I know there is already a bunch of written work out there about the holidays but alas, I couldn’t resist.
For most of us, the holiday celebrations coming our way in 2020 won’t look like the ones of yesteryear. But does that have to be a bad thing?
What if we just made it okay for things to be new and different? Maybe even radically different.
I understand that people are often challenged by change, but what if instead of resisting, we just embraced it?
What are the emotions that often come up around the holidays?
Yes, there is joy. Yes, there is celebration and togetherness and love and laughter – no doubt.
But what about the other feelings that can creep in. Come on – I can’t be the only person who has also experienced obligation, necessity, responsibility and expectation.
When it comes to the holidays, we often find ourselves doing things for no reason other than it just being the way we have always done it.
Did you survive?
Are you breathing again?
This election season seems to have been so much more frenetic than any other time I have experienced. And it makes me curious.
If you have ever read my blog before you might know I am not one to spin the wheel of blame. I am all about taking responsibility for our emotions, so I am hesitant to think the craziness is the election’s fault. Or Trump’s. Or Biden’s. Or the Republicans. Or the Democrats.
Many would say it’s because this is the most important election in history. But it wouldn’t be the first time we were told that.
The media has ramped everything up and we have been subject to an unprecedented barrage of one-upmanship. When they are done telling you what’s going on, they fill the time with speculation on things that might happen or things we could see or may well experience in the hopes of holding your attention.
We are taunted with the possibility of new breaking developments.
Being a news addict is big these days.
Perhaps you see the news as an important part of your day. Maybe having your finger on the informational pulse of the world is vital, possibly even for your job.
Or you could be like the rest of us, where we have the belief that we ‘need’ to know… but we are often unsure as to why.
Many years ago, I listened to an interview with someone I had a lot of respect for. And they publicly admitted to not partaking in the news.
The concept blew me away as I had always found myself trying desperately to keep up on things because I didn’t want to be uninformed. Even though I found it exhausting.
But in that moment, I felt like I was given permission.
And if the concept intrigues you, I would like to officially invite you to join me.
Just say no and stop watching the news.
While I know I just lost a bunch of you, let me chat with the rest.
So many people, when asked, will say their life goal is to be happy. Come to think of it, even the Dali Lama said it, and he is pretty high up the food chain.
It sounds lovely and oh so honorable, but it’s almost as though we have developed an obsessive relationship with it. Happiness can be illusive, and when we pursue it, we are often left feeling full of self judgement. It can make us feel flawed.
So where does happiness come from? We often believe happiness comes as a result of something outside us. Our accomplishments. Relationships. The success of our children. Money. A new house.
The irony of it all is that happiness originates from that mass between our ears and from our hearts. And it is available to each of us, whenever we choose it.
‘Trying’ to be happy can feel inauthentic. Chasing happiness can leave us unfulfilled and miserable. We say things like – this isn’t fair. Or I don’t deserve this.
What do busy, overwhelm, confusion and worry have in common?
They are all a complete waste of our time.
They pretend to be valuable, but they are merely a bunch of poser emotions.
Busy is like a dull hum in our ear, keeping us from hearing clearly. Busy happens when we step into the day without a plan.
Without a plan, we focus on things that seem urgent but are not important. We operate in reaction mode. And we are left feeling spent at the end of day but without a lot to show for our efforts.
Busy did have it’s moment though. It was when we were looking after toddlers. Remember the days you went non- stop but couldn’t really remember exactly what it was you did?
In parent mode, we called that survival. But it’s something we must pack away with the changing table.
Overwhelm is a state of mind. We hide behind it when we believe there is too much in front of us. It gives us a warped bit of relief but renders us unproductive and it always feels daunting.
Would you rather earn a million dollars or win a million dollars?
It can be a challenging question for many but somewhere in the answer is the idea of living in an abundant mentality or one of scarcity.
I often ask the question to my clients and I love the answers I get. Many say they would rather earn it because then if they lost it, they knew they could earn it again. Others were quick to say, ‘win it!”, because of how they thought it would change their life.
But having a lot of money in your bank account does not equal what I think of as abundance. Abundance is a mindset.
I look at my parents. They both were born into rural farming communities in the 20s and the stories I heard were always about humble beginnings and a lot of hard work. Yet they always saw the possibility. My father was a serial entrepreneur, way before that was a thing and I saw businesses take off and businesses fail.
Where does your self-worth meter sit?
When we unpack our personal problems, I would say 95% of the time it comes down to an issue of worthiness.
Fact is, we are all born worthy. But somewhere along the way, we started to doubt it. We unknowingly allowed a poisonous idea to creep into our brains and it became our go-to thought to explain most anything that went sideways in our lives.
But it was the thought error of a child. That sweet adorable youngster, who didn’t know any better, came to an incorrect conclusion.
That inexperienced young brain wrongly attached the meaning “I am not worthy” to someone else’s actions or words or to a random event.
They were wrong, but it happened. And once the thought was established, that sweet little brain used it again and again until the thought grew legs and became a belief.
We all have areas of our lives where our self-worth meter has a low reading.
The words we use on a consistent basis can have a dramatic effect on the quality of our lives. Our words, our syntax and the questions we lead with are often habitual. We all have our go-to emotions and reactions and say things like – that’s just how I am.
Except it’s not.
That’s just how you have conditioned yourself to be. While you have likely been influenced heavily by those around you, you are the author. You created your emotional home and the words you habitually use will take you there.
One of my clients, when describing how she felt at work told me “it’s as if I have a target on my back”.
How would that thought make you feel? Anxious? Stressed? Nervous?
How do you act when you feel anxious or stressed? What do you do? How would it effect the work you did? We all are different, but you might not be as thorough, or it might make you defensive or reactive.
What differentiates average lives from the extraordinary ones?
Let me first say – I am not harshing on anyone living an average life. But being a coach, I am intrigued with the unique attributes of each state.
We are all born with a brain wired for survival. But the question is, do you want to survive, or do you want to thrive?
Many people will look at their life, make an assessment of where they are, and then go forward based on what they see as an appropriate expectation.
But extraordinary lives happen when you look at where you are and then dream large about what is possible.
Perhaps you were born with that restless urge. Maybe you had a moment of inspiration along the way. But in the pursuit of our deepest desires we find our purpose and meaning in life.
Many people I coach come to me with a long list of limitations and ‘reasons why they can’t’. Reasons why they aren’t further along.
For things to get better, WE must get better.
For things to change, WE must change.
There is no way getting around this.
In our current situation with the pandemic, it’s as if the door to life as we once knew it has been closed.
Some people are standing at the door, jiggling the handle hoping if they do the right thing it will open.
Some are standing behind the door with their arms crossed, pissed off because it’s closed.
But others are looking for windows.
I know a lot of people are trying to be patient while they wait for things to go back to normal.
Except I don’t think we are going back.
We all must be flexible, adaptable and willing to change.
Flexibility often relies on your skill set, and now is a great time to be open and willing to developing new methods of doing things.