Being a life designer and re-definer, I’ve come to learn that there are a lot of assumptions, stigmas and myths that stop people from actually making the changes that light them up.
Since they block us from making progress on our meant-for-more journey or quest, I thought I’d go through them one at a time. Let’s talk about the reality behind the commonly-held-beliefs that become a constant noise.
Each of these points could be their own article, but for those of us who feel stuck, let’s start by identifying the obstacles. Only by recognising them, can we problem-solve or move past them.
1. “Success looks like [THIS SPECIFIC THING].”
This is one of the first things I like to explore when I work with someone on their ‘right path’ or ‘ideal self’ plan. How do you define “success“?
For some, it’s a feeling. An emotion. A sense of purpose and fulfilment. While for other’s, it’s a very detailed and fine-tuned vision of a specific life with this job and that colour cat… Often these are things we cannot always control. One of my beliefs is that there are multiple ways we can find happiness or fulfilment. Thus, it’s helpful to think about the aspects of life that would indicate success which may not be tied to one specific thing.
For me, success is being able to afford my bills, mortgage and basic needs while having enough to save a little each month. I don’t put a number on that, because in 20 years time my mortgage will hopefully be paid off, who knows what the price of energy and food will be.
Success is where I am teaching, in some form or other. Again, I’m not setting the vision in stone, but if I’m teaching or training others, my inner fire is blazing.
2. “The choices I make are final. / I missed my chance.”
Often we put a lot of pressure on making the “right” decision or believing that a choice is something we can never go back on.
We cannot take every path, try every option or, much to our frustration, do it all. No matter how hard we try.
Every choice we make is just “for now,” and we can often return to it later. And through picking an option, we will learn more about if this is the right kind of direction for us or not.
Everything is an opportunity to learn if we’re on the right track, and if we’re at least heading towards our ‘potential right path.’
3. “It should be easy / If I get tired, this is wrong.”
This was the first ‘block’ that came to mind, and I’ve moved it two down the list because I don’t want to write about it. I can FEEL the resistance to talking about this. And actually, I went and wrote #4 and #5 before this one. That speaks volumes.
[Seriously, notice these moments in your life, that’s a nudge from your intuition and your neuroscience-driven brain that it’s worth paying attention.]
We live in a culture in the Western world of instant gratification and being sold on “if it’s right it will feel effortless.” They say if your love your work, you’ll never work a day in your life. We have this expectation now that if we’re not 100% motivated and excited and love every moment then we’re on the wrong path or we’ve made a mistake.
Reality is that things are hard work. Sometimes, just getting out of bed feels exhausting. And sometimes, there are moments we can tweak things for our life to be more in-flow. However, I personally measure my success by “was the effort worth it after a week or two?”
Long-term gains are what we’re usually doing those harder, more stressful actions and expectations.
It’s okay for things to not go smoothly all the time.
There is no oracle promising that life won’t have bumps in the road or waves to sail over. And that’s okay.
My mission is to live a life inspired by my inner fire. My mission for you is to feel truly alive more often than you don’t.
4. “I’m wasting my life / This is a waste of time and potential.”
This is basically the same core theme as #2. We are all works in progress, and we only move from W-I-P to completed draft or crafted magnificence by DOING things. By showing up, by doing the work, by making a choice, picking a path, stepping forward, taking the leap.
There is something useful in every moment, if you can be mindful in the moment. Honest. And none of us are mindful 24/7 (or at least, I’m not.) Yet, if we feel something is a ‘waste’ it’s a little trigger to go “huh, what am I experiencing from this moment?”
There’s a Buddhist philosophy I embraced at university (I ran a Buddhist meditation class fir 3 years) which was “Everything is Practise.”
This moment? It’s practise for the next. This job interview: it’s practise for future job interviews. This moment of embarrassment, it’s practise for when I do my TED talk in 10 years time.
Nothing is a waste.
5. “Only smart / academic / creative / [insert-the-blank] people can do that.”
Do you know what really leads to success?
Want to know the TRUE secret? Show up. Stay until the end.
Problem solved. You’re welcome. Seriously though… Know how smart and creative and academic and [fill-in-the-blank] people exist? They learn. They practise. They act. They focus on growth.
There are definitely some aspects that make the path harder or easier for some people over others. Genetics and environment and life experiences are not something to ignore.
But we are all capable of completing any ‘value’ of a goal in some way. We live in a world of technology where people born without legs can run. We have evening classes for those people wanting to redefine their education at the age of 45. We have youtube and twitch streaming so that people experiencing social anxiety can socialise safely.
I cannot change my skin colour or eat the things my body is allergic to, but I can meet those same values, can light those fires around the same themes. While I will not run a marathon unless zombies chase me, I can sprint 10 meters super fast. Instead, I sail and dance and weight-lift to meet that need for exercise and achievement.
Our Thoughts Are Not Facts.
This is such a key truth to hold up to the light. Our thoughts are often just that: thoughts. Self-talk we have made up through a string of language and feelings.
If you struggle to turn those inner landscapes into clear, realistic steps, let’s talk.
Because I coach creative and curious re-inventors who have that feeling of ‘being meant for more’ to plan out the next steps ahead and feel energised and motivated by their inner spark.
Want to learn more? Then take a look at Mapping Focus Sessions.