I was watching the TV programme "Eat well, spend less" and I was fascinated by the way we can easily get into hard to break habits. Living on autopilot filling the supermarket trolley with the items that "we always buy" without really thinking, I guess can also be said of a lot of things we do in life.
As humans we like familiarity; our reptilian brain works hard to keep us from changing anything, filling us with thoughts of "it's too difficult", "it's scary", "I won't be able to do that" etc., But, in staying the same, living on auto-pilot, what are we missing out on?
Anne, one of my recent clients, had just had one of those birthdays – the big 40. She was fed up. She felt the last decade of her life had just disappeared into nothingness and didn’t want to get to 50 feeling the same. As we explored her career to date, she made comments “that’s just the way it is” “work is hard enough without upsetting people”, “it’s easier to just say yes, you can’t say no to your boss.” Anne had become a victim of her own good nature. Whenever anything needed doing – organising the birthday cards and the gifts from the office team, covering the phones, sorting out the stationery, setting up the tech in the meeting room, dealing with an irate customer, Anne was the “go-to”. Unsurprisingly all of this “stuff” meant that her own work suffered, deadlines were missed and she often stayed late to try and get on top of things. This left her feeling tired most of the time.
She found herself in a routine of going to work, making something to eat, watching TV and going to bed. At weekends she caught up on the household chores, sometimes went for a walk or read a book and occasionally met up with some friends for a meal or coffee and cake.
Anne explained that she longed for her life to be different, but couldn’t find the energy to change things.
One of the ways I helped Anne, was to ask her to think about her standards. She was clearly helpful, hardworking and committed at work. Looking at her life as a whole, what standards would she like to set herself for?
· How she goes about her work?
· The relationships she has both inside and outside of work?
· How she would like to use her time?
· How she manages her financial situation?
· How she could value the talents she has and her “self”?
· What her version of work-life balance would look like?
· How she could look after her physical, mental and spiritual health?
· At age 50, what would she like to be able to say about this last decade?
There is a saying “Energy flow where the focus goes” Motivated by the possibilities Anne and I are now working together to bring her standards to life, so that she can live and work well, and stress less.
Find out more about my “S.H.I.F.T – Refocus, Re-energise Create a life you love Coaching” here