Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better. -Martin Luther King JR
I’m often finding now that I want to write about one thing and then I end up having an amazing conversation with someone one day and am inspired to write about that instead. Long story short, this is one of those times.
I was working with a client and friend yesterday and we got on the topic of falling into the trap of saying “I should….” Fill in the blank here.
Chances are you probably have done this to yourself once or twice already today. My guess is if you haven’t, you will by the time you are done reading this.
What exactly is shoulding all over yourself?
Basically it’s that voice in your head telling you need to be doing something else other than what you are doing right now. I love the way that psychologist Albert Ellis puts it. “It’s musterbation.” Giving ourselves an obligation to do something different from what we are currently doing.
A hilarious play on words? Yes as well. Touché Mr. Ellis. Touché.
Often times the “shoulds” pop up when we see someone else doing something we thought we should have done or should be doing. It serves as some what of a harsh reminder.
- I should be working out
- I should be eating healthier
- I should have asked that girl/guy out
- I should have taking that trip
- I should go bungee jumping
The should’s can be sneaky little sons of guns too. They’ve been known to use many disguises as well.
- I’ll start working out once I have more time
- I’ll start my nutrition plan on monday
- I’ll ask that person out once I lose some weight
- I’ll take that trip when work eases up a little
- I’ll go bungee jumping when the kids are older
Like dirty clothes on the floor we give ourselves permission to take these shoulds and throw them on the ground. Thinking we will just come back to them later. The next thing you know you’ve got an enormous pile of shoulds on the floor and only so many of them can fit into the drier.
Who gave birth to the shoulds?
Well the PC version would be that the storks brought the shoulds down from the clouds above.
But come on man, we don’t do PC over here at limitless.
The shoulds were established a long time ago. They come from family, friends, teachers, the status quo, society in general. Try these on for size and let me know if they sound familiar.
- You should be doing your homework.
- You should really be thinking about settling down. You’re not getting any younger.
- You should take out the trash, clean your room, do the laundry.
- You should get good grades, go to college, take a job that is safe and secure but you don’t really care too much for, save money to buy a house, continue paying off your debt for the next 30 years, than retire and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Our entire lives we have had people telling us what we should be doing. It has been engrained in us so no wonder it’s hard as shi* to break the habit. The next time you get a should thoughtin your head I want you to ask yourself “why” should I be doing this?
I want you to sit and think for a minute. Seriously, are you making decisions now based upon what people think you should be doing? What the status quo says you should be doing?
Being an outcast and in the minority is hard. Are you willing to break free from all the shoulds and start being who you really COULD be?
There is a constant pressure to be accepted and to be in the norm. After all it’s easy, comfortable, and safe. But chances are if you are reading this now you’re the type of person that has a burning desire to challenge all of that and shake things up a bit. You’re looking to be more than just average.
Living your could
Life moves by pretty quickly. It doesn’t take a timeout so that you can sit and think about the things you should be doing. It’s going to keep on rolling and the more you tell yourself you should be doing something now the less you will.
It’s time to live your reality. Create the life you want. What is your purpose? Your gifts? Take the gifts that you have and manifest your own destiny. Don’t tell me you don’t know what your gifts are either. That’s a bunch of bull. If you are lost do this.
- What are you good at?
- What do you know?
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you like about yourself?
- What do people ask you advice for?
- What is something I have always wanted to do that I can do today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year?
Be authentic to yourself. The universe has a strange way of rewarding those that follow their dreams, passions, and those that are willing to serve not only themselves but others along the way.
Make a list of all of the coulds in your life. What could you do? Who could you be? Now prioritize to achieve those goals.
- Do you really need to check your email right now or could you go for a jog instead?
- Do you really need to buy those new blouses or could you save up for a vacation to Hawaii?
- Do you really need to stay late at the office or could you just call it a day and take the family to the park to throw the football around?
The more time we spend shoulding ourselves the less motivated we become to do the things we could be doing.
Instead of trying to appease someone else, try taking care of yourself first. You’ll have that much more energy and willingness to help others down the road.
Check in and be honest with yourself. What do you want right now? Physically say it so that you can hear it. There is something very powerful in that. It makes it that much more real. Now allow yourself to have it!
Leave all of the shoulds behind and find all of the coulds in your life relative to love, health, work, yourself, and others.