I’ve always thought the trajectory of my life should always be moving up and to the right. You know, sort of that classic business graph where everything is constantly growing, up-leveling or getting to the next level. And I know it’s the same for you and many of the women in this community. Whether it’s our careers, our personal lives, our families, the way we run our households, or contribute to our communities, our health and wellbeing, or our finances, it’s our overarching goal in so many aspects of life.
And the truth is, this just isn’t how life always works. And when it feels like things are trending down instead of up, it’s important to take stock and understand what’s happening. Because when this happens, there’s this part of us that just knows things can be better. We feel this gnawing sense of discontent. And we don’t always like to admit that there’s something we can do about it. Instead we say “It is what it is” or “This is just the way things are”. It can be scary, honestly, and easier to avoid thinking about it – to ignore it, stay busy, or numb out with a screen or a glass of wine.
Here’s what I want you to know: if you want to steer your life to a new place, you have to remember that what got you here won’t get you there. The pathway of your life to this point was designed to lead to this place, and you’ve arrived – think of it as a car you’ve been driving that has safely brought you to your destination. And sometimes in order to move forward, we have to get out of the car and into a new one.
So think of one area in your life where you know you want things to be different. Think about what you have been doing up until now to achieve the result that you currently have. And then as we think about these three ideas, think about which of them might move you forward. So if you want to get a different result in your life, you need to do some combination of three things:
- Think new thoughts. Let’s use Scrabble as a metaphor. You pick your tiles, look at your letters, and think, “what words can I make out of this?” That’s the visual idea when you’re making choices out of your current circumstances. We often forget that there are an infinite number of tiles we could add, and those represent our future vision. We want to ask ourselves “what would the future me do to get where I want to go?” And in order to do that, we have to address thinking patterns, thought patterns, and mindset patterns that may not be serving us. The things we’re telling ourselves repeatedly about what we can and can’t do, what we know and don’t know, and what we have and don’t have. If we want a different outcome, we have to learn how to think new thoughts.
- Learn new things. Sometimes we have knowledge gaps or skill gaps we need to address before we can get to that next level. Whether thinking about your own personal health and wellbeing, your career, parenting, or relationships, sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know. Filling a knowledge gap or a skill gap really can catapult us to the next level.
- Take new actions. Do you ever feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? If you are doing the same thing, not learning something new, and not taking an action that you know could get you a different result, it can actually backfire. Sometimes we have to take actions that are rooted in a belief that our circumstances will in fact improve or change over time, and that’s what enables us to tolerate the risk to get to that next level.
When you think about these three things, one really great framing question to ask is “What would my future self say if she could talk to me right now?” Think about the version of you who has already been through the experience. She’s already gained the wisdom that you’re seeking. This is the version of you who you want to be guiding your decisions.
And if you want to chat about how to get some structure and support through this process, set up some time here to talk to us and see if coaching is right for you.