Perspective

I’ve been sending out invitations for my wedding taking place in July of this year. As a communications’ professional, this is one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding – the actual formal communication of this incredible day for which my Fiancé and I are busy planning.

Over the weekend, a telemarketer (hello duct cleaning!) used caller ID spoofing software to robocall thousands of people using my parents’ home phone number. Many of these people have been calling back to ask why we called them. Some of them angry. Understandably so. We’ve received thousands of calls since Saturday, and have had to unplug the phone line or lose our minds due to incessant ringing.

Here’s the thing: My parents’ home phone number is one of the ways to RSVP for the wedding. We’ve sent out 90 invitations. With. That. Phone. Number.

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Needless to say, I was a little frantic when this first happened. There was a lot of rage anger, particularly about why this happened to begin with (I’ll save that for another day). It created a lot of tension, and my imagination went down many paths of crazy. We’re not going to get our RSVP numbers right and that’s going to ruin EVERYTHING! Even though there’s also an email address on the invitation to RSVP. OMG we’re going to have to change the phone number and that’s so much work I don’t have time for, and then, what if the telemarketer gets the new number and does this all over again?!? True story we have to change the phone number, but the other part? Really, Fazeena? I worked so hard on planning this wedding, and this is so unfair! Yup… shit happens.

Spending time at Motel Crazytown

While the first couple of days of this experience were incredibly frustrating and filled with rage anger, I realized (with some awesome listening and advice from the Fiancé) that staying in this space was using up too much of my energy. And when you’re planning a wedding, buying a house and building a business, energy can very often be stretched.

It’s necessary to feel emotions to process experiences in a healthy way or we risk creating energy blocks that lead to other issues. BUT we reach a point where it becomes necessary to recognize the messages playing in our minds and to ask whether those messages are fueling our emotions in a way that help us forward or keep us stuck. We can take it a step further and ask what the fears behind the messages are to begin with. That inquiry alone will start to create a shift.

Contraction or expansion?

We always have a choice. We can choose to think and act from a place of contraction (fear) – RSVP numbers will be off and it’s going to be a disaster! Or we can choose to think and act from a place of expansion (love) – Yes, we have to call a lot of people, but hey, I haven’t talked to them in a while, so we get to connect, and perhaps we’ll get the RSVP numbers quicker than we expected. Which one sounds better? Lighter? More joyful?

Motel Crazytown was good for the first 48, but it began to feel gross and dingy, so I checked out and decided on the expansive route. It’s not ideal, but it’s the current situation, and it’ll be OK.

That’s the thing with perspective. We can choose at any moment to shift. Two days ago, I was livid. Today, I’m finding the situation mildly funny. The power is in the choice. What perspective will you choose?

How has a change in perspective helped you in past situations? Share your experience below.

Cut that should out

I’ve always been fascinated by words. Long before I started my career in communications, I would pay close attention to the specific words people would use to speak. Words can influence the way we feel and the mark we make. They can rouse us to great applause and move us to quickly grab a tissue, because well, mascara.

Words have weight. There are some light words and some particularly heavy ones. There’s one particular word I hear time and time again from clients, myself and just about everyone, which feels like one of the most weight-y words around: S-H-O-U-L-D.

This word evokes images of prison shackles. Yes, that image is daunting, but let’s take a closer look at the hidden meaning we’re expressing each time we launch a should into the universe.

It’s rooted in consequence and self-judgment

While we don’t always voice the associated consequences and judgments, they hover around like pesky mosquitoes. Here’s an example, “I should open social media accounts on every platform for my business.” The lingering consequence and judgment might sound like “…or else I’m going to fall behind everyone else and fail.” It might sound extreme, but I encourage you the next time you use the word should to ask yourself “or else, what?” What comes up for you? And how motivated after that are you to do the thing you think you should do? Chances are, not very.

It implies that we’re less than

Comparison is the accomplice of should. When we say something like, “I should be married by now” or “I should be more successful” what we’re really doing is putting ourselves down in comparison to other people, who we see as having those things, while we don’t. We’re not good enough is the message we’re communicating.

I had a networking coffee with a lady I met at a recent event. Throughout our conversation, she kept mentioning she should read more books, so I asked her why she thought she should do this. Her response was reading would make her smarter – meaning she didn’t see herself as smart enough. She didn’t choose words like “to expand my knowledge” or “to learn new things”, which was unfortunate, because she came across as a well-spoken, intelligent person.

Whatever that thing is we think we should do or be is an elusive pursuit of being more. We are already enough.

An invitation to open our minds and know and trust ourselves a little more

When we’re should-ing on ourselves, we’re other focused. We neglect our own spirit. Unknowingly, what we’re doing is trying to meet the expectations others have of us.

Going back to the lady I met a while back, she also mentioned in our conversation that she disliked reading anything that was longer than a few lines. Now imagine not enjoying reading more than a few lines, but sentencing yourself to read more books, because you’ve determined it’s the way to make you smarter? That’s a recipe for self-sabotage.

So I ask this: Why does it have to be THAT thing we think we should do or be? Why can’t it be audio books instead of traditional reading or a running club instead of the gym or relationship building instead of selling? Should invites us to dig a little deeper — understand who we are and what we’re all about a little more and then trust what we discover. Be that. When we make decisions from this empowered space, we’ll quickly change should to “I want to” and “I will”.

My challenge to you this week is to pay attention to the way you speak. Where are you using the word should in your life? When you catch yourself using it, pause and take a moment to inquire what it’s all about. What you find will help you to move much more swiftly towards your goals.

If you already know where you’re using should in your life, share in the comments below. Let us know how you plan on cutting that should out.

Getting unstuck

I can’t seem to get myself going. I’m distracted… an email alert goes off and I click on the email. I read the email, check something online, look at social media and then go back to writing my blog post. I write a couple more lines. Another alert goes off… distracted again. Frustrated. Sigh.

I started my blog last month, and I committed to blogging once every two weeks. The first two posts went very well. This one, not so much. I can’t seem to come up with a concept and message that I feel passionate about. And I don’t like being wishy-washy about what I have to say. And the thing is, I have a lot to say, so what’s really going on here?

Letting go of the belief that I need to be perfect

The belief that I need to be perfect is, by far, my biggest challenge. And I know it’s what I’m struggling with as I write this post. I seem to think it needs to be an epic, ground-breaking masterpiece that changes the world. Come to think of it, I seem to think that for just about everything I write. Hmmmm… The point is, the more I think about how “epic” this post needs to be, the more I watch time tick away. The more time ticks away, the less I do and the worse I feel. There have been countless times that I’ve thought I must have a fully baked idea before I start doing something, and I’ve given up opportunities to meet people, attend events and put myself out there, all with the belief that I needed to be “more”. How many times have you told yourself that tomorrow you’ll feel more confident, more knowledgeable, more ready just to have tomorrow turn into next week, month, or year?

Embracing where I am at any given moment

I’ve decided to challenge the idea of perfection by embracing where I am at this very moment. I’m sitting in a café sharing my struggle – voices from multiple conversations, the sound of clanking dishes and the hum of a blender surround me. This blog post is not fully conceived by my lofty standards, but embracing where I am in this moment has somehow led me to write something, taking one step forward – one step further than where I was an hour ago when I couldn’t get myself going. So what if this blog post isn’t the best one I’ve ever written? What do I have to lose? At the very least, I’ll be seen as a person, who despite being a coach, also experiences struggles just like everyone else. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. Conditions will never be perfect. And that’s OK. Sometimes it just needs to be about who we are at a specific moment. Sometimes embracing that is all we need to do to get ourselves unstuck.

How might the belief of needing to be perfect be holding you back from moving forward with your goals? How have you gotten yourself moving in moments you’ve felt stuck? Share your thoughts in the comments below!