I’m writing to you from snowy, icy Alabama; it sounds odd just to see those words together, doesn’t it? Our state is not equipped for these conditions. Our kids don’t have snow pants, and our towns don’t have plows.
As such, my plans for the week have been upended, and I’ve spent most of the last three days with our 19 month old toddler, who thinks that putting my underwear on her head is a great use of time.
(She also enjoys reading in the bathtub.)
So, my perspective might be a little wacky. But go with me for a minute here.
I’ve been thinking about the quarterly Online Gathering for private coaching clients that I hosted last week. We were talking about limiting beliefs; to protect privacy, I won’t say what my clients said. But I shared one of my biggest.
It goes like this …
If I just get through X, then everything will be better!
When I check Y off my list, then I will totally calm down.
When Z is over, then I will get my life back.
In psychological literature, this is known as the “arrival fallacy.” Once you accomplish this or that goal, THEN you will be happy.
(Fun fact: I’ve read that Tal Ben-Shahar, one of our Pursue Your Path Series speakers, was the first to introduce this term in his bestselling book Happier.)
Can you relate? Have you ever heard yourself making statements like these? If so, please know that you are not alone. Particularly in the time of COVID, it is SO tempting to pin all of our hopes on the future. To effectively press pause on personal responsibility right now.
That said, it’s also a dangerous game. If you decide that external circumstances must change in order for you to feel better, then you effectively make yourself a victim of those circumstances.
And in the process, you lose time that you can never get back.
This Used to Drive Me Crazy
I’m totally guilty of this, even prior to COVID. For example: It used to secretly drive me crazy when I heard friends and family members regularly give voice to this “I will feel so much better when…” belief.
(This is a great way to identify your own subconscious limiting beliefs – just notice when other people’s belief systems trigger you massively.)
In the past I’d just nod or make sympathetic noises, but deep down I wanted to respond by shouting:
“LISTEN! You’ve been saying things like this for YEARS! But your life will NOT, in fact, magically calm down in a couple of months. That’s not how it goes!
You’ll find a way to start a new project or say yes to something else that will lead to another season of chaos.
And then six months from now you’re going to tell ME the same story, and I don’t want to hear it! The words are empty! Unless YOU change, none of THIS is going to change, either.
It’s not about the stuff “out there.” It’s about this need you have to prove that you can handle all of the craziness, that you can overachieve your way out of it.
And even though you’re exhausted right now, unless you take ownership and grab the wheel, you are going to set yourself up to do the whole darn thing again. Please, please, don’t do that. Please make different choices this time.”
Bring Yourself to Your Own Attention
As you can see, I had some Big Feelings about this. And lately I’ve been realizing ever so clearly that the person I’ve ALWAYS been talking to with that rant is myself.
I want *me* to stop blaming circumstances and start looking inward.
I want *me* to pay attention to my patterns of overwork.
I want *me* to create a feeling of spaciousness, rather than stress.
The Big Feelings were never about “them”, not really. That was just me, trying to bring myself to my own attention.
There was a part of me that argued that I didn’t have time to write to you today, that I should just wait until next week, when presumably we’ll have more childcare and it will feel “better”.
But I’m done falling for the lie of “later is better.” I’m done putting off what matters to me until later.
Life is now. It’s only ever been now.
Unhooking from the Lie of Later
So, dear heart, over to you.
Where have you been putting off your real life until some unspecified “later”?
What dream have you been telling yourself you can’t start working toward now, even though it calls out to you and pulls your sleeves and won’t leave you alone?
Or maybe for you it’s not about doing more – maybe it’s about doing LESS.
What needs have you forgone, even though your spirit begs for them? (Is it sleep, or silence, or the simple pleasure of having more space to transition from one thing to the next …?)
Either way, give yourself some of what you need. Enjoy it, now.
Even if it’s just an hour a week, or 15 minutes a day. It all counts. It all adds up.
Just like every single flake of snow and drop of sleet adds up to us not leaving the house …
You can make a blizzard of beauty in your life, one small choice at a time.
Yours in possibility,
Leave a comment below and let me know:
What “lie of later” are you rejecting today? What are you going to enjoy, now?
PS – Six years ago I started working on a book, the one that would become You Don’t Owe Anyone. I’m thrilled to share that it’s being published by Broadleaf Books and released April 20.
That said, I will be honest with you – there are times when I think that preparing for the book launch is like running a race with a giant boulder strapped to my back. (Ironically, the book’s subtitle is, Free Yourself from the Weight of Expectations.)
It feels crazy to plan a launch in the midst of parenting in a pandemic and running a business and a bunch of other weighty responsibilities I haven’t even written about yet.
But as soon as I typed that metaphor above, I recognized it for the falsehood that it is.
I don’t have a boulder strapped to my back. I have wings.
Why? Because of this community. Because of every single one of YOU who has shown up and said, “I love your work and I’m buying a copy,” and “I’m in for the launch team, let’s do this.”
As I mentioned in last week’s missive, you do NOT need to be on social media or have a “big network” to be on the reader launch team for You Don’t Owe Anyone.
If you’re willing to preorder and write a quick, honest review on launch day, you’re in.