It’s been quite a while since I wrote my blog. In the last month or so I feel like I’ve lost my rhythm, which happens to all of us at some point or other. I think I’ve been in a period of mild stagnation, like residing in a puddle that hasn’t benefited from fresh water for a while rather than feeling in the flow.
For some stimulation, I went to Blogfest a few weeks ago, where I enjoyed a day of listening to some inspirational speakers, noted some top tips and met some nice women, most of whom blogged either full or part time between being a mum or juggling life. I was reminded that I should attend to my writing as regularly as possible – like a muscle that needs exercising - or it atrophies, and the writing part of my brain needs to be used frequently to maximise its potential. With best intentions I left the event fired up and ready to put fingers to keyboard but alas, the moment just didn’t present itself.
But you know these quiet, sluggish periods serve a purpose. For all the feelings of ‘flatness’, coupled with bouts of frustration, it’s often a time of enforced reflection. I start asking myself why I’m not moving forwards, why I’m not getting on with stuff…and then another week rolls on. I distract myself quite earnestly, only to find that dreariness rolling over me. So at some point, I have to recognise what is going on. I start asking myself why I feel like this. Some of those nagging thoughts peek out from the carpets under which they have been swept…like little children tugging at your leg when they want something, they demand my attention. So, some of those thoughts that nagged at me over recent times included things like: ‘Why don’t have I have more clients?’, or ‘Why am I living in a house that just doesn’t ‘do it’ for me?’, or ‘How come I’m not making the time to undertake those creative pursuits I so enjoy so much like writing or painting?’
Not surprisingly, as a coach I know only too well that the main approach to shift from one state to another is simply to get into action. When we’re stuck on a problem, so often the best way to unlock our mind is just to get up and walk around and change the scene a bit. It’s the inaction, the non-movement that is rather crippling. Sometimes we find there’s a kind of comfort in our sameness. The velvet groove I call it. The action that might be needed to move us on just feels too hard to take on, or we fear what the outcome might be if we do change something. But that’s the funny thing. Once you take that one step out of that groove, once you make that shift towards change, the universe kind of opens up to you. You’re making an active choice to change something.
It may not surprise you to learn therefore, that our little family is moving – quite literally. We’ve only been here in the Brighton area for seven months but at the end of January we’ll be off to live in Gloucestershire. We have a great opportunity to rent a house that has wonderful country views, a great family home and a vibe that reminds me of our home in Costa Rica. Unlike the house we’re currently in, the feeling I enjoyed when we had the good fortune to stay in the house before choosing to rent it, was one of soulful nourishment. I realised how much a sentiment like that can affect my wellbeing. So when we returned after our sojourn to our house here on the coast, we gave the whole idea of a big move west some serious thought. This comprised of the usual pros and cons lists, investigating schools, transport and all the usual practicalities. We talked to people, went online, talked some more…and for a few days I felt rather emotional. I get like that when I’m really undecided. What was the right choice? What would be the impact be on our social life being so far from friends? Would I find new clients there? You can imagine all those fear-based thoughts came up. But I ensured I didn’t sit with just the scary questions. Far more motivating after all, to think about the positive side of a move. So I also allowed myself to dwell on imagining blissful domestic scenes of cooking on the lovely Aga; making brand new friends; taking gorgeous walks in the Gloucestershire countryside; having new adventures…
I also asked that part of me that knows best for a bit of guidance, a sign of some kind, and sure enough on day eight of our 10 day decision making period, I was told that my 2-day a week contract in London would not be renewed after February as the organisation needed someone more junior working full time. That tipped things somewhat. And on the Friday we were due to make the call to either accept or turn down the house, hubby and I both turned to each other as we woke up and said, ‘let’s do it!’. It felt so good to take the plunge and make a choice. Although we were venturing into the unknown, we had now made our decision.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” Goethe, Johann Wolfgang Von
Sometimes when we’re really stuck and just can’t make up our minds, we question even our intuition. So what can you do to move forward?
Think about yourself first.
This may seem a little selfish but it is important to look after your own wellbeing as well as others. Rather like the safety instructions we get on a plane: put your own mask on first before helping others, you can be a better support to those around you when your needs are met. If your decisions and choices are always about others, you’ll eventually end up feeling empty and dissatisfied. Of course sometimes we have to bend a little and compromise but don’t let that be the constant.
If your family is important to you then achieving a good work-life balance should be part of your consideration. Often the irony is that people end up working long hours to support their family, only to find that they spend too little time with their loved ones.
Take ownership and responsibility.
These are your choices and it’s important to own them, however things turn out.
Use logic and intuition.
Write out the pros and cons; consider all your options; do the research; weigh up the risks; sit with your feelings.
What’s important to you? What are your values? Is the decision sitting comfortably with you? Is this something you aspire to? Can you imagine the kind of person who would make the choice you’re about to make – are they like you, or is this a stretch too far?
There’s no crystal ball.
You can’t know exactly how things will work out in the long run. Of course you can take a calculated guess but in the end, it’s best to take one step at a time and see your decisions as stepping stones. And at each pause in your journey, you can take stock and make the next decision that feels right at that time.
Feel free to keep evaluating.
Trust your feelings and keep reviewing. Don’t feel bound to a decision if it doesn’t resonate with you any more. It’s ok to change your mind if your choice no longer serves you but give yourself time to ensure that the desire to change isn’t out of fear or some other factor. Sometimes commitment can take effort and perseverance. This works if your goals really motivate you. Though, if you keep changing your mind, you’re probably not being honest or clear about what you want in the first place. ·
When you make a decision, embrace it fully.
Go with it, commit to it and see what opens up for you but remain flexible.
“Using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any and every part of your life in an instant.” Anthony Robbins