The fact is that we all like to think we’re a little bit special. Even our difficulties and challenges — we like to think they make us unique. But they don’t — they show us up as excuse-makers. We make excuses for why we haven’t reached our peak. We make excuses for why we haven’t done the things we say we want to do. We make excuses as to why we haven’t taken that course or had that conversation.
And we make these excuses because we feel we should be doing better, and we’re not.
But let me tell you — and it’s really time you realised this — NONE of us have it all together. But yet, some of us still do lots of amazing things. It’s all a question of choice.
I’ve been a bloody-minded, independent, go-for-it-regardless, hungry person my whole life. I’m hungry to learn, hungry to know how things work, hungry to move forward, and hungry to achieve great things. And, so, as a result of that insatiable hunger, I do it all myself. And by consequence, I know a lot about a lot of stuff.
I know how to turn problems into positive things
I know how to look at problems from a million different angles.
I know how to move between different groups or different schools of thought and translate between them
I know how to figure things out no matter what the problem is.
I know how to learn things quickly
I know how to bring my enthusiasm to everything I do
I know how to bring ideas together and make them happen.
I know how to make things better and make better things
I know how to put different ideas together to make an even better idea
Like I said, I know how to do lots of things.
But, there’s one thing I’ve always struggled with — despite a fairly long and successful career as a professional delegator and task-allocator. And the one thing that continues to challenge me each and every day.
In retrospect, it’s probably the number one thing I could attribute to my previous (numerous and varied) failed business ventures. To date, I’ve “failed” at being a Personal Trainer, a copywriter, a marketing consultant, a walking holiday guide, a freelance project manager and a whole pile more things besides. Including, you could argue, being the best mum and wife I could be, being the best daughter I could be…I could go on.
It’s not a question of capability. Oh, no. It’s not that I can’t do each individual thing. Like you, I’m a smart, high-achieving, go-getting person with a gazillion qualifications, experiences, skills and talents.
But do you know the problem with always being able to do things and always being told you can do anything you want to? Well, somewhere along the line you decide that it’s your job, your responsibility, to make sure you do all the things you can possibly do yourself — other people have their own problems, their own ideas, their own ventures, their own sh*t going on. You get dragged into the world of the “shoulds”.
I should be able to do this myself.
I should be able to have it all together.
I should be able to be everything to everyone.
I should be able to make my business work on my own.
I should be able to be a good mum and wife and follow my own dreams all at the same time.
I should make the effort to keep up with my friends.
I should make sure everyone around me is happy.
I should be exercising too.
I should take care of myself.
And don’t even get me started on the “shouldn’ts”. That’s a whole other can of worms.
Now, I am a recovering “should-er” on a daily step plan to overcoming it. They are very small steps. But they are steps nonetheless. And the biggest thing I have to ask myself every day?
Not “SHOULD” I do this. Not do I need to do this. And not even do I WANT to do this (although that isn’t necessarily a bad question either). It is:
“Will this help me move forward towards the life i want in a way that makes me feel good.”
Because you see, it all comes down to how we feel. We think we “should” do things because of how we believe the alternative will make us feel — sad, angry, upset. We do things we think we should so we can NOT feel something. Still with me?
Let me ask you — how does doing all the things you think you should do make you feel?
Maybe angry, maybe sad, maybe resentful, maybe frustrated. Maybe even fatigued, unmotivated. The bottom line is that those feelings aren’t good.
And do you know what’s so sad about that. That we do things to avoid feeling bad. And end up feeling bad anyway. Our power to self sabotage is endless.
And I’m not pointing the finger, because I’m as guilty of this as the next person. But it’s important that we realise what it is that we’re actually doing TO OURSELVES.
And so, getting back to my original point — about none of us having our sh*t together — the main reason this phenomenon seems to happen is the fact that we’re pulled in so many different directions. There are a vast array of competing priorities in our lives — some of them make us feel good. And some of them make us feel bad.
But all of them are a choice. And most importantly, they’re our choice.
Even if they really don’t feel like a choice. Because, you see, it’s actually the choosing that’s the difficult bit. When you’re a smart, capable, superhero-type, none of the things are difficult to do. Until you’ve got seven thousand of them to do all at the same time and you don’t ever get to feel happy about it.
So after all that, what am I saying?
How you use your time is YOUR choice. We all have the same 168 hours in every week.
CHOOSE to ask for help when you need it. From anyone and everyone. Friends, family, a professional. Whoever it is. Choose.
And for the love of all things chocolate and wine, do it now — don’t make it another thing on your list, making you feel crap about yourself. Ring a friend, send an email, meet someone for coffee. Whatever it is — CHOOSE to do something to help you choose.
And get out of your own way. Please.
Originally published at kirstystarmer.com.
Originally published at medium.com