This morning, I had an epiphany in the shower. To understand the gravity of this realization, you first need to know a few things about me. I love that I am able to see many of my coaching clients in my home instead of my office. At home, we can sit together in my family room with a cup of tea and a blazing fire in the winter months or a tall glass of fruit-infused water when it’s warm. We can watch and hear the birds chirping or enjoy the bold colors of autumn. On a cold day, there’s always a chenille throw lying on the sofa. And on days when I am feeling particularly inspired, we smell and eat my famous (gluten free/dairy free/low sugar) apple cinnamon oat muffins. (They are really good I promise!). It’s the perfect environment for us to connect and for my clients to feel inspired to dream big and create their most fulfilling lives.
But there is one problem that I have been struggling with for years. Picture this: we sitting in the idyllic setting described above, envisioning the next step in that clients journey to their most fulfilling life…..and the phone rings. No, not my cell-phone (religiously switched to silent per-session)…. my landline. (Yes, I still have one!) In the old days simply taking the phone off the hook stopped it from ringing. Not the case with the “new” cordless systems. So for years I have gathered all the phones in my house before each session and exiled them to an upstairs bedroom. We still hear them ring, but the sound is muffled. As midlife women, we have a hard enough time remembering what we were thinking without being interrupted by a ringing phone. For years I have been apologizing to my clients for the sound of the phone ringing. Luckily my clients (who are amazing and wonderful women) have been very understanding, but apologizing does not mean much if you don’t do anything about it.
So back to my epiphany. This morning, while taking a shower, (I don’t know about you, but this is where I do some of best thinking.) it hit me. Unplug the main unit! That would disable all the phones. How simple was that. I must admit that I am embarrassed telling you that it took me years to figure this out.
Well this got me thinking. Why was it so hard for me to find a solution to this dilemma? Here’s what I think, I was stuck in an old way of thinking and could not move beyond that mindset. I thought the only solution was finding a way to keep the phone off the hook. Why did I think that that was the only solution? Because that was how I solved this problem many times in the past. This is what worked. My past history of solving this problem closed me off to other possibilities.
I see similarities between this and the struggles that many of my clients endure. For example, Suzie was upset that one of her grown children was not planning to fly home for his cousin’s wedding. Suzie lamented that, “when he was younger I would just tell him he had to go even if he didn’t want to and he would go to the wedding.” That no longer works. Suzie could not think of another way to handle the situation. She felt hopeless. I suggested she shift how she was looking at the situation. Instead of seeing it as a mom who can’t get her son to listen to her, we focused on effective ways parents can communicate with adult children. Once she shifted her view of the situation and got out of her old ways of dealing with her son, she was able to have an open and meaningful conversation with him. She came away understanding why he had made the decision he did, respecting that decision and feeling that he also had a better understanding of what she was thinking.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when you find Out OF Date thinking that is no longer working for you:
- Where in your life are you relying on old, out of date ways of dealing with obstacles, dilemmas and situations?
- How are these old ways holding you back?
- Are there new ways that you can look at these situations that acknowledge the changes that have taken place over time?
- Now that you have this new perspective, what will you do differently?
Now if only I could figure out a solution to driving in traffic. Any ideas?
For those of you who would like to make more connections with other midlife women, I invite you to join my Midlife Reinvention Facebook Group. You will gain access to training and resources from me and connect to almost 300 like-minded midlife women who inspire and support one another as they navigate and create their most fulfilling next acts.