An accountant, a yoga teacher, and a publisher walk into a bar…
True story – they really did, and I was with them – and a few other entrepreneurs that I was fortunate to learn from and be inspired by this week. We were on a business trip discussing strategies, products, and the best ways to make a difference for our clients.
One of the things that struck me the most was how incredibly different we are in our approaches to life, yet we’re all enjoying success. Some are nighthawks; some are early risers who head to the gym for a morning workout or to the beach for a stroll. Some are nibbling broccoli and salads while others are enjoying nachos and fries with cheese sauce. Some love tech, and some loathe it.
It led me to thinking about the “shoulds” we’re bombarded with daily and the should shackles that we place on ourselves. Even here in paradise at this beautiful resort, I overhear the shoulds.
I should really go to the gym.
I should drink some more water.
I should get out of the sun.
Every age and stage has its own unique burdens of should. For high school students it’s that they should be going on to college or university directly after graduation. New moms should get their slim, fit figures back within months of giving birth. Couples should always get along and be able to work out differences with ease and not go to bed angry.
Daily at The Nook my clients say, “I know I really should ________________”. Those shoulds are a way to load up on guilt and run down our energy. It’s draining to always think you should be doing something more, more, and more. Every magazine at the checkout advises us on more shoulds: eat raw, go paleo, meditate, get out there and connect, be still on your own. Here’s the thing, if they don’t convince you that you should improve this that or the other, you won’t buy the magazine and they won’t make money.
The problem doesn’t lie in the advice itself; perhaps it’s good advice. The question we need to ask isn’t “is that good advice?” but, “is that good advice FOR ME?” or “is that right for me at this stage in my life?”. Every single little should saps a little bit more energy and leaves us a little more depleted, feeling that what we’re doing is never enough or never good enough.
1 – notice when you’re shoulding yourself
2 – ask: is that where I want to put my energy right now
3 – if the answer is no, KNOCK IT OFF and catch yourself each and every time you say it. If the answer is YES, create a concrete plan that works FOR YOU on how to make the change, rather than swimming around in the feeling that you SHOULD make the change. Set a time period – two weeks, twenty-one days, three months, whatever is realistic for you.
Remember the immortal words of the very wise Yoda,
“Do or do not, there is no try”