I was talking to a good friend last week. She shared that she’d recently had a paradigm shift. She’s in a similar place as I am… transitioning from solely focusing on a business to designing a more creative and fulfilling life. Like me, she’s found herself being pulled back into her old world on more than one occasion. Her words gave me a lot to think about.
I realized I’ve been living in a very black & white world.
I thought my options were to either go back to what I’ve done for the past 30 years, or do something completely different. I’m very clear I have no interest in going back to the same thing I’ve done for years. So I just figured that meant it was time to do something else.
Yet, I’ve found myself struggling to figure out exactly what that something else is.
As much as I love spending time doing volunteer pet therapy work, I’m very clear it’s not time to fully retire. I also love writing, but feel I have some living to do and lessons to learn before I’m ready to dive into seriously writing my next book. While the seeds are there for two new books, the clarity is not.
This has left me feeling unsettled.
I don’t want to go back to where I was.
I’m not sure what to move forward to.
So I find myself stuck in the middle.
Trying to be OK in this place of transition, but feeling frustrated, like I’m supposed to be doing something.
That was until last week when I spoke with my friend.
She helped me realize that doing the work I’ve always done doesn’t mean it has to look like it’s always looked. Duh! A palm slap to the forehead moment to be sure!
Why is it we get so stuck thinking certain endeavors have to look a certain way? If I’m tired of my job, I look for a new job in the same field. If this is how I’ve always exercised, if I want to get back in shape, I have to go back to the same old fitness routine.
When the old approach no longer works for us, it’s as if we think if we can’t do it that way then we can’t do it at all.
What about just approaching it differently?
We can’t go back in time anyway. It’s never going to be like it was. So what’s the point of trying to recreate it? We’re not going to get the same results, and we’ll likely get frustrated trying.
That doesn’t mean we should deny our gifts or throw our talents out the window. Instead, we can choose to use them in a different way.
And, as my friend pointed out, this is particularly true if our gifts and talents serve others. And most notably if others are asking for our help. As she so pointedly shared, if we deny others the help they’re requesting, we are in fact denying ourselves, too. If we can make money serving in this way we’re also signaling that we don’t value the gift or think it’s worth anything. Hmmm… what message do you think that sends to the Universe?
Talk about closing doors and shutting off the flow!
It’s no wonder shutting the door leaves us feeling lost. We are denying the very thing—or at least one of the things—we are here to do.
This aha moment led to my own paradigm shift.
I realized I don’t have to go back to what I’ve always done and how I’ve always done it. Even if everyone in my industry does things a certain way. Even if I was taught “this is how your business has to look.” Even if I’ve taught others “this is how you have to do it.”
Despite all of that I can choose to reinvent it in a new and different way.
We all have the power to creatively reinvent at any time.
In fact we should if we want to stay engaged in our lives. Without reinvention, or at least refreshment, we get bored, we stop getting results, we begin taking things and people for granted, and we stagnate.
The key is to understand we don’t have to drastically change everything. We simply need to change how we look at the situation. And, we need to be open to a new approach or perspective. If nothing else, we can invite in more of what makes us happy and usher out the parts that no longer resonate. I suppose it’s simply a matter of repackaging.
In doing this, we’re saying Yes to life.
We’re staying in motion. Remaining open. Allowing ourselves to tap into the flow. We’re also honoring our gifts. And maybe most importantly, we’re practicing the art of listening… and allowing.
The day before my friend called, I had been entertaining the idea of returning to my business. I was hesitant because it felt like I was going backwards, and I was clear I didn’t want to do that. She helped me realize I wasn’t going back, I was moving forward in a new way. Her words and wisdom were the nudge I needed to embrace the idea and run with it.
It’s only been a few days since I experienced my paradigm shift, but I already feel much more at peace. I no longer feel unsettled. I don’t feel like there’s anything specific I have to do or accomplish. Rather, it’s about being totally present and embracing each day as it comes.
I know I’ve written about this before.
Probably multiple times! I’m learning it’s an ongoing process. Two steps forward, and one step back. After living with drive, determination, goals and a make-it-happen attitude for 55 years it takes time to let that go. That’s OK. I’m moving in the right direction! How about you?