In the Courageous Living Program, I talk about orienting your life to prioritize what matters, most.
When you get clear on your vision for your life and start to prioritize that, the ruminating and second-guessing and all of the “trying to figure it out” stuff of life starts to fall away.
Here is priority #1 in my life: my kid. My sweet little daughter who just basically wants to smile and interact with people and be curious about the world.
Like any mom will tell you, this means that sometimes, things can get complicated. This can get particularly complicated if you run a business.
It hit me how complicated this could be when I looked around and realized that I was not just running Your Courageous Life. I am also the Editor of the Coaching Blueprint.com website, and the creator and lead facilitator of the Courageous Coaching Training Program. This fall, I signed on to be one of the first people to lead a Desire Map workshop.
And somewhere in all of that, I’m caring for my child. And, just like you–doing all the stuff like laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, taking my car for an oil change, grocery shopping, making dinner, and hopefully spending some time with my husband. And somewhere in there, hopefully remembering to take my probiotics and use the foam roller (I use the Commit app to remind me, every day, because otherwise I’m hopeless and forget), and once a week I’d like to get to yoga, and at some point I’m convinced that I’ll establish a regular triathlon training schedule, again (this last might be a bit of fantastical thinking for at least a few more months).
What Getting Clear Allows
But here’s what I’m clear on: Priority #1. My kid.
And so here’s what hit me on one of those average, ordinary days when my brain was buzzing with emails that needed to be answered and questions that the life coach trainees had posted to our private boards and I wanted to remember to transfer the laundry from the washer to the dryer and I had an oil change:
Am I choosing the task or the moment ?
I could feel that tight feeling across my chest and in my shoulders, the feeling that indicates that my breathing is short and shallow.
I was hustling to get the diaper bag packed and I hadn’t had lunch yet and– and– and–
I look at my daughter. She smiles at me. She’s in absolutely no rush.
I soften. I smile back.
I could hustle to get to that oil change appointment right on time. Or to see if I can fit in one more laundry swap or one more email check before we leave.
But you know, when I look back on my life, I really don’t want to say that those are the things that I chose.
I don’t want to be remembered as “Kate, who always made it to her oil changes on time.”
I’d like my daughter to always remember that I took time to stop. To breathe. To soften. To smile.
I’d like her to learn how to do that for herself, too. She’ll only learn that if I model it, first*.
The Task, or The Moment?
So this is my mantra on those busy-busy-busy, go-go-go kinds of days:
The task, or the moment? Task, or moment? Task, or moment?
Note that this choice takes a certain level of faith and trust. Trust that the laundry will get done (and faith that you’ll survive, if it doesn’t). Trust that your business is going to be fine (and faith that you’ll survive, if it’s not).
There’s no short-cut to trust or faith. No one has any “better circumstances” that make trust and faith easier a place from which to live.
It’s a choice, just like any other.
The task, or the moment?
I know what my #1 priority is. As long as I’m honoring that priority, I wake up each morning feeling proud of myself, living my life in integrity.
It can be a courageous choice, but in the end–that’s what I call winning at life.
*Since I also want to model not inconveniencing others by bailing on commitments, this was a relatively simple fix–calling the service department to see if I could change my appointment. In a world where people abuse and mis-use self-help, this is also worth noting.
It’s one of the classic self-help exercises: you write a letter to someone you’re furious at, letting them know every little thing that they’ve done wrong. You let it all hang out. You tell them in no uncertain terms how screwed up their behavior was.
And then, you burn it.
There’s a really important reason why you burn the letter–because actually sending it to the person is a shit-stirring maneuver that amplifies the drama. Also, it’s hypocritical (you’re doing to them what you didn’t want done, to you). Finally, it’s point-blank unkind.
To send that letter would be an abuse and mis-use of self-help; it would take the entire point of the exercise, and turn it on its head.
We live in times where self-help is exploding. More and more people are becoming life coaches, and Oprah’s got a channel dedicated to “living your best life.”
And sometimes, because we’re human and fallible, people take the concepts of self-help and abuse and mis-use them, turning what could be medicine inside-out until it’s poison.
The Classic Scenarios
Using “I’m speaking my truth” to tell someone off; to berate, to chastise, to put someone down.
Using “I needed to practice self-care” to get out of a commitment (when the real issue is poor time management and planning). Sadly, life coaches do this all of the time…to other life coaches.
Using “You need to take responsibility for your choices” to take the focus off of yourself, to minimize someone else’s feelings, or to victim-blame.
Using “you should believe that there’s enough for everyone” as a justification for copying (or very closely copying) someone else’s work.
Making a request and saying that there’s no attachment to outcome (the response), and then getting totally pissed when someone says “no,” or deciding to judge them as being selfish (happens all of the time for coaches when someone requests a free product/service/session and if the coach says no, the person making the request acts like the coach is a miserly Scrooge who has issues with sharing).
Getting upset with someone simply because they disagreed with you, declaring that they “don’t support” you or your goals.
Running up a ton of debt on things that you don’t really need, because “it’s important to prioritize feeling good.”
These are all examples of taking a great concept, and twisting it inside-out until it does more harm than good.
Feeling Good or “feeling good”?
There’s “feeling good” and then there’s Feeling Good.
“Feeling good” is all of the above. It’s using “I need to speak my truth” to make someone feel bad…which, if you’re honest, only ever makes you feel…bad.
Then there’s Feeling Good, which uses “I need to speak my truth” as a pivot point for greater clarity and connection in a relationship. Someone might not like it, but when the truth is delivered with kindness, you’ll know in your bones that you can feel proud of what you said.
Of course, anyone reading this has got to be wondering, “Since ‘feeling good’ can be so illusory, how do I know whether or not I’m doing it? And how can I get more Feeling Good happening?”
It’s allll about somatics.
Developing the skill of somatic awareness is a hugely potent super-power. I’ve written about somatic awareness, before .
When you want to know the difference between “feeling good” and Feeling Good, it’s all about how you feel in your body (because your body doesn’t lie).
If I bail on a commitment due to poor planning and find myself telling the person, “I needed to cancel this in order to practice self-care,” I feel like a schmuck as the words are coming out of my mouth.
That’s somatic awareness. It’s knowing that the feeling of being totally out of integrity is actually the worst feeling there is, and that any time I compromise on myself in that department, I’m going to feel awful.
That feeling awful? That’s the sign that my choice is “feeling good” rather than Feeling Good.
While it might be awkward to tell the truth (“I did a poor job of planning my week and now I’m completely overwhelmed, and I’m choosing to cancel because I want to correct that with some self-care. I’m really sorry about that”), it still feels better than the lie of making it seem as if you’re under the knuckle of some unavoidable circumstances.
Feeling Good is actually rooted in taking responsibility for your choices. It’s knowing why you’re making them, grounding in them, owning them wholly and completely.
“Feeling good” is the sucker’s game, the siren song of “Life is hard and owes me something, and it’s hard to face that, so quick! over here! let me ‘feel good’ with this shiny new distraction!”
Just so that we’re clear: it’s your divine birthright to wake up in the morning Feeling Good. It feels good to Feel Good!
Where we get askew with self-help–which is what slants towards abuse and mis-use–is when we get stuck in dogma, using a concept to justify our own behaviors.
Feeling Good isn’t about dogma or justification. Feeling Good is about being in flow with your life.
You won’t know it when you see it–you’ll know it when you Feel it.
So, Fabeku just nicely summed up how I run my business. Here he is:
The day that I decided I was done with client no-shows, late payments, offering a gazillion different freebies to prove my worth before a client would decide to work together, holding back in a session for fear that a client would get upset if I stopped colluding with her story that she couldn’t create what she wanted to create in her life, not fully being myself in blog posts, running “giveaways” and every other manner of salesy gimmicks just because business “experts” said I should…the day that I decided that that wasn’t worth it, anymore, everything changed.
A core idea behind the Coaching Blueprint digital marketing program, is this: if you’re not running your business, your way, it doesn’t matter how much money you make (also, you’re probably not making much money. Money is slow in coming when people are inauthentic).
Here’s a little love note that I received the other day:
“I’m reading the Blueprint, just got it yesterday, thinking, “What the hell. Good people are recommending this; you’re at a crossroads, tired and bored of your business. You’ve meant to go back to coaching for some time. Read it.”
And so I did and am. And as I read, I want to hug you often.
I’m not a gushy person, generally, but the honesty with which you talk about yourself is really doing wonders for me, seeing the same thought patterns, observations, and complete UNWILLINGNESS not to be 100% aligned with what I do in life anymore.
There is more, deeper fulfillment, and I know it, and it’s gotta work for me, or Hell, why are we in this game.
So I thank you for offering me a mirror in a kind voice, smart eyes and clearly, generous heart. I appreciate it.”
The same is true for my life coach training program. People have told me they’d sign up if it was less money (even though costs only a third of other training programs, but I digress); they’d do it if the calls were on a different day; they’d do it if life wasn’t so busy right now.
And honestly? Those are all completely legitimate reasons to wait on diving in to something. I don’t mind. I think that it’s good when people are honoring themselves and their needs.
But at the same time, I also recognize if this is not a clear, resonant, YES, it’s not the right fit. If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to get it.
In fact, if it’s a resonant YES, you’ll feel it in your body. Your body doesn’t lie. When it’s the right fit, it’s molecular. Every cell knows when the truth of what you desire is right there, and every cell knows when you’re cheating yourself by keeping yourself from what you want.
The excitement can barely be held back (and right on the tail end of that, the fear, because that’s what happens when you’re stepping out into the unknown).
Yes, you could be more accommodating and find endless ways to change things up so that everyone gets exactly what they want–but really, you’ll never feel quite right about that. Not deep down. Not where the truth resides.
So there it is. Live from the place where the truth resides. Set up your career, your business from that place. Set up your relationship from that place. When you connect to that, and live from that, it is impossible to go astray.