Today I want to take a step back. I want to talk about where I came from because I know so many of you see where I am today and might be thinking that I have this perfect life or have had it pretty easy, but I haven’t.
I am about to turn 35 in a couple of weeks, and yes, right now in my life, I’d say that I have it pretty fucking good. My life is pretty easy at the moment. But it hasn’t always been.
We all start somewhere. A lot of quotes you’ll see or direction from coaches tell you not to look back because you aren’t going there. I’m looking back at where I came from because it has determined how I’ve gotten to where I am today. Looking back shows you how far you’ve truly come.
Just like most people my age, or even those older than me, I was told that kids are not meant to be heard. I was yelled at for running, for stomping, for being too loud, for being bossy, for almost everything. Because of that, I developed a complex. I new that if I was noticed in whatever I was doing, I was doing something wrong and I was taking up too much space. Everything about my life was about everybody else because I got the worst anxiety attacks if I felt that I was ever the center of attention. To say it was uncomfortable, rather to say it is uncomfortable, is putting it mildly.
One of the things I share the most here is about my struggle to live for myself and put myself first. Each and every time I write about it, I’ve learned something new or I just need to get something off of my chest. Today I was inspired by Trent Shelton. His message in the podcast I listened to stuck with me and I felt I needed to share with you my thoughts on it.
In living life to impress others or get other people to have positive opinions about me, I didn’t do what was good for me. If there was ever a chance to go back and change something in my life, I would go back to being a young girl and I would change my outlook about myself. I would be a confident, bossy girl who could give a shit less if that other kid made fun of me again. I would learn and grow instead of drinking and partying to get people to like me. But I can’t go back. I can’t rewrite my history.
What I can do is rewrite my future. I can put a fork in my road and I can do what is good for me. Making that declaration is the easy thing to do. The difficult part is actually doing it. The ability to put aside the gut emotions that I’m so used to allowing to take control over me and pushing forward knowing that whatever caused that emotion is probably not good for me. It doesn’t matter if someone is criticizing me because of a post on social media or because I am so fucking clumsy or because I know that I want more out of life than just coasting along. It does not matter. I get to determine what is good for me, not anybody else.
Another difficult thing about rewriting my future, or rather taking control of my future, is staying sane. This is a journey with lots of ups and downs, lots of times where I am blind-sided by what I am going through, lots of times that I cannot control the situation or the outcome of the situation. All of this uncertainty can be absolutely paralyzing for me. When it gets to this point, I cave and start to fall back to old habits of people pleasing and changing my chameleon colors to fit in.
What’s helped me stay sane is me doing what’s good for me. Okay, me staying true to who I am whether people like it or people don’t.
Staying true to who I am is what I am going to strive for in these situations. When something comes up that challenges me and would normally send me back to people pleasing, I will work to ask myself what the next move is and if it involves staying true to myself or not. If not, I will need to adjust my path, adjust my response, and do what is good for me regardless of whether or not the other person agrees.
This means that there will be certain people I will not ever lower my guard around for any reason. I’ve been teaching myself the boundaries to have with some people, now it is time to up my game and use those boundaries to do what is good for me.
Staying true to who I am requires me to know who I am. That is the next challenge. Do I truly know who I am without any external influences?
According to a Google search, clarity is defined as the quality of being coherent and intelligible. But what does clarity really mean? In my opinion, that may be different depending on who you ask.
Today, clarity might mean something completely different to me than it did a month ago or will in a year. Either way, clarity is something I know I’ve been striving to achieve for a really long time. The thought was that clarity would give me peace and direction in my life. I just needed to achieve clarity to get where I wanted to go.
Today, I feel that I was wrong in that assumption. Today, clarity means something different. Today, I feel as though I have a slice of clarity as I’m coming out of an episode of stress and a bit of depression. My slice of clarity comes from reflecting on what my triggers were over the past few weeks and what caused me the most pain during that time. I shared a little of it with you in my last post Embarrassed.
My triggers tend to always lead to one overarching topic – my past. I have given and continue to give complete control over my life to my past. It is defeating and limiting. It is stressful and depressing. It holds me back.
Today, as I’m writing this, I feel like I’m finally understanding what I need to do to have more clarity in life. I need to stop giving my past so much power over me. But how? Haven’t I come to this conclusion before? Probably. And I might come to it many times over before something finally changes. That is part of growth.
Everything that I’ve been struggling with in the past few weeks has roots in my past. Some people would say just get over it. Some would say that our past defines us. I want to just get over it, but every time I try that approach, I end up right here. My past has defined me for my entire life. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of giving my past complete control over my life. I want clarity to mean that I can identify when my past is triggering me, work through it, and come out of the trigger before ever hitting the stressed or slightly depressed point.
The definition I want clarity to mean to me is that I am clear on my triggers, clear on my steps to overcome them, and clear on my goals and direction in life.
To get to that definition, I have to take steps everyday to release the power that my past has over me. I have to acknowledge my fears and address them.
Limiting beliefs have plagued my life for as long as I can remember. The difference between now and the past is that I actually know what limiting beliefs are and how to identify them. The problem today is whether or not I stop long enough to check-in with myself to identify the limiting beliefs floating through my mind.
No matter how much I learn about identifying and overcoming limiting beliefs, I still run into times when I have a light bulb moment and realize that I’ve been living through a season of believing one limiting belief or another. This happened to me recently and I want to share with you what I did once I identified it.
I say it, but actually there are a couple of limiting beliefs that I identified I was believing around the same time. One in my current profession and one for this website and my goals for it. I first identified my limiting belief with Failing Imperfectly.
I’ve been holding myself back in what I share and how I grow this website and the Failing Imperfectly YouTube. Why? A myriad of reasons. Mostly starting with fears that I’m not good enough yet. Yep, I still battle those fears. The fear of not being good enough yet spawns into the fear that I’m not qualified yet. Those two fears grouped together are why I haven’t grown Failing Imperfectly into what I want it to be.
I have kept my website limited and I’ve sure as hell limited my interactions with YouTube. I’ve kept telling myself that I can’t say this or that and that I can’t produce free downloads or programs because I am not far enough along in my own journey and because I have not been through a coach certification program yet.
I sat down to finish uploading a couple of free resources that I made based on one of my first YouTube videos and realized I really didn’t like my website. Why? Because I kept it very basic and refrained from making statements about what the website is about. I was trying to dabble in two completely different directions that didn’t compliment each other. I didn’t want to say that I was here to offer advice because I have not yet done a certification program. I didn’t want to mislead anyone and I didn’t feel qualified. But you know what? I have been misleading myself because I want to be out here inspiring you through real life examples of overcoming all of these challenges I keep sharing, but I didn’t want to consider my learning experiences worthy of being considered advice.
Yes, there are qualification programs for coaches and yes, I will probably participate in one or more in the future. But that shouldn’t stop me from doing what I know I can do today. What can I do? Take everything I learn from other coaches, from my mentors, and share it with you as I apply it to my life. As I learn, I also develop my own methods. I can share those with you. My limiting beliefs had me stuck in a hamster wheel spinning about adding only a small amount of value to your life. The only way I’m going to continue to improve is by doing what I do now and pushing into what I envision at the same time. I don’t need any specific certification to add value to your life by sharing mine and how I overcome challenges.
The second limiting belief I identified was after I had the above realization. I’ve been paranoid about being good enough for the role I have at work and being dedicated enough. Why good enough? I have absolutely no idea. I know I am good enough, even if I have things to learn to be an expert in my role. Dedicated enough? That comes from the current situation with everybody working from home and me not wanting to be seen as a slacker if I took a break. I do this with every job that I work from home with. It’s a recurring challenge for me. This time I identified it earlier.
How does this all connect? The limiting beliefs that I have been living through have been holding me back from the greatness I know I can achieve. How do I plan to overcome these limiting beliefs?
First, I updated my website and finally made some statements about what you will find here. I also uploaded some free resources that you can find here.
Second, I stoked the fire in me that wants to build this website into a coaching business. Yes, I dream of being a respected life coach. I don’t know if I want to be as well known as Rachel Hollis, but I’m not limiting myself to anything less than being a fucking awesome life coach.
And lastly, I need to take breaks while working because if I don’t, I burn out and produce shit for work. I have to take care of myself to be the best at anything I do.
Ruminate: to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly.
Have you ever heard of this term before? I hadn’t until a year or so ago while listening to personal development. I can’t remember exactly which book or podcast I first heard it on, but it stuck with me.
A ruminator is someone who dwells on things that have happened in the past. It could have been just a few minutes ago, or years prior. What is typical, is that the ruminator repeats a situation over and over in their head, trying to figure out how they could have done something different or said something to change the course of the situation.
A ruminator continues to live in the past while also trying to move forward in the present.
For as long as I can remember, I have always ruminated. I dwell on situations to figure out how I could have done something differently. It doesn’t matter if nothing apparent went wrong, I still ruminate. I feel like there is something different I can always do so I am a better person, I don’t offend someone, I stand up for myself, etc.
I don’t know why I do it. It doesn’t help me in future situations. It doesn’t fix anything.
But since I learned of this term and habit, I have been able to identify when I do it. I can notice when I’m going down a rabbit hole in my past trying to fix something. I can tell myself that I’m ruminating again and to focus my mind on something else.
But, it isn’t as easy as being able to.
For some people, like me, ruminating doesn’t stop at the thoughts of what could be changed. It goes into a whole change of mood and outlook. Once I go down that rabbit hole, I can change an entire day. It could have been a great day with amazing things happening, and then BAM! that thought hits and there I go.
I’d like to tell you that I have been able to completely reverse my ruminating, but I haven’t. From experience, I can tell you that this habit is not an easy one to break. But, I have improved. I do it less often. I catch myself quicker. And I have come up with a way to pull myself out of the thought train and move on.
When I am ruminating and I finally catch myself, it’s like I flip a switch. You know that point when you feel like you finally understand something? Yeah, it’s like that. Once I realize what I’m doing and can get new thoughts going, I tell myself “so that happened” and then distract myself with new thoughts and dreams (something to look forward to) or by doing a task. I learned this from one of the coaches I follow, I believe Andrea Owen.
This method won’t work for everybody, and I don’t have other options to share, but learning to identify when you are ruminating will make a world of difference. Living by trying to fix things from the past will not change the future. Only living in the present and working on what is happening each moment will change the future.
I don’t want to say that you should never look back, because sometimes a quick look back to learn from a mistake or situation is just that, a learning experience. The problem is when a look back turns into a long gaze back turns into replaying something over and over again.
You aren’t going there. You can’t go there.
Learn from experiences and move on. Don’t dwell on what you cannot change.