It’s a common refrain: “I know I need to change, but I’m stuck.”
It is often followed by: “I see myself in that pattern, but I keep doing it anyway!”
My heart is touched most by: “How do I create something better when I can’t see my future?” As a coach, I sense the ache in this. The void. And yet, the potential for something better is still there — even if you can’t see it.
There is rich material in this ‘blindness’ to possibility. Our potential is only ever limited by what we believe to be true. If we can’t see possibility, it’s on us. And that is the good news. We can do something about it!
If you’re beating yourself up because you can’t see what’s next in your life, there may be a very good reason for this. We can’t see what we don’t want to see. This doesn’t mean you don’t want to be fulfilled, but it might mean that you are invested in staying comfortable, safe. And for some, even the possibility of risking disappointment can feel like too much.
If you want to create something better, but feel stuck, here are some ways you can free yourself:
Give yourself permission to choose your own future
For some, choosing to dream about fulfillment is the same as being ‘difficult’, as if a win for you means a loss for someone else. Instead of this zero-sum perspective, imagine that you could dream about your life as if it were truly your own.
A gift. A rich resource for the good you want to bring to this world. Hold your future as if it were necessary for everyone else. Because it is. You cannot give what you have not mastered in yourself.
The world needs you, and it needs your gifts.
Notice what you’ve been complaining about
Pay attention to your complaints. If you turn them inside out, you’ll be better able to see what you value, and what you want more of in your life. Getting frustrated with how long it takes to do mundane tasks may be about wanting more time to be creative. Getting aggravated at the routinely late garbage collection may be about wanting control in some other part of your life. Worries about money may be about safety. Turn this awareness into a positive intention, and you have an action plan.
Notice what you do that keeps you feeling small
You may be avoiding asking for a raise because you know your boss doesn’t like ‘those kinds of conversations’. You say ‘yes’ when you really want to say ‘no’. You continue working when you’re tired because you feel it’s expected of you. Any time you ignore what you need, you’ll be treating yourself as if you don’t count. If you feel you don’t count, you’ll behave as if you don’t. You’ll be surviving your life instead of creating it.
Watch your language: it counts
Our brains are designed to go to the negative — but it’s important to be careful with your language, as it will determine what you do.
Here are some ways to switch language that is not accurate nor helpful:
Switch “I’m not good at that” to: “I have never tried to learn how to do that.”
Switch “I can’t” to: “I am capable of learning whatever I set my mind to.”
Switch “I’m a stress eater” to: “I can learn how to manage my stress more effectively.”
Switch “I’ll never be able to afford that” to: “If I truly want it, I can decide to work toward it. But even if I really can’t afford that Lamborghini, I can relish the idea of it.”
Switch “I’m not smart enough to get that promotion” to: “That’s just something I tell myself when I’m scared.”
Face what you’re avoiding
The thing you’re avoiding may very well be ‘the way’ toward the future you want. You can’t see your future if you’re avoiding it. If you’ve been miserable in your current position, but you haven’t been looking for another one, you’re avoiding something that needs to be faced. Try this: Get started on simply looking, not actually applying. Notice what feelings or thoughts come up as you sit down to do this. What’s there? A fear of being rejected? Being told you’re not enough? That you’re not as good as you thought you were? Feel the vulnerability, and do one small scary thing a day anyway.
Your body knows what you want
If you’re having a hard time visualizing what you want the most, close your eyes. Think about your current situation. What do you notice? More thinking? A tightness in your head? Keeping your eyes closed and your mind blank, imagine something you want to do. Check in with your body. You may notice a tingling sensation in your legs, and a sense of energy moving upward. Or you may feel a warmth around your heart. Now think of what you believe you should do. Where does the energy go? Your head? If it’s all in your head, it’s not the best option for you. Trust what your body tells you.
Now you’ve taken the steps to clear away the debris.
Now you’re ready to write your message in a bottle.
Invite the universe to do the work with you — ‘build it and they will come’.
One year from now, what will you have created?