Do you ever wonder about the impact you’re having on the world?
In 10 years I will reach the age my mother was when she passed away and, as anyone who has lost a parent prematurely will know, it’s a milestone we can’t take lightly.
Realising this lately reminded me I may never get around to all those lofty goals I have planned for my life, particularly if I don’t begin work on them sometime soon.
If I knew I only had 10 years, what would I change?
This question can put a lot of things into perspective.
The truth is we overestimate what we can do in a year while wildly underestimating what we can achieve in a decade, or even a lifetime.
It’s been many years but I clearly remember this about my mother’s funeral: The number of people that swelled the aisles of our local church to pay their respects. In my mind’s eye I can still see all those people standing at the back of the church. Hundreds queued to shake our hands in sympathy that day, many of whom I’d never laid eyes on before.
I was still young enough to be shocked that my mother had this other life I knew so little about. As a nurse at the local hospital she had cared for the elderly relatives of many people in our town. One after another they spoke of her kindness and warmth. It was deeply comforting and I was struck by the massive impact she’d had through her work in our community.
As I edge ever closer to the age she was when she died, I find myself thinking of her legacy more and more.
A decade is a long enough timespan to do something worthwhile. The tendency is to be hard on yourself and wonder what the hell you’ve been doing up to now. I mean I’m 46 already and while I’ve made a start, I have yet to make the kind of contribution that I aspire to.
In calmer moments, I get over it by reminding myself that while I still, God willing, have time to do many good things in this world, I should take my cue from my mam, who even in death was still teaching me about the important things in life.
If you want to make a difference, by all means dream big, but don’t forget it’s who you are that will be remembered in the end.
What do you want your legacy to be?
Have you ever felt as though you were living the same day over and over again? It’s frustrating when the job you once loved starts to feel like Groundhog Day. It’s easy to blame yourself. Why can’t I stick with anything longer than 12 months? Why do I get bored so easily? Before you do anything rash it’s worth taking a closer look at the reason why you’re feeling this way.
In my experience, the number one reason people get bored is because the job is no longer a challenge. How often have you played it safe when it comes to taking on a job? If you’re bored it could be because you’re playing small and not doing all that you’re capable of.
This happened to one of my favourite characters in a recent episode of Million Dollar Listing New York. If you don’t watch the show, here’s the overview. Ryan had a career crisis because he was feeling bored with his business. He consulted a psychologist, took some time off and tried to reconnect with the work he was doing in the early days when everything was new and exciting. After a lot of soul searching he realised that he was bored because he’d stopped taking risks in his business (spoiler alert: he went out and bought a Brooklyn real estate agency!).
You know what I’m going to say next.
1) Figure out how you can take more risks
What can you do that would be a stretch for you now? What bold moves can you take to achieve your version of a Brooklyn real estate brokerage?
If leaving your current job is not an option, can you develop a side hustle? This could be giving talks at conferences and events, hosting your own event or taking on some consulting work. I have done this myself in the past. When I wanted to improve my public speaking skills (and get over my nerves), I spoke at events and took on additional projects like teaching workshops. All of these tasks pushed me outside of my comfort zone where I could grow and develop my skills.
If you want to take on more responsibility at work start with how you can make life easier for your manager. What could you offer to take off of her plate that would be make your role more challenging? This brings me to my next point.
2) Ask for what you want
You would be surprised by how many people I see unhappy at work but unwilling to ask for a change in their role. It’s funny how we resist taking the simplest action to change our careers. Go and ask for what you want. Most managers want to have happy staff so if you want to have more responsibility or reduce your hours to take a course or start a business, your manager may be more open to it than you think.
The key to doing this successfully is to make it clear what you want and then be willing to negotiate to make it happen. Don’t give up if he says no to your first request. It’s important to work together to come up with a solution that works for everyone.
But what if you’re not sure what you want?
3) Become an observer
Start by becoming an observer of what you do right now. You will find valuable clues about what could be next for you. When you don’t know who you’re becoming, you can begin by articulating the 5 per cent that you can see (a fabulous post by Tara Mohr on this here).
Here’s how to do this. Set an intention to observe your day to gain insight about your situation. Then switch into observer mode at work. Watch yourself as you perform your daily tasks, interact with people and go about your business. What do you notice about how you conduct yourself? The impact you have? How you feel? Notice where you feel the most joy, the most resentment and keep an eye out for situations that bring out the best in you and make you feel good at the same time. It’s as though you are sitting on your shoulder watching everything play out. You will naturally switch back and forth between observer and doer which is fine. I always discover something new when I do this.
4) Share your feelings with your colleagues
In Million Dollar Listing, Ryan consulted with a psychologist and his wife. But if you can, I believe talking things through with a colleague can be helpful. If you have a good relationship with your co-workers they can give you valuable insights into why you might be feeling less than enthused about your job. Maybe burnout is an issue in your industry and your colleagues have been through similar challenges. They can also give you helpful feedback about what they see as your strengths. Remember that the people you work with, including your manager, might have advice on how you could vary your role or switch to another job altogether. It’s ok to admit that you’re not fully enjoying your work and ask for help.
5) Clear the clutter
I’m talking about the mental clutter that often weighs us down when it comes to work. Whether it’s the thousand emails sitting in your inbox, the number of meetings you attend, or the colleague who consistently asks you for time-consuming favours. Whatever it is, ask yourself: What do I need to let go of here? What’s getting in the way of me doing my best work? Some of the issues that have come up for me in the past include: people pleasing, the desire to do everything perfectly and the need to do everything myself. Trust me, the world won’t fall apart if you don’t respond to every email or explain to a colleague that you can’t respond to every request. How can you help them in a way that’s less time consuming for you? Can you delegate this aspect of your job?
When you decide to let go of the things that are getting in the way you’ll open up more space for the work you need to focus on. Be warned, letting go can make you feel a bit wobbly at first because you’re breaking new ground. If this is bringing up a few objections for you, start with something small. Once you see results, it will give you the courage to tackle bigger issues.
6) Review your goals
What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months? Write down your top three goals and think about how your job will help you to achieve them, whether it’s continuously developing your skills, gaining experience or buying a new home. Reframe your current role as a positive addition to your life. Instead of constantly thinking: I don’t want to go to work today, a new affirmation might be: My job supports my personal and professional growth.
If it turns out that this job is not going to help you achieve that goal, then of course it’s time to look for a new opportunity. The advantage of doing these exercises is that you will gain so much clarity on whether your current role is still right for you, or whether you’ve outgrown it and it’s time to move on.
I would love to hear how these tips work out for you in the comments. In the meantime I wish you an amazing and inspiring day 🙂
“I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.” – Maya Angelou
How do you go when it comes to making decisions?
If you’re anything like me, not being able to make a decision on something important can drive you crazy.
As I’ve discovered, what holds us back the most are our own fears and negative thoughts about the choices we have in front of us. I’ve come up with a couple of hacks to help you make decisions with confidence and reclaim your power.
First I review my options and ask:
1) Which one (or two) options feel right instinctively?
Hint: Your first thought is usually your best thought when it comes to accessing your intuition. What I’ve found after making some tough decisions in the past couple of years is that out of the many choices on offer, there is always at least one that provokes an inner YES. That doesn’t mean it’s always the one you should choose but it’s an important consideration.
If you can’t access your intuitive feelings about this choice, you need to slow down and stop ruminating on the problem. The more relaxed and accepting you can be about the process the more you can access your intuition.
After I do this I ask:
2) What would love do?
What’s the most loving choice you could make here? When I talk about love I don’t just mean what’s best for other people in the situation, although that’s important too. I mean what’s the most loving thing you could do for yourself right now? As women this is often the last place we go (if we go there at all!) when it should be one of our first considerations. I find this question cuts through all of the ‘shoulds’ rolling around in my brain and stops me from giving too much weight to what other people think.
Hopefully this has narrowed down the field. Now review your options and ask:
3) If I choose this, will it make me truly happy?
This question can be a real game-changer. If you’re forcing yourself to settle in some way it’s going to become obvious when you ask this. Which option available to you now is going to make you the happiest? When you get up in the morning, when you pick your kids up from school, when you look at your bank account. This can help you to cut through all the clutter and make more empowered decisions.
Another tip. When I’m making a decision I’m also guided by my Core Desired Feelings as well as meditation and Tarot. But it’s worth bearing in mind that sometimes patience is required when it comes to making the right decision. It may be true that you need to do more research, sit with your choices for a little longer or wait for better timing.
Let me know in the comments if these questions resonated with you.
Do you have any other tips for making empowered decisions?
1) I’m too old and no one will want to hire me:-(
2) I can’t earn decent money doing what I love.
3) I don’t have enough time to study/attend interviews/figure out what I really want to do.
4) My life is already too stressful. I haven’t got the energy to focus on changing my job.
5) The industry I want to work in is full of low-paid workers in casual employment.
6) The job market is too competitive.
7) If I started my own business I wouldn’t have a consistent income.
8) I’m not an expert in anything.
9) I can’t change my job because I have a mortgage and kids.
10) The field I’m interested in is too political/specialised/hard to break into.
11) My husband/wife/mother wouldn’t like it if I went back to study.
12) Someone else deserves the job/promotion more than I do.
13) I haven’t worked hard enough for it.
14) There are no opportunities for someone like me. You need experience/a higher degree/more confidence.
15) I wouldn’t want to work 60 hour weeks and all the social workers/lawyers/business owners I know work those hours
16) The economy is in a downturn so I should hang on to the job I have until things improve.
17) I want to be in a senior role but I don’t want to manage a team or take on more responsibility.
18) It would take too long to retrain, and then I would be too old (see pt 1 above).
19) You need to be really aggressive / cut-throat to make it in that industry.
20) I’d have to take a pay cut.
21) I don’t know if I would really like it.
22) I don’t know what to do.
23) I should probably wait until the kids go to college/my husband gets a better job/we move house/I win the lottery…
Do you recognise any excuses on this list?
The first step towards making any change in your life is getting honest and real about what’s stopping you (hint: it usually has a lot more to do with what’s going on between your ears than reality).
As Woody Allen has said, 80 per cent of success is showing up.
What will you show up for today?
PS: If you want to get over your objections and create a viable plan for your future I can help. You can book your Free Discovery Session here to chat with me first, or book your Single Shot Coaching Session here.
It’s hard to believe we’ve already passed the midway point of the year. Have you taken your nose off the grindstone long enough to notice?
If not I want you to take a breather for a minute and read on, because with the full moon in Capricorn this week the energy is perfect for a mid year review of your goals. It’s time to reflect, regroup and step back from what you’ve been doing to see what’s working and what’s not.
Here are 8 questions to help you renew your focus for the second half of the year.
1) What do you want to create more of in your life right now? What do you most want to feel, have or experience this year?
2) What do you want to preserve in your life or keep doing because it’s profitable, working for you or just plain fun?
3) What do you need to eliminate, stop doing or cut from your schedule?
4) What (or who) is making your life difficult or frustrating and why? Is it something you can easily resolve e.g. buy a new laptop, move house. Or is it something you need to work on accepting?
5) What is the best thing you’ve done all year? The thing you’re most proud of? How can you create more of this in your life?
6) What do you need to forgive or let go of?
7) What do you need to accept right now? About your circumstances? Your skills? Your place of work? Yourself?
8) What are you deeply grateful for in your life? Who do you need to thank?
Review your goals from earlier this year. What needs to change? Riff on your answers in your journal. Review and refine as you go. Remember you still have over 5 months left til the end of the year, plenty of time to bring your plans to fruition and create more of the life you want 🙂
PS: If you want to do a complete reevaluation of your goals, you should join us next month for the Goals with Soul Desire Map Workshop in Prahran. Go here for all the details, I’d love to see you there!
I know you’ve been there too. It feels like pushing a giant boulder up a hill. You keep pushing even though you feel burdened and trapped. You can’t see any option but to keep going. If you stop you’ll just get flattened by that damned boulder. You can’t even complain because you have no one to blame but yourself.
After months, even years of this, you wake up and see clearly for the first time, that freedom is just one decision away. It’s been there all along. You couldn’t see it before because you were too busy doing what you felt you should, ought, must do.
Like those times when you:
Let someone else dictate your schedule or agenda without question or pushback.
Stopped yourself from pressing publish or send because you were too afraid of what your peers and colleagues might think.
Followed someone else’s advice because you didn’t trust yourself enough to forge your own path.
We humans are hardwired to please and I believe unfailingly in generosity, collaboration and taking the opinions of others on board, but there’s something I’ve learned the deep dark hard way.
If you don’t honour your desires, then you’re in no position to serve others.
To be really useful, you must give from a full cup.
I’m not talking about getting enough rest or ‘me’ time, although that’s important too. I’m talking about saying yes to the projects that are calling out to you, honouring the commitments you make to yourself (yes including a new career), and most of all, allowing more joy into your tightly scheduled work life.
The rewards for following the call of your heart are great even when decisions feel tough in the moment.
Because no one ever achieved their dreams by pleasing others or avoiding letting them down at all costs.
The good news is you won’t be doing any of this alone.
When you honour your desires you get to co-create with the universe, God, spirit, source – whatever name resonates – in all that you do.
This amazing power source is always available to you.
The question is: are you going to work with it, or keep pushing it away like that annoying boulder?