You Can’t Always Get What You Want

imagesThere are many times in our lives that we are asked to compromise our desires for different options. We face this daily in different forms from situations in our relationships to the office and even to the smallest choices in our day.

Making compromises is a pure fact of life, as the Rolling Stones once poetically sang, “You can’t always get what you want”. Wouldn’t life be boring anyway if everything went exactly as we wished and we always got what we wanted?

The challenge becomes when compromise becomes a concession. It is one thing to accept less than you desire because the choice is not all that important to you or your needs, it is entirely different to limit yourself to accepting only what is available forgoing your needs or values.

A while back I was speaking to a friend about dating. I had been single for many years and was ready to make some time to get back into dating. When explaining what I was looking for, she mentioned a couple of men we both knew and I identified why each was not a good fit for me. She looked at me with a smile and said, “Your problem is you’re too picky, you’re going to have to make some compromises.”

As certain talks stay with me long after the conversations are over, this one took up temporary residence in my head and visited me several more times. I came to the conclusion that there is a difference between compromise and conceding.

This is as true for relationships, careers, material goods, it actually is something that we each deal with daily. There are certain things you compromise on, like what movie to watch on family night, where to go to dinner, if you will take a job that is not entirely what you want but has “most” of your desires.

There are things however that go beyond compromise or bending of your desires and end up not meeting your needs. The key is finding a middle ground or forfeiting something that is important. The important question becomes, how do you know when you are compromising or conceding?

This may seem like a silly question or one that shouldn’t need to be asked, but I have seen so many people that are so used to forgoing their needs that they no longer know the answer.

The first thing is to know what you need. If you aren’t clear about what you need in any given circumstance you set yourself up for making a concession. By knowing what you need you can easily spot situations or decisions where none of the options will be acceptable.

For example, if you are hungry and you need food but the only options available are foods you are allergic to so you just don’t eat; that would be a clear concession. However, if in the same circumstance you find yourself with your partner and you need food and would like Italian, but the only thing available is Mexican and your partner loves Mexican food, then choosing one style of food over another will simply be a compromise.

Knowing your values is another key factor. A choice that goes against your value system is never a compromise and is a clear sign of concession.

I used to work for a company and made good money but when I requested time off to see my family back home I was told I couldn’t go, it wasn’t in the best interest of the company. My value system revolves around connection and my family is an important part of that, not money; the moment I was denied the time to see them I realized this was a concession.

I choose connection over money because that is where my values lie. Making money is truly important, but the number in my bank account is far less important to me than being with my family if they need me. Values are a strong governing principle and do not have room for being cast aside for any reason.

If you find yourself willing to compromise your values, I suggest you reevaluate if that particular value still resonates with you. If the answer is yes, then my experience is that any compromises is a concession, or dangerously close to one.

I encourage you to think about the choices you make daily and give them a values test. Making the occasional compromise is generous and kind, making it a habit boarders on overlooking your own needs. Pay attention when making even the smallest decisions and be honest with yourself about this topic and it will prove to be a nicer gift to both yourself and those around you when you do compromise.

-E

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Becoming Limitless

**Warning this process can become addictive**

Fear is paralyzing at times. It causes us to remain in a place not necessarily of comfort but of familiarity. The old statement “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”

However fear stifles growth if you let it. It shuts down the very essence of living because as the saying goes, “if you’re not living, you’re dying.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to be dying.

I have no desire to live a predictable life where outcomes and results are safe or guaranteed, so I live life in a manner that scares most people (mostly my poor father).  I move to places I’ve never been and don’t know anyone, I take risks like starting my own business and I dream big, like building an island retreat center.

I am constantly taking steps in the direction of my fear because although I’m not a thrill-seeker, I do like the feeling of overcoming my fear.  In the case of fear, the end justifies the means for me.

Most of what I do on a regular basis is something I hear others say they could “never do” – but I thoroughly disagree. I think everyone has the capacity to live the life I do however for some, it’s not what floats their boat, and for others they just haven’t mustered the courage to take the chance to try.

Here is the thing though. I did not wake up one day with the courage to do these “crazy” things and dream as big as I do. As a matter of fact, I was a child who was scared of the dark and had many fears that required an unimaginable amount of stuffed animals for comfort and a feeling of security while I was growing up.

I made little strides over time. My mother was not entirely gentle on pushing me through some of it, but it worked just the same. Sometimes the fear of your mother being mad is way bigger than whatever bogyman you think exists! Regardless of how, my mother was intent on raising me as a capable young woman and stretched me to do things I was afraid to do. Through the process I began to cultivate courage.

As I got older, I put myself into circumstances that were a bit difficult to say the least. I found that I was able to overcome incredible odds because I just had to. I learned that even if I thought something was not possible, I should try anyway.  Sometimes things turned out the way I hoped…and sometimes not, but I always learned something from the experience.

I found that my boundaries and limits were really not as clear as I thought. I continued to push them both figuratively and litterally. I started small and continued to expand as I had successes.

I can still remember the feeling of crossing the finish line of my first 5k race. Having been a two pack-a-day smoker for over ten years, this was not only an unthinkable achievement, but a goal I never would have even considered just years before.

Today I’m a marathoner.

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So this is where the warning comes in. I have found that once you start realizing that limits are self perceived, you may start looking for your next challenge. Each time I overcome a challenge or overtake fear, I think, well if I can do that, what else can I do?

Today I encourage you to take those baby steps to stretch your courage just a bit.  To work at something you feel might just be a bit out of reach for you.  You will be amazed at the feeling you get just by trying and as you build successes.

As you begin to expand your vision of what is possible for you, you may find yourself looking for the next big thing just out of reach, and the next, and the next. You get the point.

I’ll just remind you, you’ve been warned!

I can’t wait to hear where your newfound courage takes you!
-E

 

The Pain of Indecision

Fences contain or protect but they are not designed for growth

Are you sitting on a fence right now? I mean this in a symbolic way, not in a literal way. Is it one of those pokey, picket fences or is it just a comfortable post and rail fence that allows you to have one leg on each side? How are you feeling there?

My theory is that there are two kinds of fence straddlers and I’m sure if you don’t agree, I’ll hear about it in emails (which I welcome). There is the one that is terribly uncomfortable straddling the fence. They lean on one side they get poked and it hurts then the lean on the other side getting poked again and it hurts and they struggle to take the leap. They are not comfortable where they are and each time the lean to one side or another they get poked and they want to avoid the pain so they end up feeling stuck.

Then there is the person that is sitting on a fence, who enjoys the view on each side of the fence. From atop the fencepost they get to see both sides of the fence without leaving either one. A “cake and eat it too” situation, however the person is never fully present on either side and lacks the benefit of fully engaging. The other issue with this is that this straddler gets to tell themselves stories of how they are getting the best of both worlds and may not fully comprehend what they are missing and the pain they cause others from their non-committal state. There is a lot of movement in this state but no moving forward so the person feels stuck and stagnant although not totally unhappy they lack that feeling of happiness they are seeking.

Do either of these situations sound familiar? What is holding you back from deciding which side of the fence you want to be on?

How is making no decision a better decision then the wrong one?

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

Neil Peart, Freewill

I don’t mean to trivialize any of these situations. People often find themselves on these fences at the crossroads of pretty important decisions. It is the sheer magnitude of the decision before them that causes the fence to appear in the first place.

I have been through some pretty tough situations myself so I know the depth of thought these take. I am not promoting a big leap here without careful thought, however I am your coach and I will not encourage or allow you to stay there up on a fence – at some point you will become impaled or get splinters where you don’t want splinters!

So how do you move forward when you feel each decision will have strong consequences?

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Get honest with yourself, understand what brought you to this situation requiring a decision? Is this something you need to decide for you or is someone else requiring you to make a decision? Remember, there is absolutely no benefit to blame in this stage – or at any stage for that matter – so stay away from that thought process while deeply considering what are the options before you.

Should

While thinking, if the word should comes up, I request that you automatically check in with yourself and find a different reason. If you feel you Should anything, it is not in alignment with you and it is an expectation put onto you by someone or something else. Do not let this feeling of what you “should do” dictate an important decision.

Values

Review your values and how they may play into this decision. If you are deciding based on something outside your values, I’m going to go out on a limb to say you are going to be unhappy with your decision. A good decision will be routed in your value system and you will be able to feel more confident in your choice because of that.

ACT

The final step is to act. Yes, you need to actually act on your decision! If it is a wrong decision, don’t be ashamed to notice and correct, but if you make no decision, everyone loses! If it is the right decision, it won’t necessarily be easy, but there is often a sense of relief after making it. There may be pain that comes from it, or further struggle, but there will be the sense that it is over and the decision has been made and your energy can now be put to use moving forward.

The Relief

I’m not suggesting this is an easy thing to do, however a life lived in indecision or worse yet, drifting for lack of decision is not the abundant life you deserve. I encourage you to live lives that you wish to embrace everything and if this is not the life you are living, make a decision to create that for yourself. You deserve it!

So decide away! And know that you are always just one decision away from whatever you wish for yourself.

-E

Your Super Power Revealed

I often speak about how important mindset is to reaching your dreams, or living the life you desire. The truth is, we are all not naturally good at this trait and often times need some assistance in this area.

I work with clients that sometimes seem afraid to tell me what they are really dreaming about – however I quickly explain, I’m pretty useless to them if we don’t get this part out in the open. After a few nervous giggles, I usually hear the deep, dark, beautiful vision they hope for.

Frequently, this reveal is immediately followed by all the reasons they can’t reach their dream and how silly the desire is.

Or worse, I am provided a calculated “safe” description of a dream which is usually a far cry from what the person really wants.

The problem is not that we aim too high and don’t achieve it. It is that we aim too low and reach it.

Ken Robinson

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When we do finally get the real idea/vision/dream out in the open we then have to tackle to stories surrounding why they believe it’s not possible to achieve their desire. This is an extremely important part of the process to address the stories we tell ourselves because you can’t just plow through them (I know, I’ve tried!) because you will sabotage yourself down the road.

Time to get out your pen

The stories we tell ourselves that declare a goal is unachievable, or worse, silly to reach for, must be rewritten. The stories must be identified and rewritten with you as the hero or heroine and creator of your achievement. This is a crucial portion of the process.

Once you can see your goal realized and yourself as the one that can bring this dream to a reality two very important things happen. You have tried it on for size in your imagination and you sometimes find out, you really actually don’t want it. Or you have just set yourself up for success.

The belief that you can accomplish – or not accomplish something is critical to the results.

If you think you can or cannot do it, either way you are correct.

Henry Ford

When you understand and fully identify and accept that you are capable of great things, you create great things. You begin to think in the way of possibilities and overcoming obstacles. This doesn’t mean the obstacles don’t show up, they are simply not show stoppers anymore because you have belief that it is possible for you to achieve your desire.

You seek your way around an obstacle when you believe there must be a way. You will look for other possibilities to overcome this obstacle. You will become curious to figure out what this obstacle is trying to tell you, you will assume there is a reason for it and the reason is not to stop you but to tell you something. The biggest gift of your new belief system is the power of perspective – it will change when you look for a message.

Belief is your superpower.

Cheerleaders always ramp up with positive “you can do it” type cheers when the odds are down and against their team. This is not to be cruel, it is to feed the team and the spectators the belief that what they are seeking is possible. Can you imagine a cheerleading squad coming out in the Patriot’s 4th quarter of the Super Bowl saying, “Too bad, so sad, you tried, let’s go home” as a cheer? Heck no! And we do know how that amazing game ended…

When you have belief that you can accomplish what you desire, you are unstoppable. If you don’t have belief, but really want to make your dream come true, find someone who believes in you and borrow their belief until yours comes along!

There have been many times when I have seen incredible potential in a client that they have not seen in themselves. It is at this point I ask them to trust me, that I know it is within them. It doesn’t take long before a few items on their path to success get crossed off and they begin to see what I see. It is ok to borrow someone’s belief in you until you strengthen the muscle within you and begin to feel the possibility.

So think about what you believe is possible for yourself. Then question those beliefs and challenge if they are truly as big and bold as what is truly possible for you.

I do believe if you can dream something, you can achieve it. I also am a firm believer that you are not given a dream you cannot achieve. So come on, what are you waiting for?

I’ve got extra belief to spare if you decide you need a hand getting started. I believe in your dreams, do you?

-E

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