Not those of others but your own.
I think a lot of people have expectations for what they want out of life. And despite the popular phrase that goes something like ‘If you’re dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough’, high expectations can be overwhelming.
But something that I’ve learnt is that you have to be committed and pace yourself. If you truly want to achieve something it shouldn’t be conditional, you should be dedicated to it.
I’ve also found it useful to check in and like to refer back to something Seth Godin once said about how you’re either talking to the wring people or you’re not making good enough stuff.
And I’m at a point where I can see that just because I’m trying hard doesn’t mean what I’m producing is good enough for the outcome that I want.
When that happens I take a step back and re-group. I think about what I’m doing that is good and how I can make it better.
My expectations of myself are quite frankly ridiculous which is why I find them overwhelming. Plus, I often make the mistake of focusing too much on the end goal instead of simply just doing the work.
I don’t have a roundup or a takeaway as I’m still learning how to manage the expectations I have of myself.
However, what I will share is that if you find yourself getting overwhelmed or frustrated you probably need to change what you’re doing or the way you’re thinking.
Currently reading linchpin by Seth Godin and learning a whole lot.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the art of gift giving lately. Not in terms of a birthday or Christmas gifts but in daily life.
The small or grand acts of generosity like saying good morning with a genuine smile or offering to help someone without expecting anything in return.
Those acts of generosity brighten people’s day, make them feel seen and are often easy to do.
I’m certain that you would have been on the receiving end of an act of generosity at some point in your life or maybe you’re the giver.
Despite these acts often being easy to do, how many times have you missed or overlooked the opportunity to give.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own worlds and our stuff that we can’t even see the opportunity we have to make an offering in the world.
But when you do stop and choose to give not out of obligation or expectation but just because, that right there is the art of the gift.
Whatever is going on in my life will be woven through the words I write.
At times, I’m like a floatie being pulled and swayed in all kinds of directions. But I’m easily influenced and inspired.
From the ages of 16-18 I studied textiles, discovered Seth Godin and read a few books by Dickens.
That trio of things heavily influenced my writing at the time through the language in used. I can see it now but I was also aware of it at the time.
And as time has passed new things have influenced the way I write things like music, nature, relationships etc.
I still have my core style but my choice of words and what I want them to evoke has developed and grown with along with me.
For this blog my writing is heavily inspired by my themes of overcoming fear, self exploration, dream life etc
But I’m also still influenced by Seth Godin after all these years (I’m now in my twenties). I’m also influenced by things that move me emotionally, I’m a feelings person, who has kept a journal for more than a decade so it’s a big part of who I am. I can’t help but let that part of me pour out when I write.
I’d like to think that my influences and inspirations come through but it’s not down to me if they show or not.
That’s for you to decide.
Can you guess what book I’ve been reading?
Over a year ago (on my other blog, wordsbygemm) I wrote a post about my job.
Looking back, knowing what I now know I kind of regret my words.
Here’s what I wrote: Maybe, it’s strange that I sort of like being a cog in a machine, doing my bit to support the bigger picture.
I didn’t know it at the time but I’d fallen into a fear based trap. I basically wanted a factory job that presented itself as something else because it was in an office and I was at a computer instead of a machine.
I’d go to work sit at my desk, check emails, read documents, chat with colleagues, write letters and occasionally make phone calls. That was all I did on a loop pretty much in any random order depending on the day.
But I’ve since seen the light, I suppose. Firstly my level of contentment with how I was showing up at work wasn’t what I thought it would be. I found myself wanting to more.
And so thanks to me choosing to read Seth Godins book linchpin, I’m understanding how I can be better at what I do.
I want to show up at work and add value not just follow instructions, anyone can do that.
That’s how the story of how I discovered the person who would become one of my biggest life inspirations begins. This person would go on to help influence the words I wrote, the person I’ve become and the things that I chose to do.
At 17 I liked to think that I was someone who didn’t fall for marketing ploys. I liked to think that I was a girl unswayed by the things that surrounded me.
Mostly because marketing sometimes seemed like you were being tricked into wanting or buying things by people who wanted your money, like a sort of elaborate scam.
I wanted to believe that I was above that sort of thing but I can now admit that the perception I held of myself wasn’t true.
I was wrong.
Wrong because I felt myself pulled to pick up a book called ‘Free Prize Inside’. Turns out there was no actual free prize inside the book but it did change my life which is even better.
I could probably write a book on things I’ve learnt from Seth Godin.
Seth taught me that maybe this fear is something I can work with instead of work for. As in, I can do everything I want to do and still have fear, instead letting the fear dictate what I do (which always ends up with me not doing what I actually want to do).
Learning to dance with fear is often uncomfortable (because it’s new) but it’s taught me valuable lessons about moving through life.
The best place to start is somewhere small because it’s like a form of immersion therapy. Imagine if you’re learning to swim, diving in at the deep end with no arm bands is probably a silly idea. You might end up panicking, swallowing water and needing to be rescued.
If that happens you’re unlikely to dust yourself off and try again. You almost died, it’s too dangerous, how could you even think it was a good idea. And your body will do it’s thing in letting you know it was dangerous and that you need to protect yourself. At that point even the shallow end will seem too risky.
But if you start at the shallow end and do the smallest uncomfortable thing that doesn’t feel too risky you might be willing to do something slightly bigger bit by bit overtime.
And then eventually diving in at the deep end won’t seem so risky. Because you’ve done everything else before that and it’s turned out okay. You’ll be at a point where you know what to do if you feel overwhelmed and even if you need a little help or support it you won’t feel like a failure.
Then once you’re out the deep end you’ll be okay to go back in again.
Turns out it wasn’t so scary after all.
In the process of making a difficult decision I turned to the words of Seth Godin for guidance. I found a few useful posts on sunk costs and it made me realise one of the things I needed to stop considering.
When making plans for the future if you do it based on past experiences that didn’t go to plan it taints your mind.
Decisions based on the past are too often made from a place of fear or include factors that have no bearing on the future unless you let them.
I think it’s useful to start by wiping your slate clean. Start with where you’re at right now and weigh up the pros and cons of both choices. And consider what you want and what your personal plans are not just what looks good on the outside.
It was either Seth Godin or Simon Sinek that once said that you shouldn’t seek reassurance because it’s something you can never have enough of.
I don’t think I fully understood the statement until I observed it in others and in myself.
Reassurance creates a temporary fence of stability that lets you know things are fine but it doesn’t last. It’s like a cloud of smoke that will eventually disperse until there’s nothing left and then you just end up back where you started, seeking reassurance once more.
And so instead of seeking reassurance,
Why not practise being adaptable, embracing uncertainty and getting out of your comfort zone?
Having a daily writing practice means that writers block isn’t an excuse I can use.
There are days when writing feels a little more rigid and I suppose I feel ‘blocked’ but I don’t feed it because whether I feel in-flow or totally out of flow I still have to write and share something.
I think one of the easiest ways to loosen up and allow the words to flow is to write and it’s ironic because we’d usually do the opposite.
Perhaps the first 100 or even 500 words might be what you think of as rubbish but once you get past that you get to the good stuff. All of sudden you’re scoffing at that supposed ‘writers block’ knowing that you should have listened to Seth when he said:
Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure.
Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.
Seths Blog: Talkers Block