I heard something today in yoga class. Sweaty and out of breath, laying in savasana, the teacher reminded us to tune into our breath, and said, “ If you find your mind wandering, find your breath and focus on it. The beautiful thing about your breath is it’s always there. You can always go back to it. You can always start again.”
The Choice Trap
And yet, we often act like we can’t.
“I screwed things up with that client, I can never build it back up again.”
“I didn’t major in the right thing in college, now I’m trapped.”
“That acting thing didn’t work out. And now I’m too old and don’t have the right experience, no one is ever going to hire me.”
“I was doing so great with that new habit, and then I lost traction. What’s the point, I may as well give up? I’ll never be able to get back into it now.”
That last quote was mine today, in relation to this blog. I had set myself the task of writing 2 times a week, and this week it got away from me for no good reason. And then I look at my watch and realize it’s Thursday afternoon and I’ve written nothing this week. And then I told myself, “See Shelley, you knew you’d never do this. This is why you never should have started that stupid blog again in the first place! You don’t have what it takes to sustain this new habit. You might as well give up. You suck!” And then it got even worse, and I found myself in a pit of self-induced shame. Telling myself that I “should be” better at this by now, and I “should” practice the things I preach to my clients.
The Problem with Should
Until I realized I was “shoulding” all over myself – also something I warn my clients about.
Dang. I hate it when I’m right.
So here I am, MacBook in hand, and I told that voice to shut up today, because I choose to remember what my teacher said. I also choose to remember what William Glasser said, who wrote Choice Theory, one hell of a book, and coincidentally one of the best books I’ve ever read. (He’s dead, just in case you’re wondering, but not from making bad choices.) His premise was that every moment of every day is a choice. I can choose to believe I’m a failure, or I can choose to believe otherwise. I can choose to move closer to this person in this moment, or I can choose to move away from them. Will that choice serve me or not? In every moment there is some element of agency. Some element where I can become the master of my own fate, even if it’s just changing what I choose to believe about what happened. A very helpful thing indeed if I choose my own interpretation, because unfortunately I haven’t become omnipotent yet. Otherwise the weather in Austin, Texas would look a lot more like Southern California. But I digress…
So today I choose to believe I’m a blogger and in this moment I choose to believe I can finish this blog.
And so I just did.
What is something you’ve chosen to put on the back burner because you don’t believe you have what it takes? What’s one choice you can make today that will move you closer to that goal?
Shelley Pernot is a leadership and career coach who is passionate about helping her clients discover their strengths and talents and find a career that utilizes them. Reach out to me here for a free consultation to learn more about the coaching process and how it may benefit you!