Why you should stop feeling bad for wanting more
“All things considered I’ve got it pretty good”
“Could be worse”
“First world problems, right?!”
Do any of these sound familiar?
These are the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the fact that we want more out of life but we’re not doing anything about it. It’s how we alleviate the guilt.
First, let me tell you - even if you have a great job, great relationships, minimal stress - it’s normal to want more. It’s in our nature to grow, evolve, progress in life.
Maybe you’ve grown out of your job. Maybe you’ve mastered your old hobbies and need a new challenge. Maybe you’re ready for that next adventure.
So why are we so determined to stay stuck?
One of the biggest things holding us back is fear. Our inner critics are experts at convincing us to stay safe and as a result, stuck.
Another thing holding us back is how inflexible most of us are when it comes to quitting or leaving something behind and moving on.
But what I want to talk about this time is the often subconscious idea that our lives must unfold in a very linear and sensible manner. That each decision and step we take in life is a logical progression from the one before it.
This means that even though we’ve outgrown something, any new step we take is still within the confines of the box that we’ve just outgrown.
Say again? If you’re a victim of the ‘linear life effect’, then no matter what new step you take, you will stay stuck on the same path you’ve always been on.
This most often takes the shape of not wanting to veer away from our educational background or work history/experience. We don’t want to ‘start over’. People have legitimate reasons for not starting over. But, external blocks aside, are any of them better than going for what you really want and living a life that fills you up and inspires you?
When you let go of the idea that life is linear, a whole new world of possibility opens up. Everything becomes more exciting. That tiring, predictable prescription for your life of: ‘post-secondary education, marriage, dog, kids, promotion, vacations’ can become ‘travelling, working, kid, moving, marriage, promotion, college courses’ or any variation of the above.
One is not better than the other, but limiting yourself to thinking one is, isn’t doing you any favours.
Now is where you stop feeling bad for wanting more. Wanting more means it's time to get off that linear path.
Here are some questions a coach might ask you to help you work through this:
1. What prescription have you been following for your life path (that you may not have even realized until now?)
2. Where did this idea come from? (you, your parents, our culture?)
3. Go through each element of the idea and play devil's advocate.
For example, let's say you believe you must make use of a post-secondary education. How true is this? Who is holding you to this?
4. What does it feel like to completely throw these ideas out the window?
5. In what ways do you feel compelled to veer off the path you’ve been stuck on?
Check out my 5 step process for finding a life that fills you up in the Let's Do This Coaching package. Throwing caution to the wind is part of the process, but don’t worry, we’ll make sure you don’t do anything too crazy. Unless you want to. As your coach, my job is not to convince you of anything, merely to help you see past the beliefs you hold around what you think you should do.