At the end of last year I gave myself permission to pivot. Recognizing when we need to do this, and being clear about our reasons, releases tension and helps avoid burnout and regret.
Last December I noticed I was not putting in the time to progress the things I had on my plan to build my business. I had the actions in my diary and each day would come and go and somehow I hadn’t quite gotten started, so I would drag the item to the next day and pretend to myself I would find time then.
After a few weeks of this I became aware of a growing daily tension. You know, the kind creeps up on you when you have a conflict between what you set out to do and what life decides to demand of you instead? The kind of uneasy feeling you try and ignore using all the go to things you do to avoid discomfort. For me its cleaning the house, doing laundry and too many visits to TJ Maxx (if that is actually possible). Daily activities that can swallow up huge swathes of time and let me feel like I am being productive without actually moving forward with the important things.
Time to clean up my thoughts not my home
As a life coach I am always suspicious of "the stuff that gets in the way" of what we say we want to do, which is often an indicator of our underlying fear of failure, or success. Much of my work with clients is to uncover the thoughts and feelings that come out of these very human ways we have of playing safe - avoiding putting ourselves out there instead of creating the lives we want. Once we uncover the underlying thoughts and beliefs, we can take back control and take intentional actions to achieve what we desire. So, it didn’t take much longer for me to realize that my over clean house and empty laundry basket was a sign I needed to clean up my thinking not my home.
Self-coaching can get me so far, but I find having someone to work with on my thoughts and feelings gets me to my truth much quicker, so I turned to a dear coaching friend, Celine Giangi, to help me explore what was really going on. I love the external perspective working with a coach brings and Celine’s ability to lift up things that are outside of my awareness is so valuable. In our session I was able to see clearly the nature of the conflict I was facing between my desire to build my business and my need to support my family through a particularly challenging time. I knew I couldn’t do both at full capacity and take care of myself. I also knew my value of prioritizing my family will always beat my other values, but I really didn’t want to give up on my dreams for the business and not be there for my future clients.
If I hadn't taken this time to understand what was going on for me, I might have started getting down on myself for not making progress. I might have chosen to push myself harder to stay on track; risking becoming more stressed every day as I tried to juggle conflicting demands whilst feeling like I wasn’t doing anything well. I might have thought my resistance was because I was afraid to do the work or procrastinating because it was going to be hard and I didn’t know where to start; risking overwhelm and that awful sense of stuckness – watching one more YouTube video to show me how to do the thing rather than taking that first step forward.
These are all the things I see my clients doing when they are trying to take action without pausing first to check in and see what is going on below the surface.
A natural high
What I needed was a pivot: a review of my priorities and some replanning. This enabled me to find a way to both care for my family the way I wanted and hold onto my dreams for the business by making a clear choice to move the business forward a little slower. I was effectively doing this by not taking the actions on my business but as I was doing it unconsciously, not from a place of clarity and with intention, it was creating a psychological tension within me.
There is an amazing feeling you can experience when you uncover the truth and purpose behind your actions in this way and it brings a sense of peace as the tension leaves your body – in the biz we refer to these insights as the “Aha moments”. Sharing these moments of insight with our clients during a coaching or therapy session are what we therapists and coaches love about our work. Getting them for ourselves is like a little high and releases energy we can put to work straight away – energy we had been using to hold the tension between our conflicting values or goals.
From this vantage point I could look objectively at the things I was committed to, what was most important that I could still move forward with and what could reasonably be deferred for a few months without derailing my business plans. So, I reduced my coaching schedule to a few hours a week, I didn’t write blogs, I didn’t post on social media, and I actively let people know I wasn’t taking on new clients for the next few months. I did continue my own learning and personal development, including completing my certification as a Sparketype Advisor and I kept my commitments to the BACP Coaching Networking – building a community to connect with and support practitioners like me who have trained both as a coach and a therapist.
I am thankful my family and I are coming to the end of a difficult transition. I am grateful for what we have learned, proud of how we have supported each other, and I am excited for what is to come. I believe that however challenging unexpected changes can be and however painful the losses they bring, they ultimately make space for something new that can turn out even better than we expected. I am pleased I paused and made the decision to pivot and be totally there for my family without letting go of my own dreams.
Creating the path for you
So now, 7 months on, I am beginning to refocus on my business and slowly increase the time I spend on letting future clients know I am here and how I can help. With so many distractions competing for your attention and so many ways to avoid addressing the hard things that stand between you and what you truly want for yourself, it is important to me that I am doing everything I can to help you find the path to me when you are ready.
To that end I am working again with the creator of my website, the awesome Sian Ellis Thomas, to refresh the site and add information about new services and ways of working that I have for you. I am looking forward to sharing more ideas through my blogs on how to get the most out of your life and become who you truly want to be. These will continue to be intermittent, as I have found I enjoy writing the most when ideas arise naturally in my life, not to a schedule. Therefore, the best way to make sure you don’t miss out on new blogs is to subscribe to the newsletter so you will be notified whenever I publish something.
Time for Another Adventure
As I mentioned, letting go of things makes space for something new, and I am excited to be embarking on a new adventure. I will be training as a Pilates Instructor with the inspirational Sheila Kuhn at the Pilates Center of Cincinnati.
This will be so much fun as I love learning (Maven Sparketypes will totally get me); I love Pilates and how great it makes me feel; and this will be a wonderful way to refresh my teaching and anatomy knowledge whilst bring together my coaching skills and long-held interest in the mind/body connection.
I will keep you posted on my progress (the good the not so much and the absolute howlers) through my blog and Instagram once I start training.
So for now, stay curious, courageous and compassionate and if you feel it maybe time to pause and pivot in your life do reach out to me and remember: my happy place is helping you get to yours.
As always, if you are interested in understanding how coaching or therapy can help you to create the life you want please connect with me at https://www.unburdennow.com/contact
Today I am thankful for...
My husband who took time this Sunday morning to call the contractor to find the broken wire to fix the bugscreens so I could write this blog whilst enjoying my back yard without becoming brunch for the mosquitos that we share our little patch of nature with.