I recently bought Glennon Doyle’s book “Untamed” and I’m so glad I did. I'm resonating with her stories. She’s like my sister from another mister, who like me lived in a cage of expectations to be someone she wasn’t in order to fit in with everyone else.
While I’m not finished with the book, what I’ve read made me ask myself this question; am I living my truth and being the most uncaged version of me?
Not completely and not in all the ways I can.
For example, I still have my moments when I don’t share my feelings to avoid rocking the boat. And most recently I realized that I was delaying (a nicer way of saying that I’ve been procrastinating) the work on my book, “The Stories I Told Myself” ....guess why? Writing it is requiring me to stand firmly in my truth, being the most vulnerable and raw that I’ve ever been.
BUT even though I have some work left to do, I’m proud to say, I’m living my truth more now than ever before. I’ve come out of my cage for the most part. (I think I still a few toes or maybe even a foot in the cage which is a heck of a lot better than my whole self.)
STEPPING OUT OF THE CAGE
Gloria Steinem, taking a verse from the Bible, once said...”The truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off.” And as I think about living my truth untamed and uncaged (like Glennon) a sense of freedom washes over me. I can’t say it pisses me off so much as it scares the crap out of me to completely step outside the cage.
What if stepping outside of it isn’t safe? What if my truth pisses others off? (Meet my inner critic, folks!)
Regardless of what my inner critic says, I know a) the scary feeling and inner critic are just reminding me how important it is to me to live my truth, b) that the truth is my key to stay outside of the cage once and for all, and c) I’ve never grown from a place of comfort.
So, what is my truth?
FOLLOWING MY NORTH STAR
My truth is my North Star and if I’m completely present to it, I know when I’m following it versus not following it.
What I’m finally coming to realize, my truth is about making me proud, proud of me as I am. It’s not about doing what’s expected of me but rather doing what I expect of me. My truth is showing up like me, even if me in that moment is cranky and irritable.
Being able to show up authentically, no matter what that looks like is the greatest gift I can give myself and the best thing I can do for my mindset.
Here’s the thing, if I DON’T continue to work on living my truth I’ll allow my inner critic to convince me that it’s safer to morph into someone to please others... which always leads to me settling and going back in the cage.
At the end of the day, I’m here to live for me. I’m not here to live for others. I’m not here to be someone I’m not so that I fit just anywhere. And I’m damn sure not going to settle so I wind up back in that cage.
I’m committed now more than ever (thank you. Glennon) to be my uncaged self which means doing the following...
- Sharing my feelings when it’s important to do so.
- When I feel that I’m veering away from my North Star asking myself, “What is my truth right now?” and then paying close attention to what I think and feel.
- Finishing my book no matter what!
SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER
As I continue my work living my truth I’m going to use the following reminders as support...
1) There are going to be people who aren’t going to jive with my truth and that’s OK. For every person that doesn’t, there are those that will. What’s most important is knowing that I’ll always jive with me when I’m living my truth.
2) My truth doesn’t need to compare itself to someone else’s to see if it measures up. My truth is good enough!
3) My truth doesn’t need to judge someone else’s in order to validate it. My truth doesn’t need validation.
4) My truth is mine. It’s for me and defined only by me.
So, my friends, I want to ask you a question...
Are you living your truth and being the most uncaged version of yourself? If not, and if you’re ready to grab your key to the cage be sure to reach out!
I love quotes. I collect them like someone who collects baseball cards, concert t-shirts, or recipes. They're the magical mojo I pull out of my back pocket when I need a mindset adjustment.
So, the following are all mindset based quotes, because well...that's my jam. ;) Enjoy them, take any of them with you, and if you have one to share, please do!
“I want to feel my life while I'm in it." - Meryl Streep
If you think you were born to be average, think again.
If you think you were meant to settle in this life, think again.
If you think you’re not enough, think again.
Our thoughts fuel our mindset, how we see our world, and how we feel about it. And the good news is; we can always change our mindset. We have that power.
What narrative are you telling yourself that’s not supportive?
What are your options when it comes to that narrative?
“My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.” - Sara Blakely
I once heard that failing is a growth opportunity but only if you choose for it to be. I used to sit in the fear of failing because I wondered how I was going to save face. It wasn’t until I realized that I was missing out on some cool opportunities to grow and learn that my mindset about failing changed. Failing is not a death knell, it’s a chance to expand and grow but it truly is in how we look at it.
Do you play it safe so you never fail? Or do you take a chance, put yourself out there, try something different knowing that if things go “South” you always have a chance to learn and grow?
“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!’ “ – Audrey Hepburn
It’s all in what we believe and that’s based on what we tell ourselves. Our brains are sponges, soaking up all that we tell it and then making us feel the feels connected with the thoughts.
What do you tell yourself about you and what you can do?
“You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.” - Abraham Maslow
Now that's a truth bomb! We don't grow from a place of safety and complacency. When we stretch ourselves and celebrate the stretch that's when we continue to strengthen a growth mindset.
What do you choose, growth or safety?
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” - Albert Ellis
This one is a show stopper. I used to blame others for my mistakes and my unhappiness. Victim mentality your table is waiting. Talk about a powerless place to come from.
Want to take back your personal power from any situation, issue, or person? Stop blaming and start looking for the lesson, the option, the choice you can make at that moment. Trust me when I tell you it makes a HUGE difference when we realize just how much power we truly have.
Just remember, what we believe impacts what we do and what we don't do...and you, my friend, have the power to do some EXTRAORDINARY things.
So, if you're looking to change the narrative or rewrite any of the crappy stories that are impacting your mindset... Reach out because I have your back and I'm listening.
Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought, “Damn, I look great today! I’m digging my outfit and my hair is on-point.”? And then a week later, you put on the same outfit, you do your hair in the same way, with one exception...
You look in the mirror and you don’t see the same thing you saw a week prior. This time you see dark circles under your eyes and what looks like a new worry line taking occupancy on your forehead.
Instead of thinking, “Damn, I look great today!” you think, “Damn, I look haggard and horrible. What’s with this outfit?! What was I thinking putting this thing on?”
Why the difference in perceptions? Same person, same outfit. What gives?!
Mindset, that’s what. We may see with our eyes but it’s our mindset that determines how we feel and what we think about what we’re seeing.
Essentially, mindset is the lens we view the world through which impacts how we feel, what we believe, and what we do or don’t do.
POSITIVE VS. NEGATIVE MINDSETS
There is a multitude of ways to categorize mindset based on tons of research. For example, Carol Dweck author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success places mindset in two categories growth (traits and qualities can change) and fixed (traits and qualities can’t change).
When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world — the world of fixed traits — success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other — the world of changing qualities — it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself. - Carol Dweck
While Ryan Gottfredson, mental success coach and author of “Success Mindsets: Your Keys to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work & Leadership” adds these additional categories;
While I love and appreciate the categories and the roles they play in understanding mindset, for simplicity's sake I like to use positive vs. negative when I’m identifying mindset.
To me, a positive mindset is expansive, whereas a negative mindset is constricted and closed.
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill
With a positive mindset, we see our mistakes as an opportunity for learning, whereas with a negative mindset, we see mistakes as failures.
With a positive mindset, we’re open to new ideas and opportunities and with a negative mindset, we’re more apt to stick with the known.
With a positive mindset, we feel empowered and with a negative mindset, we feel deflated and defeated.
With a positive mindset, our self-talk is “can do” and with a negative mindset, our inner critic screams, “can’t” or creates a negative narrative to talk us out of taking action.
MY OWN DANCE WITH NEGATIVE MINDSET
I’m no stranger to a negative mindset. Mine is a weaver of negative narratives conjuring up all sorts of “wicked” tales to try and talk me out of doing some pretty cool things.
Like in 2005 when my negative mindset tried to convince me that I sucked as a coach and had no business coaching. Or years later when it tried to convince me that I was going to lose clients if I offered intuitive readings. The most recent narrative is all about the book that I’ve been working on, how my sharing my personal story is going to tick off some folks and how no one is going to read it, so why write it!?
Here’s what I’ve come to understand as a result of dancing with my own negative mindset, I’ve got a choice when it comes to what I allow it to talk me out of. I have a choice in shifting it and how I shift it.
WAYS TO SHIFT FROM A NEGATIVE TO A POSITIVE MINDSET
If you take anything away from this post, I hope it’s this... a negative mindset happens. And it’s not the negative mindset that is the issue, it’s what we allow it to do that becomes the issue. So, I’d like to offer the following to experiment with. These are things that I use when I want to shift from a negative mindset to a positive one.
Exercise choice. I do this by asking myself the question, “What do I choose to believe right now?” (Since my mindset impacts what I believe.) Choice takes power away from the negative mindset and puts it back with me.
Seek truth. When the negative mindset creeps in and the narratives start I ask myself, “What do I know to be the truth?” or a variation of that question. The key is creating awareness around what’s fact vs. fiction because our brains can’t tell the difference without our guidance.
Using the “feelers”. Because our mindset impacts how we feel and vice-versa I like to ask myself, “How do I want to feel right now?” BUT and this is a BIG BUT I don’t try and go from one feeling extreme to another because that often leads to frustration.
So, if I’m feeling “meh”, for example, and I don’t want to feel “meh” I’ll choose a feeling that is incrementally better, like say, peaceful or relaxed. And then I’ll do things that’ll help me to feel peaceful or relaxed, like deep breathing exercises (Speaking of breathing exercise, there’s a cool one in the downloadable Brain Detox. Check it out; it’s free and easy to use). Shifting my feelings incrementally shifts my mindset.
Which experiment will you try the next time you want to shift your mindset?
Just remember, you’re in control of your mindset and not the other way around...even though it doesn’t always feel that way. ;) Let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions, I’m here and I’m listening.
"You were given a right foot and a left foot, not a right foot and a wrong foot."
I fricking love that quote!
Perspective, at the end of the day, is subjective and that's what this quote reminds me of. Our perspective, our truth, and what we consider personally right and wrong.
Oh, and before I continue I think it's important to share that I'm not talking about the absolute wrongs in this world. Wrongs like racism, racial profiling, discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes, cruelty, abuse...those are definite wrongs.
What I'm talking about is the differing of opinions, thoughts, ideas, and perspectives.
THE NEED TO BE RIGHT
That quote also reminds me of that need to be right which I recently bumped up against. My own and someone else's.
Not to bore you with the gory details. Let's just say, I was trying to convince someone to see something my way. And since turn around is fair play, I was also on the receiving end of similar behavior.
And it got me thinking...
Why, as human beings, do we have to be right?
What happens when we're wrong?
My answer to the question... my ego. It's my ego that drives that need to be seen as a value-add, to "save face", or to be seen as smart.
And you want to know something funny?
When I'm on the receiving end of someone's "need to be right", I don't see anything of those things because I'm too pissed off.
"Don't tell me what to think. Your way isn't the way for me so stop trying to get me to see it your way. How dare you discount my thoughts."
That means there's a damn good chance I'm not coming across as a value-add or smart. Just annoying and discounting.
SEEING THINGS THROUGH THE LENS OF RIGHT OR WRONG
The reality is, when I look at things through the lens of right or wrong, I close myself off from seeing a different perspective. I shut down the opportunity to learn and to grow.
I stay in that place of "it's my way or the highway" or as a dear friend and colleague of mine says, I'm "married to being right".
And worse, I put a tight lid on the opportunity to connect.
SO, WHAT IF...
What if I(we) entertained the thought that there's a right for me and a right for you? That neither is wrong.
For the sake of clarity, that's not to say that I have to adopt another person's thoughts, ideas, perspectives, or opinions. Just be open to listen and to be curious.
I do that when I'm coaching my clients and some pretty cool things happen.
I remove my ego and listen from my heart.
I create deeper connections.
I learn something new about my clients.
I get cool ideas.
And I definitely avoid being annoying and discounting.
THE CHALLENGE & CALL TO ACTION
So, I'm daring myself to a challenge and I'd love the company if you care to join me. For the next 21 days, when I catch myself "needing to be right" in my personal relationships, I'm going to switch gears. I'm going to engage my curiosity and listen open-heartedly (like I do when I'm coaching) and see what cool things I may learn.
Are you with me?
About this blog
This is the place where I share my personal journey, insights, ideas, and a-ha moments helping me to mute my own inner critic. It is my hope you find what you need to mute your own.