Sunday, November 8, 2020

Radical Honesty: Escaping Conditional Living

I remember having a conversation with a friend, who in full accountability, called me to see if I’d made a decision to move forward on a project I’d been so cleverly dragging along. In that conversation, I very boldly told her “Well, if this happens, I’ll do it.” I could feel her side-eyeing me through the phone, but I ignored it.

I began noticing I made this statement repeatedly. “If that happens, then I’ll do this.” I was living life based on external conditions. I realized my conditional living had manifested itself in small things -- like how I chose to eat (I'll eat ice cream if I workout), then more grand circumstances like career progression (I'll leave my job if I get a new offer). I was placing conditions on making decisions and worse yet, taking action. 

Doing deep work and a bit of research (self-help junkie & psych nerd here!), I realized that our conditional living is rooted in self-expectations, societal expectations, or fear of failure. Conditional living often manifests or masks itself as:

  • Procrastination or perfectionism

  • Validation seeking (constantly asking for reassurance from more trusted sources, because we’ve stopped trusting ourselves)

  • Delayed decision making

But if we hold on to the false belief that we (or our circumstance) can only succeed if something else (usually outside of our control) happens, we rob ourselves of:

  • Living fully

  • Taking agency

  • Having ownership of our lives.

We end up placing ourselves on a rollercoaster of emotions...constantly waiting for someone or something to decide for us. When in reality, our lives are not group decisions. So my beloved, let’s not wait until we get a groundbreaking sign. Let’s no longer wait until all conditions are perfect. And we definitely should stop waiting for permission.

You get to decide.

The decision comes from being radically honest with ourselves. What do you want? Is this thing congruent with your values? Does it authentically align with who you are?

I’ve discovered that the answer to taking ownership over our life experiences is accepting that you cannot fail. That there are no failures. Only data. And that  data will inform how radically honest you need to be to solely and confidently make your next best decision.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Slowing down is a power move

Can I let you in on something personal? It's the part of my journey I've rarely talked about: my slow down and pivot.

Before this change in momentum, there was a distinct period of time where client contracts were consistent. In the span of 5 months, I flew between 3 countries to work with some of my favorite brands. This is where I felt like I thrived the most – in motion. So when work started slowing down for me later that same year (as in zero clients and no cash flow), I was forced to do nothing. I used the opportunity to visit family in Atlanta.

There, in Atlanta, I was far from busy, and couldn’t relate with the word productive. I took walks in the morning, watched new Netflix series during the day, mastered baking homemade bread, learned to take self-portraits with a tripod….and came up with the idea for Pivot & Thrive.

It was birthed in the stillness. 
The idea began to sprout when I found a book that detailed the fine art of negotiating. It took root when I spent time updating my resume. And it flourished when I did nothing but gaze out of my sister’s living room window (because boredom often invites you here).

Pivot & Thrive finally emerged fully 3 months later. And it unfolded into events, a newsletter, and now a podcast. (I talk about this in my latest episode here).

It’s in our (sometimes forced) stillness that we take the biggest leap. And at times, the counterintuitive solution to productivity may lie in the very thing we resist and fear will impede our progress: slowing down. For me, slowing down was a power move.
The benefits to slowing down are numerous. When we’re still, we allow our minds to daydream – which makes us more creative and better at problem-solving.

In Dutch, the term for this idea is known as “niksen” – taking conscious, considered time and energy to do activities like sitting motionless and doing nothing.

Our current circumstance with social distancing vaguely reminds me of this extended stay in Atlanta.

A forced stillness. Now, as we are seemingly hindered from jumping rapidly from place to place, or job to job, there's an opportunity to let our ideas simmer. But, whether you chose to fill this time with productive projects or to simply rest, I hope in this season you tap into grace.

Grace to go at a pace, slow or fast, that feels right for you. Grace to stay focused and not to compare your journey, output, or creativity with others around you. Grace to chose your own pace. 
For some, this period of stillness and social distancing screams: DO MORE, while for others, it's about grabbing the opportunity to rest.

Either way, here's a sweet reminder to all my "I have to keep moving" people, to use this season to settle into God's grace. To let your ideas simmer. And to make your very own power move. You'll be amazed at your confidence in your ideas, and how unbending you are in your decisions.
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