“I’m stuck in a rut. The walls are so high, I don’t know how to climb out. I work long hours, when I get home the kids are often already in bed. I’m tired and usually stressed out! All I do is eat junk food and sit in front of the television in a coma! My wife isn’t very pleased with me because I’m always putting things off until tomorrow, later or next week. Of course, I’m too tired when ‘later’ comes around. Everyone wants something and I just haven’t got the time. It’s not my fault!”
Andrew, a coaching client.
I believe that we directly cause things to happen by our actions or inactions. In other words, we create or allow them to happen!
Now…this wasn’t what Andrew wanted to hear.
He wanted me to reinforce his belief that he was a victim of circumstance. After all, that’s just the way things have to be if you want kids, a wife and a successful career right!?
It’s sometimes hard to come to terms with the results we are producing in life.
We don’t see it because we are sucked into busy-ness – too busy reacting to the chaos around us. As Andrew says, we get stuck in a rut and the walls appear too high to see a way out.
Unwittingly we also allow things to happen simply by our inaction to do something:
- Not dealing with the damp issue in the kitchen – now it’s spreading into the dining room
- Not making time to develop your leadership skills because you were too busy doing the job. You’ve just been passed over for promotion
- Not getting around to getting the car repaired and now it has broken down
- Not discussing that disagreement with your colleague and now it has escalated to your manager.
- Not speaking up in the meeting about your idea. Someone else mentioned it and got the praise!
Because the thought of taking action makes us feel uncomfortable and out of control. So we take the path of least resistance. We just stand by and let things happen. So we:
- keep the peace by saying nothing
- pretend not to see it
- hope it’ll just go away (close our eyes, fingers in ears!)
- say yes when we meant to say no
- settle and survive
Here’s the thing…
By holding the mirror up to Andrew he was able to see that he was the one who was creating his own life and maintaining it the way it was.
He recognised that he was in the driving seat of his own mind and how he showed up. He’d got lost in the busy-ness and overwhelm. So he decided to claim his power back and choose a different approach.
- You get to choose your actions. Act in ways that gets you more of what you want. Recognise that you are not the victim here.
- Pay attention to your warning signs – We all get them (and often choose to ignore them!). Listen your internal alerts:
- Gut feeling
- Suspicion that something might happen/might not happen
- A sense or fleeting thought
- Be proactive – Don’t wait for the other shoe to fall off!
- Learn to be uncomfortable – Face the situation, don’t hide from it. Work through the discomfort one step at a time.
- Take 100% responsibility for your actions and inaction.
- Everyone needs support – Don’t be frightened to ask for help. Talk to like-minded people. A coach can really help you to recognise what you are allowing into your life and whether this is what you really want.