Steve and I have worked for ourselves most of our adult lives. From 1999 – 2011, we helped run our friends’ business which was interesting, challenging and full of rich life experiences. In 2011 we felt the need to make a big life change. So we left these jobs, went back to school and now we are once again working for ourselves. It is a great thing but it has its’ challenges. One of which is to keep ourselves motivated. Recently, I have been feeling inadequate in that category. If you have ever felt inadequate you know it is not a good feeling.
There is so much to do I tell myself, but I just can’t seem to get to it. Why can’t I keep up? I make a “to do” list. I add to it constantly but rarely am I subtracting from it. I love to mark things off my list and it is not happening.
There is a lot to do when you work for yourself. Actually there is a lot to do when you work for someone else. The reality is, there is a lot to do whomever you work for or even if you are retired.
Instead of doing the things I say I want to do, I keep making excuses which adds to my feeling of inadequacy. Along with the inadequacy comes the negative labels I give myself, the not so nice ones that unfortunately still flow when my mind is not in the right place. My inner critic is so strong and ready to pounce when I let it. The inner critic is really the inner bully. It keeps me small and unable to move.
I have so many really cool projects I want to work on. I want to tap into my creativity and let it express itself but something, mainly self-doubt, keeps rearing its ugly head and pushing me back.
It takes on the “busyness form”. “I am so busy”, “I can’t get organized”, “I can’t focus” so I start to spiral into the trap of “I can’t”. Yuck!
I having a feeling I am not alone. Perhaps you have felt this way. Maybe you have felt if you could just get past your own inner critic/bully, you could do the things you want to do. How do we get past the “negative self-speak?” How do we become our own cheerleader?
Last week Steve and I led a Wellness Camp in upstate New York at Easton Mountain Retreat Center. The camp introduced the attendees to many different approaches to self-care and self-understanding.
During one of our sessions, we had everyone draw up their ‘Influence Map”. It is a tool my friend Kate uses for yoga teachers to trace their roots to their yoga practice. On this retreat, we asked everyone to start with themselves in the middle of the page and list all the influences of their lives as spokes in a wheel. At first it seems obvious as you write down your parents, siblings, extended family, teachers, spouses or partners. If you keep going and let yourself sit quietly, you might be surprised at all the other things that come out. You realize the religion you grew up with, the schools and their philosophies, what you read, the movies, TV and internet you take in all contribute to who you are.
You can really get into it and use drawings and colored pencils. You can also just use a pen or pencil. It is a time to reflect on what has helped mold you into who you are today. It can help you to also look at possible sources for the quality of “mind-speak” you may currently have playing over and over in your head.
The influence map is about looking at the origins of the good, the not so good and everything in between. It is not about blaming the way you are on someone else or your circumstances. It’s about seeing the influences for what they are and deciding on a conscious level if you still want to claim them for your own. If they are not serving you, perhaps you decide to set them down and walk away from them.
The visual of setting old baggage down and walking away is lovely. But many times what you thought you left at the train station seems to somehow be waiting for you in your living room when you return home. Leaving the bag takes effort. Repeated effort! How long have you carried it with you? If you have been carrying it for a long time, it is going to take some time to let it go on the deepest levels of your being. But the effort is worth it. Why? Because you want to be the best you can be. Being your best means developing the deepest levels of self-love you can imagine. Maybe you can’t even imagine what “self-love” feels like or looks like. Some of us have some pretty heavy baggage from the past. Some of us are carrying it around in our DNA. Once we become aware of what we want or DON’T want, then we can start to make changes in ourself that will affect the rest of our incredible journey.
I work on being happy just about every day of my life. It doesn’t come natural to me. Maybe for some people it comes easily, but for others like me, we have to work on it. I recognize my “making excuses” and not getting things done is me falling back into old patterns of self-doubt which immobilize me.
I took the time on our recent retreat to do a new influence map for myself. It’s amazing how new things pop up each time I do it. I did the map with the intention of seeing not just where there might be negative influences but I also looked for the people who believe in me and for situations where I believed in myself. Ultimately, we must be the ones who believe in US. A healthy first step can be to look at those we admire and how they have encouraged us on our path. What do they see in us that we don’t see? Perhaps that will help foster a bit of self-love. Maybe we can find the “well of self-respect” and self-love within our own heart and accept it without doubt.
We can blame the world for everything from the weather to our lives not being fulfilling but all that does is give us something to complain about and keeps us stuck right where we are. Maybe, once we create it, we can look at our “influence map” with new eyes and see that whether for good or bad; everything on it has made us into exactly who we are in this moment. We may be a work in progress but remember in this moment, right now, you are AWESOME. Believe it. Fly. Grow. Transform.
Move toward being the ultimate expression of the person you KNOW you can be.
Healthy Living Retreat – Key West FL.
August 3-6, 2017
Hosted at: Alexander’s Guesthouse
Classes and hands-on work in the kitchen will provide you with easy and healthy recipes. Thursday evening’s dinner will be prepared by Steve himself.