Half of my work is helping people not be so hard on themselves.
It’s something I coach myself on regularly too so it’s a topic close to my heart and front of mind.
Where does this hardness come from? I think social norms and the celebration of busyness have a lot to answer for. It’s often hard to slow down and to focus on what we want to do because there are so many other things vying for our attention. Slowing down or doing something simply for the sake of it, with no obvious outcome, seems indulgent or a waste of time.
Take my friend for example. She’s negotiated half a day off of work a week to focus on her art. Amazing! But she often feels that she’s failed on this half-day because she hasn’t done ‘enough’ art. Rather than finishing the day feeling good about having had the time to work on something important to her she feels down on herself.
As she was telling me, I couldn’t help but dig into it a bit more. We talked about what expectations she had around the day. Specifically, what did she need to ‘produce’ or see for it to be considered a good enough day? She stopped and thought about this and realised that she was putting a lot of pressure on her creativity (and as we know, that doesn’t usually allow for creativity to flow). With this in mind, we explored alternative ways of looking at the half-day.
When I’m working with clients, the change of perspective is often what helps them manage their time more so than anything else. For my friend, we tried on the perspective that being physically in the studio for that time was enough. That was her intention: to simply show up. Whatever happened in there from having simply shown up is what was meant to be. Even if that meant that she’d ‘just’ doodled or pottered and prepared some paints for next time. Sometimes the effort we put in might not seem like much at the time but it’s the catalyst for propelling the project forward later. I love the saying “You don’t put a seed in the ground and then dig it up in a few hours and complain why it hasn’t grown yet”, so why do we do that with our own efforts?
Let’s all be courageous and push back on the celebration of busyness. Enjoy doing things simply because we can and want to without there needing to be an obvious outcome. If this resonates, book a quick call with me!