Ok so we left off with “Ahh, I can’t do it!” Today we’ll discuss how we kick ourselves in the ass to get rid of that mentality.
How life has gotten in the way and what my experience has been either succumbing to it or breaking up the usual pattern?
Cathy: A few years ago I began watching my life as a spectator. It didn’t happen consciously- it just kind of…happened. I altered my plans a little bit here, a little bit there. I left a decade-long career to be more present for my newborn son. I dropped out of graduate school when my husband graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering and almost $100,000 in debt. I left the tiny country town we had moved to with the determination to build a life….and unpacked in the very place I’d sworn never to return to, because it was closer to the dead-end job I had accepted. I took the first apartment I saw and gave up my dream of owning a home. I gave up writing short stories and letters to my kids. I gave up dreaming about publishing a book.
I gave up.
I remember the breaking of the pattern so clearly- mostly because it was so painful. It’s never easy breaking through a shell that you’ve built, especially when it’s become so thick the light can no longer get in.
“Do you remember when you decided to give up your career, and I said I didn’t think it was what you were meant to do anyway? And when you dropped out of grad school so we could stop the bleeding with our debt? And I promised that one day, when it was your turn, I would do the same for you?”
I was lying in bed watching sirens whizzing past our apartment, as often happened at all hours, wondering if everyone was ok, if it would wake the kids, if I would get any sleep that night. My husband’s voice broke into my thoughts and I turned slowly to look at him.
“Ok…it’s time. It’s your turn. You’ve let your whole life go, and that’s not fair, and it’s hurting you and me and our kids. We need you back- we need you to relight that fire that used to be in there. I’m here, and I’ll do whatever I can to support you and cheer you on- but you need to come back. Stop putting yourself aside. You can do this and you will.”
“No. I’m done. This is my life. I clean up messes and fax things and read bedtime stories. You’re the success. I’m just…this.”
Then he cracked through the shell, shattered it.
“I need you to go talk to someone. I need you to get yourself back. And I need you to do it now. Please.”
I was angry- furious, actually. I had given up my whole life for him, and my kids, and now he was pissed off because I wasn’t thrilled about it?!
But for whatever reason, I went. I saw someone. And I learned something.
I gave up everything because I decided it was best for us. It was my decision to put the necessities in front of my dreams.
It was my decision to give up.
And you know what? I needed to break that cycle.
I needed to turn my dreams into necessities.
So I did.
I forced myself to write every day. I pushed for more challenging work at the dead-end job. I stopped dismissing the house listings that my husband emailed to me. I dug deep, and when I started to falter I looked at my kids learning from every move I made. And I looked at my husband cheering me on like I had always done for him. And I dug deeper.
Breaking a pattern is such a powerful action- I never DREAMED that setting my energy on a more positive, determined path would yield so much in such a short time.
We found our dream house. A few months later, I sat in our dining room and pushed “publish” on my first blog post while my husband sat next to me, holding my hand and cheering me on.
I had completely given up on happiness. But a little bit here, a little bit there…and the pattern was broken.
Sometimes you can do it yourself; other times you need someone to help you crack the shell.
Angela: This is a very interesting question to answer from a 24 year old perspective. I can’t really say that there is much life to get in my way. I don’t have kids, I work as a substitute teacher where I pick and choose my assignments, I don’t pay any bills, I live with my parents. And actually, that’s what is PERFECT. Because I don’t have life to blame, I can see the root of what gets in the way of what I want…myself. It is one hundred percent fear and self-doubt for me that gets in the way. When I graduated college, I decided that I was going to make life work without getting a Master’s degree. I was pretty spent after over a decade of schooling and was relieved to be out. Then I found that getting anywhere that I truly wanted to go wasn’t quite possible without a Master’s. Then I found coaching.
It gave my access to making an impact for people in the way that I wanted to and the training was unlike any school experience…or any experience for the matter, that I’ve had before. The conversations were uncommon and cut through all the bullshit. It was INCREDIBLY uncomfortable to be seen in that way. I now understand that whatever the first thing is that we say is getting in the way, the real answer is always several degrees deeper.
So the question for me is how have I gotten in the way and how have I overcome that?
I’ve gotten in the way by hiding. I get really stingy about the impact that I make. I play small and I don’t speak about the work that I do and I don’t invite people to sample sessions and I don’t ask for referrals because I get to avoid heartbreak. The heartbreak of someone saying no to the life they want, the heartbreak of seeing something for someone that they aren’t seeing, the heartbreak of not being able to do the work that I love.
I adopt the belief that I’m not ___ enough to attain the life and level of success that I want. I’m not old enough, I’m not experienced enough, I’m not good enough at business, I’m not ballsy enough to say the thing that would likely get me fired but that I know will make the most difference.
I buy into the belief that everything is hard. Basically, I just trust my feelings more than I trust my brilliance.
Have I overcome that? Hmm, I’m in the thick of it. As you can see, I am blatantly aware of what is holding me back. I have a coach that points it out once a week for an hour and my clients mirror it all back to me. The simple answer is that I’m choosing to practice something different so that I can adopt different beliefs, so that I can create different results in my life. Literally, doing ANYTHING differently can be the catalyst to breaking the cycle.
Through coaching, I’ve been introduced to acknowledgement. Basically, people acknowledge you for what you bring to the world by just existing (Joy, Generosity, Power, Spirit)…outside of achievements and the doing.
I now ask for it, I now welcome it and I acknowledge others. It’s a way for me to disrupt the story that I don’t bring value. I ASK for support, something that made me highly uncomfortable previously. I also just speak more. Being seen and heard breaks up my pattern quit nicely and it’s super simple. Simple is good for a person like me who overcomplicates as a way to self sabotage. Ahhh, I love inner work.
Hopefully we’re reaching someone who needs a kick in the ass themselves- and if not, we’re having fun together so it’s a win either way. See you Monday!