“Seems like you’ve dug yourself into a hole,” my business coach told me during our last session. I couldn’t agree more. Without realizing it, I felt I had no agency because there where so many unspoken rules to follow on how to create and market a business. It was especially the marketing part that kind of gave me an allergic reaction just thinking of what I “should” do. As we unraveled the thought patterns that had gotten me to this place, it was clear to me that all the “shoulds” where just ideas in my own mind. There are no rules that I have to follow.
I believe this doesn’t just apply to business; it applies to all of life.
Without knowing it we often internalize other people’s ideas of how to live a good life. They might come from our parents, teachers, stories in society, friends or media. If we don’t check in with ourselves regularly, it can be easy to do things and pursue goals that don’t fulfill us deep down, even though they sound good and look right on the outside. We might even make choices that we feel we have to make – that there’s no other way. Well, what if I told you that most times there is another way?
If you feel like you’re stuck between a rut and a stone I invite you to ask yourself the following questions:
What do I believe about myself?
Examples could be: I’m only lovable if I accomplish “xyz,” a woman is supposed to “xyz,” I’m not capable of “xyz.” Look closer at the stories you tell yourself. Know that these are only stories. Practice letting go of the ones that don’t serve you.
Whose rules am I following?
Notice if there’s a voice saying certain things should be done a certain way. Is that your voice or someone else’s? Even if it sounds like your own voice, ask yourself if it serves you or not. If it doesn’t serve you, gently practice to stop listening to it.
What do I value most in life?
Investigate which elements are valuable to you. There’s a ton of different values that we can choose to prioritize.
Which decisions am I avoiding?
To make a decision we are forced to prioritize because we can’t do or be everything at the same time. Sometimes our fear of making the wrong choice, or an unconscious drive to stay in our comfort zone, talks us out of making any real choice. However, if we never choose, we let other things decide for us. The more we are clear on our values and what matters to us, the better we can make aligned decisions. Remember too, that when something stops working for us we can always choose to change it.
By knowing ourselves and taking full ownership of our dreams, values and ultimately our choices we set ourselves free.
Only you can live your life and I’m here to remind you there are no rules!