave and to activate your true desires.
I am challenging you to hold your personal resources as precious – if you’re going to make changes and waves in your life in 2019- you’ll need to have your back. You are worthy of taking the time you need to create the life that you desire and it will take time, it will take effort, it will take attention and you need to be prepared to give yourself the resources you need.
I could talk for hours on this topic alone but just know, if this resonates with you that you are not alone. Self sacrificing, attending to other people’s needs, helping, supporting, nurturing those around us comes naturally to us as we’ve been raised with certain gender and cultural expectations and pressures. Now I’m asking you to shine a light on this, be aware of it and practice courage and self compassion if you need to make changes in that area!
Just be aware that if you get to the end of 2019 and are scratching your head wondering where the time went and wondering why you haven’t made any progress on your own desires- giving it away does tend to be the common culprit!
So, stop trying to have and do it all, simply for the fact that if you look deeply- I bet that a lot of what your energy and attention is spent on; isn’t actually important to you.
So get clear on what you desire, on what you value and set your goals based on that. Lean deep into your courage, sit with that vulnerability – it’s meant to feel uncomfortable and understand that you cannot have unlimited priorities. Be wild. Be bold. Make yourself and your hearts desires your top focus this year.