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Let Yourself Off The Hook

I had been wearing the same purple hoodie every day for like a month. I don’t even really like its shade of grayish purple. Most of my clothes have been stored in my boyfriend’s mom’s garage since we came to Georgia in late March. I hadn’t felt motivated enough to go there and select a new fashion option.

I set a goal of completing 100 coaching hours by the end of March. It’s now May 6th and I’m not quite there.

I’d eaten more frozen pizza in the last month than I ever did in college. (And gurrrrl you know we got into some frozen pizzas our Sophomore year @Judy, @Kelsey, @Lauren)!

I was behind on my homework in a class I’m taking. Funny I had no problem getting through the seven Tiger King episodes and the bonus special. Yikes.

I’d done a shitty job at time management. I slacked off on my once daily nature walks.

I was feeling like I wasn’t doing a good job in my professional OR personal life.

It seemed like I was working even more than I was before the quarantine (many of my coaching clients have said the same thing - some are working more while juggling a full house of kids, partners, and pets). Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m actually working more or if I’m just more exhausted. Whichever it is, it wasn’t feeling good.

My judgy inner critic was having a heyday with all that I was getting wrong. I was judging my levels of doing AND being. My inner critic told me that I wasn’t doing enough, not doing the right things, not making enough time for being with my sporadic range of emotions. Beating myself up for not exercising more, not resting more, not getting more done, not magically becoming a world class chef, not [insert one million other things I “should” be doing]. It’s NOT helpful energy.

On top of where I felt like I was falling short, I also have a deep desire to contribute more to our world than just staying home and wearing a mask when I go to the grocery store.

When I could access a pocket of empathy, I remembered...

I’ve never done “this” before. Hat tip to Brene Brown for Effing First Times (FFTs, more here).

I’m living in a state I had never even visited before October.

Living with four other adults and four dogs was totally new for me.

My business is under 8 months old. Juggling consulting work and a coaching business is something that I’ve never attempted before.

I AM an excellent coach. I bring wholehearted presence, playfulness, and curiosity to every call.

I’m ALL IN on my close friendships. We have each other’s backs no matter what. The territory of our calls traverse a wide range of territory: tears, giggles, fierce honesty, basic grocery store inventory updates, and what we’re most afraid of right now.

And as uncomfortable and completely uncertain as this situation is, I know that good things are growing out of it.

I’m learning a lot about myself.

What I need, what I don’t need.

What works for me, what doesn’t.

Where there’s flow, where there’s stuckness.

The power to choose what perspective I want to be in.

Everything feels a lot better when I remember who I am.

So how do you let yourself off the hook when you don’t feel like you’re doing anything “right”?

  1. Pick one tiny thing that felt good to you each day. Maybe it was the way the sunlight was coming into your window. Maybe it was a great nap. Maybe it was finding that perfect silly GIF. Maybe it was just letting yourself cry when you felt sad.
  2. Make some space in your day for tomorrow’s tiny thing.
  3. Give yourself the gift of your own attention and validation. It might be telling yourself “You are new at this.” Or “There is no RIGHT way to do any of this.” “It’s okay not to be productive right now.” “I love myself unconditionally, not just when I’m doing a ‘good job’”
  4. Slow waaaaaay down. This isn’t the time to try to do more at a faster pace. Add in more deep breaths and more glasses of water when you can.
  5. Start a practice of asking yourself what you need and how you can tend to that need before looking at your list of tasks to do.
  6. When you approach your “to do” list, explore how you can be more gentle with yourself while doing the things (or when you choose not to do the things!). Even just 5% more gentle helps. We’re all navigating so many emotions all at once.

If you or women you love are interested in joining a group where I share tips and tricks on boundary setting, join us here. I’m gearing up to do a free training on Boundaries in the Time of Coronavirus this Saturday, May 9th at 12pm (noon) ET in my Facebook group.

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