“This is going to be the year I get my life together!”
How many of us have made overtures similar to this on New Years’ Eve? How many of us have trawled wistfully through perfectly curated Instagram feeds of next-level lives and felt ... kind of terrible.
It’s happened to all of us.
Now far be it from me, as a personal development professional, to discourage personal growth. I love personal growth.
You’ll often hear me say You’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting. I absolutely believe that. I believe in the next level. I believe in evolution and expansion.
What I don’t believe in is beating yourself up. What I don’t believe in is a pattern of thinking where you look at yourself as flawed and needing to improve before you feel worthy.
I don’t believe in a pattern of thinking where you need All the Things before you can be happy. This is advertising culture.
Advertising culture wants us to think happiness is an external pot of gold at the end of the rainbow we have to go out and find instead of what it actually is: a choice we are able to make in each moment.
We think we always need to be perfect at everything all at once, to be achieving the same milestones at the same time as everyone else, and so now we’re out there chasing our ducks trying to get them to line up instead of just living our lives and making happiness a habit, finding ways to bring joy into every day.
Youtube is fast becoming my favourite way to share content on the Interwebs. This post is a short form text version of the full training I shared on Youtube for free this week. Get the full download in the video below.
GET IT TO GO
Would you rather listen to the training? You can listen here, or binge the whole podcast series on Spotify.
As human beings, we’re programmed to go down a certain path considered “normal” by society. We’re taught to believe that happiness is the external end result of certain milestones we have to check off first.
We’re taught that the endless pursuit of these milestones will bring fulfillment at the end of, happiness at the end of, security at the end of, so we keep chasing.
When the thing doesn’t give us happiness, we think ‘Oh, well it must be because I haven’t got the next thing yet’, so we go after that. And then that leaves us feeling empty, so we go after the next thing.
This is how people get into 30 year mortgages they can’t afford, with a spouse they don’t even like, at the top of the ladder in a career they hate, and their whole world falls apart because they’ve got "all the things that apparently make you happy" and yet they’re still unhappy.
Now this is not to say that wanting those things is wrong, or that having those things is wrong. It’s wonderful and fine and normal to want those things.
Hey, I’m a happily married woman to an amazing man, and I can’t wait to purchase my first home. Having things is not wrong, and wanting things is not wrong. It’s beautiful.
The danger comes in the blind pursuit of the “next milestone” without pausing first to (a) consider all the wonderful things we’ve got in life already and (b) to think about whether this next thing we’re going after is the right path FOR US.
And then when it doesn’t happen for us when or how we expected, we feel a sense of panic, despair or urgency to “get our lives together” and when we DO achieve the milestone, the happiness at the end of it is very short lived.
This happens to people all the time. They’ve been so busy trying to get their ducks to line up they haven’t first stopped to think about why exactly they want their ducks to line up.
They haven’t stopped to think about how fleeting their happiness about ducks in a straight line will be, or what about said duck line will be so fulfilling, or if they even want their ducks lined up in the first place. They were just taught that getting all their ducks in a neat row would make them happy.
So they chase said ducks trying to get them to form a line.
But ducks don’t give a duck about what you want. They just want to be ducks.
The harder you chase them, the faster they run away from you. The more desperate you get to line them up, the more adamant they get about breaking rank and scattering.
It’s a lot more satisfying to get just a couple of the ducks you really care about in a line and let the rest drift around doing duck stuff.
The ducks will be happier. You’ll be happier.
And, possibly because you and your other two ducks are standing there calmly, instead of you running around making everyone very uncomfortable, the other ducks will get curious and line up of their own accord because it looks like you’re all having fun.
I’m getting waaaaaaaaaay too deep into this duck analogy and now I’m not quite sure how to dig myself out.
Here’s what I’m really trying to say:
You are whole, complete and straight up wonderful just as you are.
You are exactly where you need to be on your journey, right now, whatever that looks like! Life might not look like you want it to – yet – but that doesn’t automatically mean there’s something wrong, that you’re not “together”, or that somehow you’re incomplete or not leading a fulfilling life.
You have intentions for your life. You have a vision. You care about being a good human. And if that’s where you at right now, that is okay. You don’t have to be good at All the Things.
You don’t have to be doing what everyone else is doing, whether that’s because you’re not ready, your journey is moving slower, or it’s just not something you want. Your job is to be you, and to have fun right now being you, taking care of you, and doing what feels good to YOU.
You have my official permission to be happy right now: just as you are, where you are.
You are worthy just as you are. You are enough. You are where you have to be. So breathe. Breathe and be in the Right Now. Take a moment and savor EVERYTHING you’ve achieved, all the wonderful things in life right now that rock.
Stop chasing those damn ducks for a minute and just chill.
Before embarking on your personal development journey, ask yourself these 5 questions first to gain clarity around what you want, and peace about where you are.
#1: Is this what I really want?
Is this REALLY something that your soul desires and craves?
Not what your parents want for you. Not what all your friends are doing with their lives. Not what everyone’s doing on the Instagrams.
What do YOU want? How do YOU want to express yourself? What do YOU want for yourself and for your life?
What does your dream life look like? Does this fulfill and serve and is it a full and authentic expression and extension of your highest self?
You are the creator of your life, your life vision, your life purpose. The best part of being an adult is having creative control over how your life turns out.
Your parents, friends (or really, anyone) have about as much right to tell you what time to go to bed as they do how much you should earn, who you should marry, how you keep your home, what you should do for a living, or when/if you should have kids.
The whole reason you are here on this website is because you’re interested in manifesting the life of your dreams: part of being the creator of your destiny means that YOU are steering the ship, not anybody else. So if it’s not something that really feels aligned to the highest expression of yourself, it doesn’t matter.
You have one tiny, precious life with a finite amount of grains of sand in the hourglass. Will you spend each one trying to conform to others’ expectations, worrying about what others will think of you, or instead spend them doing what you love and following the path that makes you happy?
To quote Katie Bingham Smith, “save your fucks for magical shit!”
“Yes, you should give a fuck. You really should. But only for the things that set your soul on fire. Save your fucks for magical shit.” — Katie Bingham Smith
#2: Is this part of the highest vision I have for my dream life?
Is this thing you want to improve on or change or get a part of a bigger plan? Does it serve a higher purpose?
Does this feel aligned to YOU and does embarking on this path of development feel like a process of re-becoming who you are, or are you trying to change who you are?
When I first started coaching, a big block for me was that I had to look like I had it all together. I had to be a professional.
I had to pretend like I had it all figured out, like I wasn’t just quirky, scatterbrained Rhi who likes to live in her own little world because that’s where she can create things. Who would want coaching from an absent minded professor who didn’t have it all figured out, I would say.
I felt like people wouldn’t take me seriously if they saw how much of a hot mess I am behind the scenes.
But then I realized: When I looked into my future and saw myself as a successful coach, I was still ME. I was still a hot mess. I was still quirky. I still had an offbeat sense of humor, I was still a bit scatterbrained.
But I could still help people. It didn’t change what I knew as a coach. It didn’t change the fact that I was dedicated to helping my clients dream bigger and manifest the life of their dreams. I could still be good at that.
And if instead of spending time “fixing” all the places where I wasn’t the professional, straight laced, corporate coach I thought I should be, I just focused on being authentically ME and growing my skills as a coach, I could be a better coach.
People could connect authentically with the real ME and I would be a better coach and a happier human being from not trying to pretend I’m someone I’m not.
You don’t have to have it all together. You don’t have to be someone you’re not. Is the you in your dream future a completely different person? No! She’s just you.
Sure, you might have grown a little bit, but it’s more like you’ve grown into more of who you truly are: confident, authentic and happy - than changed into a different person.
If it’s not part of a bigger vision, it’s a subconscious distractor from the things that really are part of your vision.
Either your Inner Critic has FOMO and is caught in comparison paralysis, or it’s a sabotage move in the form of procrastination to distract you from what really matters.
#3: Will it be of service to the people around me?
Will this change how you show up for your loved ones? For your business? For your audience? For the people who depend on you?
If this will positively transform your relationships with your loved ones, or positively impact how you show up in the world, if it is going to mean becoming more visible so that you can grow in your business/career or as a human being, if it’s going to change the lives of the people around you, then it’s worth developing.
#4: Am I changing for myself or for other people?
Yes, I realize this is kind of contradictory to the last question. However, it’s only when we own our journey and make change in our lives of our own volition that transformation is sustainable.
Is this a change you’re making for YOU because you feel called and ready, or because you feel like it will impress or appease someone in your life?
A good way to know if it fits into the “other people” category is to listen to your language around what you want to change or develop. If it’s a change you’re making for others, you will often language it with “I should...”
Is this a should or is this a must?
For a few weeks now I’ve been talking about the concept that we don’t change for our shoulds, we change for our musts. Change rarely sticks when we make because other people have nagged us into it and it is even rarer still that it feels good.
Does this mean that we’ll never change? No, because one day it might become a must for us. One day we might feel the internal call to make a shift or uplevel.
But when we feel like we should change to please someone else, it rarely works. It’s not aligned. We’re not at that part of our journey yet.
Alternatively, it might not even be something you want for your life at all. Maybe your parents envisioned you would be a doctor, but you were always passionate about being a writer.
Maybe your friends are all buying houses, but you have a great dream of being a digital nomad. Never change your life to fit into someone else’s mold! When you be you the right people will love you for it.
But the change has to come from YOU. It can’t be sustained by a whip cracked on you from other people.
Lasting, sustainable change that feels GOOD and aligned must come from a wellspring of desire within. Otherwise all you will do is generate resistance which will manifest more things to try and change.
#5: Why am I doing this?
What is your big why? What is your big motivator? For what purpose do you want the thing? For what purpose do you want to change the habit? For what purpose do you want to grow and develop in XYZ?
Remember, it’s not the “thing” we want, it’s the way we perceive it’s going to make us feel that is ultimately what is motivating us. If you have a big enough why, the how takes care of itself. What does that why look like for you?
Is there a big, driving reason behind this? Or is this something you’re just doing because you’re comparing yourself to others, feeling like you should be more grown, or more successful, or more together, or whatever story you’ve made up for yourself about how you “should” be.
Just be who you are, as you are, and grow that. Grow into who you are, rather than trying to change who you are.
Who you are is whole and complete and perfect. The more you take steps from a natural place of being, the more you reach for what it is you really want, the more fucks you give about the things that light you up and the less fucks you give about everything else, the more your life will change.
You’re going to realize that doing what feels good to you and to your soul, showing up for YOURSELF instead of everybody else, and feeding YOUR desires, and YOUR strengths, and the things that are important to YOU is ultimately how you are of higher service. Choose a growth path that reflects that and forget the rest.
❤ Related Resources: Three Steps to Changing Your Life (The Anatomy of Transformation) ❤
Who cares if the rest of the world is Marie Kondo-ing their house, running a marathon or getting engaged? You do you. You find ways to make you happy. Find ways to grow that are aligned with YOUR journey and what feels right to you.
Walk your own path. Yeah, maybe some people will be asking you why you’re doing it at first.
But when they see you living your best life, when they see how you’re owning your energy and your worth and your path, they’re going to stop asking you why and start asking you how. Let me know in the comments: Has this helped you feel clearer about where you are and where you want to move forward? Let’s have a chat about it! SHOP THE STORY
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson YOU Are A Badass - Jen Sincero The Gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown Girl, Stop Apologizing - Rachel Hollis
SAVE SOME FOR ‘RON! Did you enjoy this post? Make sure to Pin it so you can come back to it later - and if you loved it, help to spread the word and share it with your tribe via the share buttons below.