I’ve had a very full and busy month. I feel like I have been in a tumble dryer, it’s come to the end of its cycle, and I have dropped out through the door into the linen basket.
I don’t like this feeling as it coincides with me feeling reduced in power.
Looking back, I have crammed my diary with meetings, work, social activities and short notice events. At the time, I consciously chose to put these in my diary, yet quite quickly, the feeling of engaging in the actual doing of these events became one of obligation. When I start feeling obliged, I have lost balance and my power, and feel like I am tumbling around. Although commitments are generally met, I lose connection with what I want as I run between the various roles I have in my life – father, coach, husband, breadwinner, trainer, etc. Too tight scheduling has me run from one to the next without pause, and at the end of the day, I can feel pretty exhausted.
So what could I have done differently?
I could schedule less into my diary. That can sometimes work. But I like taking on new adventures, trying out new things, meeting new people, so limiting my activities to only one or two per week would probably leave me feeling under stimulated and dull.
Maybe I can draw something from my love of surfing. I love being in the sea, and when I get on a wave, I don’t know whether it will be a long or a short ride, or whether I’ll get dumped. It is an activity which by its nature means I will be out of balance, or outside my comfort zone, some of the time. Yet catching a good wave is huge fun and exhilarating. Surfing remains fun for me because I always have the surfboard to return to, catch my breath and wait for the next good looking wave which I have the choice whether to attempt to ride or not. Pausing gives me space to make a choice. So I am very happy to engage in activities which are outside my comfort zone as long as I can pause and exercise choice.
Making a choice involves ‘you’. Having choices made for you does not involve you, and that is disempowering (unless you choose to let other people make choices for you…), and your personal power reduces. You are left feeling obligation and resistance to the situations you previously took on by choice.
When I’m coaching people, I am doing so from choice. I create the space and select what I want to be present in it. I listen out for what my clients don’t hear in themselves. I have no prejudgements, preconceptions, attachments or thoughts of how it is going to go. I choose to listen for what’s the gold – what are they trying to say? I am listening for a sense of the ‘being’ of the person underneath the mask, and help them to see themselves from a different perspective. Choosing what I want to put in the space helps clients gain clarity, and have insights about themselves and their situations. I feel balanced and powerful and am at my most effective, as are they.
So as you switch between the different roles in your life, pause and take 30 seconds several times a day to just check in with yourself that you are choosing whatever you are about to do. If you detect any feelings of being rushed, obliged, or feel like you ‘have to’ or ‘should’ do something, choose how you want to experience it rather than becoming an unconscious victim of it. Using a Snapaband (www.snapaband.com) for this is a great way of stopping the mind chatter and feelings of obligation, and creating a space you can fill with a feeling or thought of your choice.
You will find your power comes back, and you will be far more effective in whatever it is you choose to do.