If I lose myself
I lose it all
… to be kind?
… to answer a note?
… to let someone know of an outcome?
… to get in touch, mention how something or someone inspired you?
… to show up, even if the only person you’re showing up for is yourself?
I think we sometimes underestimate the value we’d contribute or the impact we could have, and overestimate the amount of time it would take to perform said action.
A wise man closed this loop by saying to me,
First, we notice. Then [we] make a choice.
Today’s reminder is that…
Wherever you go, go with all your heart
The way that you planned it at the start
So sing like a bird or like a kid
Remember the days when that’s what you did
Where is that smile that used to break
Sunlight in the morning on your face
Here’s an idea:
We’re giving away our power by giving away our time.
We’re giving away our power by not giving ourselves the time we need to ourselves.
We’re giving away our power by not respecting and loving ourselves.
Boundaries; what a magic word. Setting boundaries is an exciting exercise: we’re setting boundaries for the outside world or, better said, for the world outside of us; and we should set boundaries for the world within too. I mean, how many times have you set about your day meaning to do one thing, only to have it hijacked? Of course, it’s not like that, is it now?! More often than not, we allow others to do that, for various reasons: we shy of from saying no; we feel bad if we refuse people; we feel guilty because saying no would mean we’re bad people; we feel constricted to engage and respond, then and there. What or whom are you saying no to by saying yes to *time thieves*?
Once we realise, or, better said, acknowledge that it doesn’t have to be this way, and saying no is more than encouraging, a shift happens. Because by saying no to hijacks, we say yes to ourselves. And doing this over and over again helps us become aware of the power within.
If you can defeat the ‘no’ monster, what else is there waiting for you to do?
Giving ourselves time to be, contemplate, and sit with our feelings is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. I know, I know, it can be difficult and uncomfortable.
I am one of those that needs to speak through things to sort them out. Have a problem? Oh, let’s untangle every narrative that ever existed and those which didn’t, too and make a list and weigh everything and then repeat perhaps a couple of times, and you get the gist. It’s only recently, in the past few years, that I realised that it’s just better to let go of some things. Of course, I still make lists and reflect and oh, hindsight! (is a motherfucker!), but I also let them go. I’ve stopped dwelling on past and present situations that are not worth my time, especially if we’re talking about things out of my control. The past is helpful if we can learn and grow from it; it’s not practical if we live there.
If the past is hijacking your present, then uh-oh, you’re in trouble. As with doubt, your past is an ally, not a foe. Don’t have power taken away from you by your past. Use your past to empower yourself to move forward — how you do this is entirely up to you, and you control this!
What do you say, Frank?
Choices can be a scary thing. Cliche AF and yet Alabama says…
I have found at last
That if I wanted to
I’d be alright.
We grow up being taught that mistakes are bad, and we get punished for them. Then we spend adulthood teaching ourselves that mistakes are good, and we can learn and grow from them. Isn’t this one of life’s beautiful-with-a-dash-of-sadness ironies? As kids, we says ‘yes’ wholeheartedly until one day something happens and we start being cautious. Then, if we’re lucky, we spend adulthood *acting as if* and hoping for the best; as such, we try and expand our universe of possibility, trying and failing and trying again.
Magic happens when we embrace these failures, the in-betweens, as wins. Because you either win or learn, which counts as winning too. Hindsight is useful to realise how much we’ve grown from our mistakes. The key here is being aware of ourselves, and making Resistance our friend. Mine is named Frank, and I’ve befriended Frank in ways I didn’t think was possible. Frank is a friend, not a foe.
… saying no
We’re giving away our power by giving away our time. Boundaries: such a powerful word. Setting boundaries is quite the exercise: we’re setting boundaries for the outside world or better said, for the world outside of us; and we should set them for the world within too. I mean, how many times have you set about your day wanting to do one thing, only to have it hijacked?
Usually, we allow others to do that for various reasons. We shy from saying *no* because saying *no* means we’re bad people. And so we feel constricted to engage and respond, then and there. What or whom are you saying *no* to by saying *yes* to time thieves?
Once we become aware it doesn't have to be this way, and saying no is more than encouraged, a shift happens. Because by saying *no* to hijacks we say *yes* to ourselves. And doing this, repeatedly, helps us become aware of the power within. If you can defeat the 'no' monster, *what else* is there waiting for you to do?
Haven’t written to you in a while now. There’s no excuse, and please don’t think I’ve been ignoring you. On the contrary, I have been paying close attention to my fears and thoughts, listening and noting how I think and feel, how my body moves and where my mind goes.
Dearest Frank, as you well know by now, I’m learning to say ‘yes’ to possibility. I’m learning to say *yes* to myself, thus giving myself space and time and boundless opportunity. I’ve noticed there’s a fine line between that deep trust one feels in its capabilities and the confidence to work it all out, and the crippling fear that you’re just imagining it all, who are you to dream *this big* or aim *so high*?
And you want to know what I realised? They’re the different sides of the same coin, and self-confidence with a dash of humbleness and lots of curiosity works wonders. Doubt is good. Too much doubt is bad. And no one is going to dream big for or instead of yourself, so you might as well gamble on your power. Oh, what if you fall and bruise your…ego? Well, dust yourself up and off you go, try again, try harder, fail, learn, repeat endlessly.
Frank, I’m learning to have faith in the Universe and trust in my powers, and so far, the planets are aligning and my universe expanding. How do I keep myself accountable at a steady pace, you ask? Oh, no silver bullet here. I show up, do the work, dip, work, doubt, dip and so on, a perfect ebb and flow amounting to days and months, telling a story that makes so much sense, in hindsight.
*something to ponder* 'What are you holding back? I know you've wild horses on the inside of you'
Sometime this summer, I had this idea or need of an intimate meet-up, a combo of an accountability group and mastermind mash-up, delivered in an online setting and comprising of similar-in-view, yet different-in-perspective folks. I sat long and thought hard about who and what and when, because bringing people together is always a feat and a torment at the same time – it depends if it’s a responsibility or an opportunity; in this case, it’s a bit of both.
I’m a(n) (closeted) introvert, which can be translated as I can come across as exuberant and full of life in social settings, but deep down I’d rather curl up with a book and sit alone. So, I chose as carefully (read selfishly) as I could; my goal was to meet up regularly with these folks, run through what I’ve done or intend to do, have them challenge ideas or assumptions or plans, go, revise, redo, repeat. As I’m not as selfish as to meet up just so I can be listened to, this is reciprocated — we spend together some sweet 60 to 90 minutes quickly running through our work and offering feedback.
Some would argue that these bi-weekly meetups might be *too* short and sweet and not enough, to which I will say *au contraire*. Hear me out: when you use time as a constraint and hindsight + self-reflection as close friends, you manage to touch on the stuff that really interests you and get to the bottom of it succinctly, because you only share what you want, thus the others are fast in offering the mirrors with your blind spots. And so, the magic of a-ha occurs in such settings.
In one of our recent meetings, I realized that despite them not holding me accountable per se (I’m a rebel, even in my own stories), they help me a lot because I learn so much from the others. And another thing: there is no hiding. These meetings made me realize that there is no place to hide if you haven’t done the work. There is some sort of magic in being seen full stop. I mean, sure, I could pretend I was busy and fill my planner with stuff, but I would only be lying to myself. And it was super useful to voice these thoughts and flip this accountability story I was telling myself.
So, instead, I’m looking at how I’m spending my time and
a) jot down the things I want to achieve (because being realistic about having 24h in a day is crucial)
b) occupy my time with the stuff I thrive doing.
And you know what? Reading and coaching and working on a project may not seem like much, but they add up in the long term. Pages and hours and thoughts and tensions and belief in the work I’m doing are adding up, that compound interest is working in my favour, bit by bit every day.
Oh, and about the hiding: it’s cool to be with people who can help you become better without going down on a productivity shame route. It’s awesome for folks to take the time and be present and listen and see you. Just by doing these things, they contribute to your learning and growth.
I’m not hiding, it’s just great to be seen 🎉
Now, turning this mirror back to you, what if you look at how you *actually* spend your time, without making excuses or feeling bad? What if you add house chores and pampering on your to-do list, and mark them with as much satisfaction as any other task? And last, but not least, what if you flip your story of productivity and make it work for you, not against you?
Onwards & upwards 🔥