My kid is afraid of “scary lamps.” Scary Lamps are basically any ornate or unusual lamp, along with what I grew up referring to as a “halogen lamp” - a tall floor lamp with a round base and a long tube connecting to an upside-down dome lamp at the top. Despite the fact that I generally agree with his categorization of which lamps are fine and which ones are scary, I have tried to help him broaden his window of tolerance in this area.
Here’s what doesn’t work:
Last winter we were staying at an AirBnb for over a month. And it had a scary lamp. What to do?
Someone had the genius idea to rename it. We called it a Silly Lamp. We talked about how funny it looked. And it totally changed his perspective. No more problems with the lamp. Eventually it became “just a lamp” and he could “just ignore it” but not until after he thought about it differently.
Changing perspective changes everything. And the best part is that you are 100% in control of your perspective. You get to choose your thoughts.
What new choices will you make this week?
P.S. Did you do anything “hard” or “scary” last week? I posted an announcement of my new baby on my FB page. I know…NOT hard or scary, but I’ve generally seen it that way BECAUSE OF MY THOUGHTS about privacy and people and Facebook as a company and wanting to honor my children and their lack of ability to decide for themselves what is shared about them. SO MANY EXCUSES can keep me quiet. I’m going to keep posting, though, so feel free to follow along!
If you’re a visionary, dreamer, or struggling entrepreneur, you probably have ideas, passion, knowledge, and skills. And you probably feel like you need more ideas, passion, knowledge, and skills to do what you really want to do.
I so get it.
I’ve been deeply involved in a few different small businesses and startups. I took my share of college classes and walked away with a BA after three years. I’ve plowed through mountains of books, articles, online workshops, videos on business, marketing, philosophy, communication, design, psychology, and personal and professional development. I know stuff. Lots of stuff. And as much as it would be bursting inside me, I’d keep it to myself. I was a scared perfectionist, always just one book or article or whatever away from finally doing my part and sharing with the world.
I’m about to ruin everything for you. Your excuses. Your comfort. Your pacifiers. Because…
You don’t need more.
You don’t need more ideas.
You don’t need more passion.
You don’t need more knowledge.
You don’t need more skills.
You don’t need more money either.
You need to just be you.
And what you REALLY need is to be constantly reminded of that. Out loud. Where everyone can see it and mock it, praise it, love it, hate it.
Will it be hard? Scary? Yes. Believe me, I get it. But let’s just call it what it is then: hard and scary. Not impossible. Not something you'll only be able to do once you have x figured out. Just hard and scary. (And you could choose to change your thoughts to "new and exciting" instead, but we'll talk about that another time.)
Will you need to tap a professional at times? Learn some things? Generate some new ideas? YES. But that doesn’t mean you can’t post your photos NOW, publish your writing NOW, take clients NOW. You can change your life NOW.
Do what you can with what you have now. Now. One small step at a time.
By the way.... sometimes (like this time) I'm strongly reminded that we best teach what we most need to learn. Let's take a few new steps together this week and report back, shall we?
Until next time,
There are always excuses.
Telling me there are no excuses just flips my brain into we’ll-see-about-that mode. Don’t try to tell me that there are no excuses because I will find hundreds.
So it goes without saying that the “no excuses” approach to self-improvement, goal-setting, or motivational whatever just doesn’t work for me. And if it doesn’t work for me, I’m guessing there are more than a few people reading this for whom those words are more like bait than magic.
For those of us who can’t keep our brains from interfering, here’s a better approach:
Make as many excuses as you can think of — a whole list of reasons why you can’t do the thing you’re “trying” to do.
Seriously think of everything you possibly can.
Think of three more. You should have a list of at least ten, maybe even 20. The point is to try to get ahead of any other excuses that might show up later. If you only have five, fine.
Once you’ve made a nice beautiful list of extensive and perhaps very excellent and reasonable excuses…
One by one, find all the reasons why each of your reasons is stupid. Turn your excellent excuse-making skill back on itself.
Keep that document for reference anytime you think you can’t do the thing because of whatever excuse.
But what if I don’t have time to make a list?
Then you acknowledge to yourself that there are likely tons of good excuses and reasons to not do the thing that you are trying to accomplish, and you tell yourself that even though there ARE excuses, you’re going to embrace your inner rebel, put on your big kid Nikes, and just do it anyway.
What if it doesn’t matter that much?
It’s possible that at the end of this exercise you may find that the thing you were wanting/needing/hoping to do actually just doesn’t matter to you for any subjective or objective reason. In which case, skip it. Skip that thing and go find another goal worth pursuing.
I hope you have an amazingly productive week!
Have you ever thought about the fact that you don’t actually need to do anything? Everything you tell yourself you “need” to do or that someone or something says you “have to” do, you actually don’t.
Think about it. You don’t need to wear makeup, respond to that email, take a shower, do the dishes, go to work, follow the speed limit, be kind to anyone, take care of your children, eat, or even breathe.
BUT, you may have decided that you want to do those things because you value either the the actions themselves or the results they create.
I don’t like doing dishes. It’s my least favorite household chore. The other night I walked into my kitchen after putting my kid to bed and thought “I have to clean the kitchen” (and there may have been an internal groan in there as well). Then I thought, wait…what do I WANT?
Well, I can tell you that I don’t want to wake up to a messy kitchen. I want a clean kitchen with a clean sink and a clear counter.
And I sat with that thought. I want a clean kitchen with a clean sink and a clear counter.
I want to put everything away.
I want to do the dishes.
I want to wipe everything down.
I want to scrub out the sink.
And if I can stay in that want, holding on to that desire, the dreaded thing I thought I HAD to do becomes something I actually want to do. Cleaning the kitchen is not something to drag myself through because I want to do it.
Next time you think “I need to ______,” try reframing the thought - not just to change the way you feel about it, but also to make it more honest: “I want to ______.” And if you really don’t want to ______, then maybe you should consider letting it go completely.
What’s something you “need” to do this week? Can you recognize it as something you want to do instead?
“I have a special dad! My dad works from home! He goes to meetings but I get to spend a lot of time with him!”
I felt a little awkward as my 4-year-old was bragging about his dad to a guy who was clearly enjoying an outing with his two young sons.
“Wow, that is special!” the dad said. “I would love to be home with my kids.”
He seemed so sincere, and almost sad. I wanted to tell him he could do it - that he could be home more if he wanted to - but I know how trite and privileged that can sound, especially without any context, without knowing his story or struggles.
The thing is, I don’t believe it matters what his life has been like up until this point. We always have the power to think and feel and act differently, no matter our circumstances. And thinking, feeling, and acting differently is what creates different results in our lives.
Had I said any of this to him, he might have said something like, “I’m a [nurse, electrician, teacher, mail carrier, store manager, etc.] - I can’t do that from home.”
And maybe he’d be right. But what if he wasn’t?
We set up so many false dichotomies in our lives. “Oh I can’t do x because y.”
Really? I question them all.
When someone says they can’t do something they “want” to do, one of my favorite questions (besides why) is, “How can you?”
How can you support your family financially or have your dream job AND spend more time with your kids? Or how can you do all three? There is always a way. It just depends on what you’re willing to sacrifice.
This all points to getting really clear on what you care about. What matters most to you? Is it more important to you to spend more time with your kids or to continue working in your same job with the same hours in the same location? There’s no wrong answer, but it’s an important question.
There’s more than one way to be a nurse, an electrician, a teacher. There’s more than one way to use the skills you’ve developed as a store manager or a mail carrier. If something else is more important to you, then it’s worth a good brainstorm and google search to open your mind to what those possibilities might be.
If all that sounds exciting but overwhelming, schedule a phone consult with me and let’s figure out how you can get what you really want.