Don't disappoint yourself by setting expectations that you aren't able to meet.
Last month we talked about focusing on goals. This month builds on those ideas with an emphasis on realizing that unreasonable goals are not sustainable. A case in point was brought to mind about how easy it is to slip into struggling to "make something happen."
"Rena" is a 62-year-old female client who had been working hard to reach a goal for marketing her company and services on the Internet. She believed she understood what she needed to do and how to do it. She kept pushing, pushing, pushing herself because in her heart of hearts she just knew that what she was doing was going to work.
She read books on how to be successful with Internet marketing. She went to the workshops. She tuned-in to webinars. She paid a great deal of money for web design, coaching on marketing, and applied what she learned. She followed the instructions to visualize what she wanted. Yet what she wanted didn't materialize. She wondered what she was doing wrong so she got more coaching, spent more time and money trying to make her web presence known. She said more positive thoughts to herself. She pleaded with her Higher Power to help her. She made more daily affirmations.
Unfortunately, by the time I saw her, Rena had been struggling with this for several years. She had recently realized she had thought she understood what was being explained to her and to a degree she had. However some of the people she contracted with for work left out significant pieces of information about what she needed for her site to get out there. Once she found this out she learned that in recent months things had changed, again.
She was devastated. She had a website that was beautifully made but it was not out on the Internet and she was emotionally and financially spent. She could no longer sustain either. She was angry, in disbelief about how she could have been so stupid and didn't know what to do. She couldn't sleep, keep food down or keep herself focused on anything for very long. Her mind would go round and round about all the experiences and people she had worked with over that two-year period. She'd blame them and then herself. More herself, "How could I have been so stupid!"
She was in a very difficult place. As we worked together we discovered some very important beliefs that had been driving her behavior for more years than she realized. As we worked to dis-create these beliefs and create new empowering ones, she discovered the ways those beliefs had driven her into unreasonable expectations. Those beliefs were like blinders that didn't allow her to question what she was doing — they allowed her only to keep doing. They made it difficult, if not impossible, for her to stop and reassess what obviously wasn't working.
Unreasonable and unsustainable expectations cause a great deal of stress and strain on our bodies, derail our creative and questioning higher order thinking, and dis-connect us from our hearts and love for ourselves and others. We were not meant to live like that.
Many of our beliefs about ourselves can drive us to react from fear: fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of uncertainty. Whatever beliefs we have that drive us from a fear-based place set us up to have unreasonable and unsustainable expectations of ourselves.
During our work together, Rena was able to discover her "unreasonable belief critic" which we had to address before she was able to create a pause in her life.
It was in this pause that she was able to:
- Recognize the fears that had driven her in her life.
- Shift from fear to love.
- Re-connect to a soulfull compassion for her humanness.
- Get out of the gerbil cage that had been her life.
- Create more daily practices of self-care.
- Pause in the moment when she feels she has to push.
- Do better research.
- Know what to ask for.
- Enjoy the trip.
In order to be more soulful, we need to identify beliefs that no longer serve us and create new ones that return us to a soulfull love for ourselves so that we can be more present to love and serve others.
Soulfull Woman Deborah Chelette-Wilson is a Licensed Professional Counselor, speaker and life coach who has helped many women find that elusive "something missing" in their lives. Like so many women, you may be feeling helpless, powerless, and hopeless. Deborah's experience, insight, and wisdom will guide you onto the path of a soulful You: confident, empowered, and hopeful. Become the change you want to see in your life.