I’m always a bit intrigued when I meet people who think that, because of the work I do in personal and professional development, my life must be totally sorted.
As much as I’d like to say it is, of course it is not.
I become stuck, feel envious, get bogged down in noise, get angry ‘unnecessarily’, let things overwhelm me, and just about everything else.
I argue with my husband, worry about money from time to time, have little patience with the stepkids sometimes (who are now in their 20s), want to hibernate away from everyone and just cannot be bothered with doing “today’s” work.
And it is a big “however” …
I possess a deep sense of confidence and calm, knowing where these things are coming from and exactly how to get back on track. I do not berate myself (as much) anymore nor do I judge myself as a failure in some way.
Every day, I know some squirrel is probably going to tempt me or throw a curve ball in my direction. And that’s okay. In fact, it is part of the fun.
Action – What magic pill did I swallow? None (though a glass of wine or G&T can certainly be helpful).
It is a matter of the choices I make on a frequent basis. These are the same choices you can make too:
• Practice some degree of mindfulness throughout the day
• Pause in gratitude frequently
• Praise myself for the things that I do that are a stretch
• Notice and acknowledge others for who they are
• Purposefully shut off (or at least tone down) the inner critic
• Stop listening to all the “secrets” – I know me best
• Believe in something bigger than me
• Raise my self-awareness constantly
• Be a lifelong learner.
In other words, many little decisions made throughout the day, every day. No magic pill. No “30 days to a million dollars”. Just daily consistent, persistent attitude and actions.
We all have ’em.
No, not butts, though we all have those too.
You know … that little word that stops you from taking the next step. From choosing A or B (or C or Q). From feeling more positive about yourself. From living the life you say you want.
You know … these buts:
• But what if I look foolish?
• But I have too much to do!
• But no one will understand.
• But it won’t work for me.
• But I’d rather be doing something else.
And, of course, the big but (sorry, couldn’t resist) …
But what if I fail?!
There are only three things that squash buts.
- Taking action on even the smallest thing that’s creating the but
- A nice mix of accountability and encouragement
- Higher self-awareness so you know where that version of but is coming from
Action – List one ‘but’ you know you have that is getting in your way. Just write it down. Let it sit for a couple of days. Then list all the different actions you could take, the type of accountability and encouragement you’d like and your intuitive sense of what is underlying the fear (which, of course, ‘but’ reflects).
Then see what you want to do next.
Are you a problem-solver?
If you said yes, then I’m going to show you how that is getting in your way. Yes, you read that correctly – getting in your way.
Don’t get me wrong – being good at rectifying a situation that is not working well is an important skill. But someone who identifies themself as a ‘problem-solver’ will constantly be on the look-out for a problem to solve.
So guess what happens to everything that hits their radar?! You got it! It becomes some sort of problem!
As a problem-solver, you wake up each day seeking out problems (intentionally or not) because your identity as a problem-solver counts on you finding something to fix! You are subconsciously driven to seek out and destroy problems to fit with your self-image.
But what if there are no problems to solve? Well, then you will either create one and then fix it, or you will simply interpret something as a problem, even if it isn’t one. You will consistently look for the negative in most situations.
It becomes a way of being.
Yes, retain the skill of rectifying situations, but drop the identity of being a ‘problem solver’. It clouds and darkens your activities, relationships, behaviors and, of course, outcomes.
Action – The first step in changing this is to stop referring to yourself as a ‘problem-solver’.
So, what would you rather be known as? Perhaps a great friend? A reliable colleague? A good business person?
If you are going to choose to identify yourself in some way, find a more positive persona to live up to.