*Reprise: I’m winding down to one new post per week between now and Baby Integrated’s arrival in March 2017. Enjoy this repost!*
I grew up as the oldest of five kids. Our family of seven was...bustling, to say the least.
As the oldest, I thought it was my job to minimize the stress on my parents as much as possible, and so I got very good at being obedient (until my teenage years, anyway - but that's a post for another day).
I was a pretty mellow kid and didn't get bored easily, and my siblings were fairly similar. One thing we heard over and over again at church was "you kids are so well-behaved!"
Picture five little blonde kids all in a row in a pew, angelically coloring quietly or singing along to the hymns. We'd smile sweetly as adults would pinch our cheeks or tell us how mature we were in the fellowship hall after the service.
It's easy - and natural - for kids to pick up on the cues from adults, especially the cues that let them know how they can be "successful" in their environment.
In school, at church, and everywhere in-between, I learned that I would get praise and love if I followed the rules and did things "the right way."
Color inside the lines. Glue the macaroni in just the right spot on the paper. Write my name in that corner. There was so much to do correctly, and everyone saw what happened to the kids who had trouble with or refused to fall into line - their macaroni art looked like shit.
One question loomed large in my childhood, as it does for many kids, and it was "Am I doing it right?"
This question got lodged deep into my brain, and it's no wonder that it continues to show up in my adult life. Since it's in me, it's easy for me to see it in others, too, and the question permeates so many of my interactions with my clients. They wonder if they're going about their job search wrong, or if they said the right thing to a co-worker, or if they're just doing life completely backward.
They wonder if they're missing the "right" path, and the fear that they're getting this all wrong causes them so much stress.
But our journey to create a life that we love isn't some step by step coloring exercise. There are no lines.
There's no one right way that you're supposed to do this. There are a million right ways, and the trick is to find the one that works for you.
Here's a question I like a lot more than "Am I doing this right?":
"Does this work for me?"
Does the macaroni face I just made work for me? Does this organization work for me? Does my obsession with money, status, appearance, prestige, etc. work for me?
You are the only one that can answer that question, but if you're going to break free of the pressure to do more, faster, and by someone else's standards, you have to.
Does your life right now work for you?
Does your work work for you?
If it doesn't, that's okay - it can change. If you're willing to choose to live according to the things that work for you, it becomes easier to recalibrate and get back on your own perfect flight path.
Starting 2/4/17, working women have an opportunity to create space for a worklife that works for them in whatever beautiful way they need it to. I'm offering a three-week online series that will dive into these issues, so if anything in this blog post resonates with you, I'd encourage you to join us.
If you'd like to learn more and sign up, you can click here.
I hope you'll try to let go of "Am I doing this right?" and embrace "Does this work for me?" instead.
You'll feel about 1,000,000 pounds lighter and be well on your way to a life that is full of beauty.