Be the Boss; Changing Your Behaviors that Don’t Serve You

 

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“If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.” ~ W.L. Bateman

Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results each time is a foolproof path to feel like a failure. Some people even define that behavior as insane. I love the idea that we can constantly and endlessly develop ourselves through trying a “new behavior” via the experiences we have and the boundaries we set.

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How many times in our lives do we repeat behaviors that just don’t serve us? Going to a job that we hate, committing to things we don’t want to do, hanging out with people who drain us, doing the same thing over and over because it is safe…

When people talk about finding your purpose or your calling in life, it can be really inspiring OR if you are like me, it can sound really overwhelming. We’re trying to get through everything else in life and now we need a purpose? Your “calling” really is your innate desires; the things you are continually drawn to or love to spend your time doing. If finding your life purpose sounds intimidating to you, how about doing something you love for just 15 minutes per day?

“If you aren’t living with passion, you are living with resistance.” ~ Heather McCloskey Beck

To create a new path for yourself that will lead to happiness, you need to change your behaviors that aren’t working for you. You need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and be the boss of your own life, because only you can designate how much control you will have over your future.

It comes down to this:

  • You are the boss of your life.
  • Only you get to live your life.
  • You are responsible for you.

You have the right to:

  • Be treated with respect.
  • Say “no” without feeling guilty.
  • Take time to develop yourself.
  • Take time for quiet and solitude.
  • Write, think and reflect.
  • Create a life that feels inspiring.

 

Write this down for yourself: “As the boss of my life, I have the right to:________________.”

 

When you find your calling and speak your truth, you empower someone else to speak their truth. Creating boundaries for others and for yourself will also generate time for you to change the behaviors that don’t serve you, to do what makes you happy, and to have time alone to reflect.

 

This post is inspired by a talk from Heather McCloskey Beck at the International Women’s Summit

Own Your Decisions and Dissolve Your Defensive Ego

 

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Do you ever find yourself making excuses for your choices or your current situation, whether it is the industry you are working in, why you never went back to school, why you do or don’t have kids, or why you are single? Self-defense in the form of personal justification can be toxic, and when we do it, we make ourselves sound even more guilty for no reason at all.  When we are unsure of our own decisions, we tend to go into defense mode about them, because we don’t know how other people are going to view them. Sometimes we don’t even know how we feel about them ourselves, and inviting criticism from others can be nerve racking.

 

The defending, explaining and justifying never seems to change anything and, instead, tends to anchor us more deeply in the issue that needs to be addressed.

Whatever you are doing, whether you are working, staying home with your kids, going to school; there is a reason why you decided to make that choice. Why did you want that for yourself? Stop questioning your choice. Remember your “why“. Write it down. Stop thinking about who is judging you, or looking at you, or questioning your worth. The only thing you should worry about is if you are making the right choice for you, your family, and your goals.

 

I still have the hardest time with this as I am finishing up my MBA as a stay at home mom. I feel like I am stuck between two worlds and have no idea what my future is going to look like. Will I be home with the kids? Will I be working or starting my own business? Where will my regrets lie? The truth is, I have no idea. I don’t know what the ideal future looks like for me and it took several years for me to stop feeling like I had to justify staying home with my babies by going to school or by saying that it is just a temporary situation. I took a real perspective change on my life and what I am grateful for now and I finally said, “I want this, I want to be home with my kids.” I don’t care who judges me for a gap in my resume or for putting my career on hold. I needed to stop making excuses that made me feel like it was okay to be doing it. I am staying home because this is what feels right…right now. Not forever, maybe not next year, but now. This is what I want.  I don’t have to pretend like it is some temporary free ride that I am taking. It is HARD work!

 

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Our ego is designed to protect and defend us from unpleasant feelings. The result of all of our defensive tactics is that we start to lose touch with ourselves. This makes it harder for us to deal with our deeper feelings and we drive them deeper where they feel hidden, but are never really resolved or understood.

 

We can dissolve our egos by standing by our decisions and stop feeling like we are doing things for the approval of other people.  Be the best working mom, stay at home mom, student, or corporate executive that you can be and OWN IT. Maybe next year or six months from now it wont be right anymore, and that’s okay. The fact that you are even worrying about it says that you are on the right path. But stop. Just enjoy where you are now. If you are working and feel like you are missing out on your kids lives, be grateful to have your expertise, and to be providing for your family. If you are staying home, stop associating your worth with a paycheck. You can always go back. Forget what people will think about you. You don’t work for them, you work for you!

EgoOnce you stop feeling sorry for your situation and realize that you don’t have to apologize or explain to anyone, you can ditch your ego and find your true path. Are you truly happy where you are? Forget what everyone thinks about you. Odds are, you are magnifying it in your mind. Everyone is too caught up in their own lives to sincerely worry about judging you 24/7. If you are worried about making a mistake; make it, and learn from it. It will help you grow.

Make your own decision that feels right to you and you might encourage someone to do the same by doing so.  Next time you feel like someone is judging you or questioning your path, own it. Tell them straight up what you are doing. No need to explain anything, just be proud because that’s where you are right now because that is the decision that you made for yourself, for your own reasons, and no one else’s.

Managing Your Circle of Influence

 

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In our daily lives, we are surrounded by a wide range of concerns, so how do we know where to focus our time and energy? What is the difference between worrying about your fitness and worrying about third world hunger? Both are in our circle of concern, but only one is in our circle of influence.  In Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he writes about these two circles which contain our lives.

Our Circle of Concern encompasses all of the things that are important to us; that we care about. These can be personal concerns about our careers, our family, or our fitness, and can also include our global concerns such as politics, climate change and the state of the economy. In other words, these are all of the things that we care about and are concerned about.

Our Circle of Influence includes the things that we care about, but have control over. These are the things that we can actually do something about, and many times we are the only ones who can make a change over these concerns in our lives. Worries that are outside of the circle of influence are things that we might care about, but we don’t have control over.

Knowing what circle that our concerns belong in helps us to prioritize the things that we can truly influence so that we can focus our effort where it has the most impact. It can be overwhelming to try and solve all of our problems and that feeling can push people away from solving any of them, leaving them feeling like their life is not in their control. They begin to blame outside sources and feel victimized. This leads to negative thinking and causes our circle of influence to shrink.

Many times we don’t put things in our circle of influence because we underestimate ourselves and the control we have over certain situations when in reality, we do. On the other side, we put things in our circle of concern rather than in our circle of influence because we don’t feel that as an individual, we can make a real difference.

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Even further inside lies our Circle of Commitment. “This represents the area within your Circle of Influence where you are intentionally putting your time and energy (whether you do so for 10 minutes or the next year). This circle symbolizes the difference between the statements “I can” and “I will.”

“The problems all of us face fall in one of three areas: direct control (problems involving our own behavior); indirect control (problems involving other people’s behavior); or no control (problems we can do nothing about, such as our past, or situational realities).” – Stephen R. Covey

Rather than wasting our time working towards something we have no control or influence over, we should focus first on the things that we can change that have the greatest impact on us and then break it down to the things that we will do. When this happens, we realize that we have more control over our lives that we previously may have thought and thus, our circle of influence expands. Also, our circle of concern is widened because we start to realize that maybe we can learn to have some influence over the more challenging things that we care about.

“The proactive approach is to change from the inside-out; to be different, and by being different to effect positive change in what’s out there — I can be more resourceful, I can be more diligent, I can be a more creative, I can be more cooperative.” – Stephen R. Covey

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed, try and think about the tasks you can tackle that you have real control over.

Try to recognize things that are weighing on your mind or making your life feel chaotic which are outside of your circle of influence. Personal development is about investing your time in ways that make you a better person on many levels, and if you can identify the things that you have influence over, you can make real changes and realize that you probably have more control than you think you do.