Last year was probably one of the most difficult I’ve experienced in my business. Not because anything terrible happened, but for a while there I lost my way.
One of the things I’m occasionally guilty of is ignoring my gut instinct. Which is unusual, because listening to my gut instinct is the very thing that helps me most in the work that I do with my clients. But you know how we sometimes ignore our own great advice? It’s kind of like that.
I allowed myself to be carried away with a vision that wasn’t my own and then suddenly found myself in a place where I was overwhelmed and drained. Deep down I never stopped loving what I do, but I had become sidetracked and my focus wasn’t clear.
It was only when I acknowledged how depleted I felt that I knew it was time to step away and reflect on what really mattered.
I did that – and realised I had some tough decisions to make. Decisions that, at the time, I really wanted to resist.
I’m fascinated by the fact that so many of us settle for choices that make us unhappy. I know there are times that change seems almost impossible, but there is always something we can do to improve our lives if we can move beyond the following barriers:
Worrying about what other people think
This one is huge, particularly for people pleasers like me. As I was running through the options I had last year, the one thing that mattered most to me was my credibility. I help people find their path in life – what does it say about me if I’ve lost my own way?
In the end, I decided that some people would understand and others wouldn’t and ultimately, it didn’t really matter, because what I was doing was unsustainable and I was unhappy. The only responsibility I have in my life is to make sure I do everything I can to live a life that I’m proud of and inspired by, so that I can role model something wonderful to our daughters and be a positive and loving person to be around.
Better the devil you know
We like what we know. We get comfortable, even with the things we don’t like – at least they’re familiar. It’s true that no role, partner or lifestyle choice you make will be absolutely perfect, but at least aim for 7/10 in terms of satisfaction (this is the number Martin Seligman classifies as ‘happy’).
There are no guarantees that you’ll be happier when you make a change, but in the nearly 50 years that I’ve been alive, I can tell you this. I have never regretted any change I’ve made. Some things worked out, others didn’t. And when they didn’t, I just changed again.
I don’t know what I want
This is something I hear often. It’s ok if you’re someone who doesn’t have one clear passion or a clear vision for what you want from your life. Look at that as a positive – you have a beautiful clean canvas and you can paint any picture you like. Begin by just exploring. What are some of the things you love?
I’m not good enough
When we compare ourselves to others, we tend to focus on our shortcomings rather than our strengths. Other people are smarter, funnier, prettier, taller, skinnier, more articulate. The list is endless, particularly when you’re using social media and just seeing the highlights of someone’s life. There will always be people with attributes you don’t have, but focus on your strengths and, as much as you can, look for ways to bring these to life.
I don’t have the energy or the motivation
This happens to all of us from time to time. The difference between the ‘doers’ and the ‘talkers’ of this world is simply that the doers ‘do’ things. Often the energy and the motivation come once we’ve moved beyond procrastination.
So just do one thing today, and then acknowledge yourself as someone who is moving beyond the resistance to change. From my experience, it will work out beautifully in the end.
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