A few weeks ago, my friend Margot shared her frustration that she never gets very far when it comes to her goals around self-care, balance, and happiness.
She sighed and said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. No matter how hard I try, I fall apart after a few weeks.”
I’ve known Margot a long time, and there’s nothing wrong with her. She’s smart, kind, talented, and motivated. She’s organized, focused, and committed. In her professional life, she’s wildly successful with her goals.
But when it comes to her personal goals, there’s a reason she stays stuck in the same pattern.
She won’t give herself permission to achieve her personal goals.
Of course, that’s not what it looks like at first glance. She sets specific, measurable goals and enthusiastically lays out a “realistic” plan.
There’s a reason I’ve put quotation marks around realistic.
Her plan fails to address the obstacles that derail her every single time. She doesn’t give herself permission to disappoint anyone and she never says no. She puts everyone else’s needs first, withholding permission to put hers first.
Twenty minutes into our conversation, she asked if I had any advice. But of course :-).
3 YESes and 3 NOs
Getting unstuck, creating what you want in your life, and finding the intersection between success and happiness always involves stretching out of your comfort zone. And any time you bump up against what’s uncomfortable, permission to let go of – or embrace – something is required.
The challenge is figuring out your somethings.
More often than not, your somethings are habits, fears, behaviors, patterns, or mindsets you think – or hope – you can power through, skirt around, tip-toe past, or ignore entirely. There’s a reason “comfort zone” includes the word comfort!
That’s where the three YESes and three NOs come in. It’s a process I frequently use, for myself and with my clients.
It starts with a two-part question.
In order to create what you want, what will you say YES to and what will you say NO to?
My first time through this process was 15 years ago when I decided to launch my coaching practice. I’d already been in business for five years and was very comfortable being self-employed. And I was crystal clear that my passion was helping professionals create success and happiness.
But as I started the shift from corporate strategy consulting to coaching, I slammed into the edges of my comfort zone. It took some time to zero in on my most critical YESes and NOs, and it was time incredibly well invested – it’s what got me past my sticky-comfort-zone-edges!
We all have our own unique ways of withholding permission from ourselves, often without even realizing that’s what we’re doing.
It wasn’t until I took a brutally honest look at how I was getting in my own way that I was able to begin acting differently. Here’s my original list of YESes and NOs:
- YES to being uncomfortable
- YES to being authentically myself
- YES to making mistakes
- NO to worrying about what anyone else might think
- NO to making things perfect before putting them “out there”
- NO to wanting to be right
I’m positive I would not have been successful in my goal to build my coaching practice and to be happy had I not committed to those three YESes and three NOs.
And that holds true for every other go-round with 3 YESes and 3 NOs I’ve had since then.
Your turn :-).
Are you feeling stuck on something you’re trying to create in your life?
If yes, get yourself moving with the following steps:
- Choose your 3 YESes and 3 Nos and write them down. Consider both the doing and being aspects of your life as you make your choices.
- Give yourself permission to act on each of your YESes and NOs.
- Keep your list in a place where you’ll see it multiple times each day.
- Commit to a small action for one YES and one NO. And as you build momentum, add in small actions for each of the others.
You hold the keys to creating the life you want … but first you need to grant yourself permission to use those keys.
“We are wired to be brave; that’s why we never feel more alive than when we’re being courageous.” ~ Brené Brown