Why indeed? A frequent question from my coaching clients. Aren’t we supposed to be like fine wine and improve with age? As we get older we’ve got experience on our side, so surely life’s challenges should start melting away as time passes.
Some of us have read the self help books and attended the workshops but the curve balls keep coming and the rug keeps being pulled from under our feet.
Why doesn’t life get any easier?
Those motivational quotes of toughening up, never giving up, to keep going, to feel the burn - I get exhausted just reading them. Yet they’re in my psyche, those good ole’ Victorian values of hard work, we all know that if you want to be successful you have to practice more and work harder.
I can look back to a time in my life when I was doing just that, long hours, shortened weekends and compromised family time. Sweat and toil producing the results that I’d been promised, yet how come I didn’t feel as successful as everyone was proclaiming.
When the outside world was telling me how well I was doing and how successful I was, I felt at my worst on the inside. It was a conundrum, if everyone was telling me that I was getting it right and giving me awards and accolades to prove it, they had to be right and anything that I was feeling had to be wrong? They could all see that my life was effortless and easy yet I really wasn’t feeling it.
What does success mean for you?
What measure are you using? We’re most commonly committed to the financial measure, that the mark of a truly successful person is their impressive bank balance. As a society we’ve managed to equate it with status and power. The wealthy amongst us peer loftily down from their pedestals, even if they’re dead from heart failure at 50…
Is your measure of success making life hard for you? What is your measure of success? Is it your wealth, your health, your happiness, your relationships? Is it your measure or someone else's?
Do you ever take a moment to become aware of how you’re feeling?
Stop and listen to your inner voices, if they’re like mine, they’re undoubtedly critical but stop and listen to them anyway. Acknowledge what they’re saying and accept that some part of you is feeling this way. By acknowledging and accepting them they somehow lose their power over us and we get to move on and leave them behind.
Are you chasing someone else’s dream?
We are bombarded daily by so many images and voices telling us how our lives can’t be complete without yet another purchase. We look at others, comparing our insides with their perceived perfect outsides. What does your life need, what’s your dream and how will you feel when you get there?
Do you give yourself permission for a pity party? The harder we work to avoid feeling the pain of failure so more deeply it gets buried. If you want to get rid of it once and for all, surrender to how it feels and watch it go. It’s no surprise that we feel better after a good cry, angry tirade or punch bag session.
Do you keep telling yourself that life is hard? - our brains process a phenomenal amount of information each second so have devised some ingenious short cuts to lighten the load. Thought processes become ingrained and habitual and become your ‘go to’ belief. If you keep telling yourself that life is hard then it’s your go to belief. Create a new thought process and belief of life is easy by stopping yourself each time you catch yourself stating that it’s hard.
Who are the 5 people you spend most of your time with? It’s long been speculated that you’re the average of those five. Look around you and see if you’re surrounding yourself with accepting and supportive people. Who catches you when you fall and cheers when you succeed?
And finally having tried everything to escape the feeling that life isn’t getting easier know that as day follows night, as the tides ebb and flow and Spring follows Winter… this too shall pass.