I had the most interesting conversation during a session with a client about one of her “sacred cows.”
Her particular “sacred cow” is not important. The fact that she has one that is running her life does matter…A LOT.
What’s a sacred cow? It’s either an animal you find wandering the streets of India or it’s a metaphor that describes something that appears untouchable or unchangeable.
It’s a story or a rule that you have decided just “is.”
“There’s no way to change it,” my client stated firmly. “I was indoctrinated that way as a kid by my folks and by our religion and it’s just part of who I am.”
THAT statement made my red flag shoot high up into the air.
One of the things that I help my guide my clients through is these sacred cows. Beliefs they have about themselves. Beliefs they have about their stories. Statements (stories) people – parents, teachers, friends – told them which they took as the TRUTH and made an unquestioned part of themselves.
My Sacred Cow
One of my sacred cows was that I was shy. I heard someone describe me as shy and it seemed to fit – I felt awkward being around new people or large groups of people. I liked a lot of time alone. So when someone labeled me as “shy” I took that label and believed it.
One day when I was in my mid-twenties, a new roommate of mine laughed out loud when I described myself as shy. I mean, she practically guffawed. “YOU, Angie Mattson,” she said, “are NOT shy.”
Her response shocked me. Enough that I began to inspect this “story” I had believed to be FACT for so long. With a bit of introspection, I realized she might be right. Afterall, I had developed a healthy self-confidence over the last few years. I also figured out that being an introvert (which I lean towards) is much, much different than being shy.
Once I dropped the proverbial sacred cow which was my “shy” label, I started my own business. I begin taking more leadership roles and speaking publicly. Releasing that story radically changed my view of myself and radically opened up my world view.
Of course, gentle reader, this makes me think about you…
It makes me wonder what sacred cows are leading your life? What stories are directing your actions? What thoughts are directing your feeling about yourself, others, and affecting your world view?
If your stories are working for you, great! Don’t change a thing.
But, if there are a couple of sacred cow stories that are having a negative impact and keeping you stuck, suffering, or frustrated, then perhaps it’s time to explore them.
The essence of my Wayfinding is this: examining the sacred cows. Questioning the stories you tell yourself. Unwinding them. Inspecting them. Even having conversations with them. And then healing them and releasing them so you have space to begin telling a NEW story. A more authentic story. One that fits who you are TODAY (and who you probably always have been before someone shoved a sacred cow in your face).
If you’re ready to do some exploration, I’d love to go Wayfinding with you.
P.S. May I ask you to share this post with one or two people? People who may have hinted (or said outright) that they have stories that are running their lives and those stories ain’t working for them anymore.
Share this email with them. Simply hit “SHARE” and send a copy their way.
And it probably caught my attention because I’ve had four deeply interesting conversations about this very topic with potential clients in the last six weeks.
It’s about this thing called ENOUGH TIME.
Paddling Magazine’s founder and publisher, Scott MacGregor, wrote of his shopping addiction for boats of all kinds (especially canoes) and then made quite an admission: “When I’m too busy to play outside, I buy stuff…the less amount of time I get to spend on the water, the more stuff I buy for paddling.”
His startling admission made me sit back in my office chair and go, “Hmmm…”
Interestingly, the four conversations I’ve had recently are with people who flat-out tell me they have more money than they know what to do with…but what they don’t have enough of is TIME.
“If money alone could solve my problem,” my newest client admitted, “I wouldn’t be talking to you. ”
Scott MacGregor also points out in his article, “Dreams are not unnecessary or superfluous things. Even the possibility of dreams coming true gives us strength. It keeps alive strong desires we can’t always act upon in our busy day-to-day lives.”
His last sentence is the one that I take a bit of issue with.
I believe most people are walking around doing work and other things because that’s what they’ve been taught to do. Because society expects us to do and have and be.
Except, what about the things we WANT to do?
When, exactly, are we supposed to find the time to do those things we strongly desire to do when all the other things we’re “supposed to be doing” end up eating up all our time?
At some point, the reality of this can smack us sharply in the face. My moment came on the Grand Canyon, somewhere around day 5 or 6 when I realized I had not thought about money one single time since the trip started.
For some of my clients, their realization comes from a nagging desire that wouldn’t go away (my attorney client who really wanted to own a horse and ride regularly). For some, it’s retirement looming (and not always the traditional retirement age, but because a business might be being sold for a significant sum of money). For others, a health scare or death of a loved one might be the thing that wakes them up to the reality of their currently unsatisfying lifestyle. And for one of my prospective clients, he just wanted a few extra hours a day to read, but had created a culture in the business he was a partner in that he’d be available and working 8 am – 5pm. The lack of flexibility is what kept nagging him.
Whatever it is, don’t ignore your desire for something different. Those true, deeply held desires start as a whisper and end up, eventually, sounding like a roar if ignored or put off long enough.
Gentle reader, what TIME issue are having? What genuine desire are you having to change something (big or small) in your day, week, or life, but something else (stories, agreements, expectations) keeps you locked in this power struggle?
As Scott MacGregor’s article is titled, a boat is nothing without water.
And your strong desires remain unmet without ACTION.
Don’t keep putting off that which you most long to do.
Because, you know, time will eventually run out.
Is it really true that you don’t know what to do?”
I asked this question of a prospective client during an emotion-filled phone Clarity call.
I could hear her hesitation. I could feel her frustration.
“No,” she said. “I do know what to do…what needs to change. I just don’t know why I can’t make those changes.” She sighed the sigh of years of pent up frustration.
We know the Truth inside us…we often just ignore it, smash it down, or override it because of a busload of other reasons.
The busload of other reasons is a LOT of the work I do with my clients.
They work with me when some part of their life is confusing, frustrating, or otherwise causing a burr of discontent to rub them the wrong way.
Our conversations often start in these different ways:
“Angie, I’m totally disorganized.”
What I hear is: I won’t take time for myself.
“Angie, I can’t get my important work done.”
What I hear is: I am having trouble setting boundaries and putting myself first.
“Angie, I am completely overwhelmed with work.” What I hear is: What everyone else wants is more important than what I want.
“Angie, I don’t know what to do [with my life, my work, my business].” What I hear is: I can’t hear…or won’t believe…what my heart is whispering to me.”
“Angie, I know something needs to change.”
What I hear is: I’m unwilling to make the changes necessary to end my suffering.
Oddly, the first step towards making radical, healthy change is noticing where things are not working in your life. It’s about acknowledging your suffering.
The pain and suffering (or annoyance and confusion) are temporary (truly) but happening for a very important reason.
The second step towards making radical, healthy change is deciding to dig into the suffering. What is the message? What is it here to tell me? Teach me? And often, we can’t do that work alone (even I work with my own coaches when I’m stuck).
So, gentle reader: what area of your life is causing you suffering? What part(s) of your life are you seeking clarity around?
Would you allow me to help you find some clarity? Because – truly – suffering (especially in silence) sucks.
P.S. May I ask you to share this post with one or two people? People who admit some part of their life sucks and is messing up the rest of it? I love working with people who are courageous and brave and know how to take action…but might be feeling a bit less courageous when they think about this stuck place because it feels so awful…
Share this email with them. Simply hit “FORWARD” and send a copy their way.
One of my conundrums is trying to explain to people what I “do” when I work with clients.
It’s easy to explain consulting and to discuss organization or systems and processes. It’s a whole other thing entirely to talk with people about getting unstuck, getting into integrity with themselves, or telling the whole truth about what they want.
My friends Emma and Julie, who have both directly experienced my coaching, suggested I show rather than tell.
This led me to asking for volunteers to participate in short, focused Wayfinding conversations with me earlier this year. I had a number of people apply knowing full and well I’d be taping these conversations and sharing them.
Three of the conversations really highlight the power of my Wayfinding – holding space, allowing emotion, identifying the “stuck” place, and allowing for out of the box thinking and visioning to happen.
In this blogpost, you can listen to and/or read Example #1 with Lynn.
Listen using the soundbar above or click here to read the transcript
Highlights of my session with Lynn, a very successful and driven Virtual Assistant, include:
3:55 – Lynn identifies a body feeling that is really important that leads to a question.
5:00 – Lynn thinks she knows the problem [but doesn’t know what to do about it]
7:38 – Lynn reveals something critical to her “stuckness.”
15:41 – I have a hunch about what part of the deeper problem is.
19:08 – I diagnose exactly why Lynn is stuck [it’s a hunch…and right on].
32:58 – I let my mind run wild and we begin to explore options for Lynn.
34:22 – I summarize what I’ve heard Lynn say is important to her in a working situation.
37:18 – I make a suggestion that appeared in my head and this blew things open for Lynn. It’s worth reading or listening to how Lynn opens up from here and leaps into a new level of possibility.
They cause me to sit and ponder. To walk and ponder. To shower and ponder.
All this pondering is an invitation to just be boldly honest with myself.
The most recent question that grabbed me?
What do you already know that you don’t want to know?”
If this inconvenient truth makes you pause and ponder deeply, I’d love to unravel it with you.
Simply sign up for a complimentary Clarity Session with me.