These are the myths that keep us stuck in the middle. That crazy-making place of mediocrity, fogginess, and dashed dreams. I’m dropping some Inner Voice BombsTM to explode these myths and help us all move out of the middle and into becoming thought-leaders in our own lives.
Middle-Mind Myth #2: “My __________ (insert your who: spouse, kid, parent, dog, client, cousin’s-friend’s-mother-in-law….) needs me.”
Someone will always “need” you.
But you probably ignore that last person who needs you, right?
Why do we do this to ourselves?
I’m a mom. And a wife. And a business owner. And a coach. And a daughter, sister, friend, colleague, neighbor, cook, housecleaner, carpool driver…probably just like many of you. Luckily, we don’t have any pets right now, otherwise I’d be a caretaker of animals as well.
I have a lot of people in my life who need me. (My kids are currently 4 & 8, they need a lot more attention than most grown ups). For years I used my family, and other people in my life, as an excuse not to build my business, or travel, or invest in myself. There was always some reason to say “no” to networking, or traveling to events where I could learn something new or connect with people, or hiring the help I needed because I couldn’t balance it all. I felt bad spending the money on myself–even though I knew it would ultimately lead to me growing myself, so I could be a better parent, partner, coach, therapist, business person, etc.
At some point, I realized that I was using my family as an excuse not to build my business because I was afraid of failing and that people would think I was a bad mom for working, and I was afraid of what I would have to sacrifice to be successful-both at home and at work.
Then there was a distinct shift, and I started making these investments in myself because of my kids, rather than avoiding them altogether, or building my business half-assed. I realized that avoiding these opportunities because of some emotional reason was not serving anyone, least of all me and my kids.
So, besides using our kids as an excuse not to do something, or invest, or get things done, how does this myth show up and keep us in the middle?
1) Watch for the patterns. When you are about to make a decision that will move you forward, often it’s an opportunity for coaching or a workshop, seminar, or other mindset or health-related event or service that will help you evolve or heal, does someone (including pets) always seem to get sick or have an accident or some other “problem” that “needs” your immediate attention?
Very often, that person, pet, or repetitive issue that “needs” us comes up to block us because our little voices (of fear, shame, doubt, guilt, etc.) are so afraid of change that they’ll literally create (or get pulled into) drama in any form in our lives.
When we say say yes to the drama and no to our dreams, you can be sure those little voices just won, and are keeping us in the middle!
Say no to drama and it will leave you the hell alone.
Trust me on this one, I made a conscious choice to stop engaging in drama years ago, and while it still pops up every once in a while, I simply do not engage in it, I don’t give my energy to it. And drama very often leaves me alone, or resolves pretty quickly-far more quickly than in the past.
2) “I’ve got to take care of all this __________ (work, paperwork, busy work, chores, etc.)” I am a task master. I love a list and I love even more scratching items off that list. When I was in college I had this great job: I worked at a bakery. Every day we would come in and there would be hundreds of loves of bread to slice and bag. We’d spend several hours doing that and at the end of the day clean up, look at all the freshly cut and bagged bread and know our job was done for the day.
God, those were good days. Very simple. No internet, cell phones, etc. There was a clear objective and we knew when we were done. We’d go get a beer after work or I’d go home and study or hang out with friends. Easy. Satisfying. Done.
Now, the list never ends. It’s huge and gets bigger everyday. One thing I learned from one of my coaches, is that we all have lots of roles to play in our lives, but we can only do about 5 of them really well at any given time. The myth is that we have to be all things to all people and be good at all things and get them all done.
You say, that’s BS, I know I don’t need to do that (we ALL know we don’t need to do that or be that), and yet…we very often still behave as though we believe it.
A quick strategy that my coach suggested was to list out all the roles I play, and what tasks go along with those roles, and then pick the top 5 roles that are the priority. Then either hire out the other roles, or enroll others to help me fulfill those. The ones that are not in alignment with my priorities and values? I set them aside for now.
For example, I used to volunteer for a lot of different organizations–ever since I was in High School I would volunteer to do all kinds of things. I even went into Americorps after grad school.
At some point, I decided that my priorities had shifted from volunteering my “free” time to actually making some money so I could donate to these organizations, and spend time with my family, and build my business so I can make a difference in a bigger way.
I released the volunteering as a matter of course, and am very choosy about where I spend my time. Do organizations need our help? You bet. Do I sometimes feel a little guilty that I’m not doing more? Sure.
Do I meet many entrepreneurs who spend a lot of time volunteering their time and energy and talents and don’t devote that time and energy into building their business (and they are struggling financially)?
Yes, and it breaks my heart.
There’s got to be a balance between what an organization needs and what we as people who volunteer for an organization need. Check to see that your needs are being met as well.
3) I “need” to blog, Facebook, Tweet, etc everyday/week or else I won’t stay top-of-mind, and lose people or they’ll forget about me (or whatever fear comes up for you around this when you read it). There are all these “rules” and guidelines for being in business nowadays that reinforces the competitive energy that causes so much stress.
I was just reading that business owners need to blog at least weekly, and depending on the kind of business you have, it can be more frequent than that. Reading that “inspired” (motivated? kicked my butt?) to write a post, (despite being tired and wanting to go to sleep) so I could be a “good” blogger and businessperson.
Ugh. I thought that “good girl” crap was long gone.
We sacrifice ourselves to be “good” and fulfill everyone else’s needs before our own.
Do I want to blog. Yes. Do I want to connect with people. Yes. Do I need sleep? Yes.
I just realized that. So now, I’m going to do what I really needed to do about 3 hours ago–go to sleep.
When in doubt as to whose needs are most important in any given moment-it’s highly likely we need to do something to meet your own needs in that moment because when our needs are met it’s so much easier to really be there for the folks who need us the most. You know, that whole put the oxygen lask on ourselves first thing?
What is it that you need to do for yourself and your business?
Hire someone to help you (coach, VA, housecleaner)? Do some mindset work? Find a new group of people to hang around? Take a break?
Whatever it is, do it. Right now. Take some action that’s in alignment with that need in order to fulfill it.
Yeah. Got it.