Balancing Your Life: Fire Your Board of Directors
What if, starting this year, each and every one of us chose to live our lives more for ourselves than for anyone else? What would that look like? What if your essential self whispered the direction it wanted you to take? What if you listened to and honored those whispers? Would you be happier? Would you be healthier? Would you be leading the life you were meant to live? I believe that you would.
Many of us live our lives pleasing a generalized "everybody." We stay at work until midnight to please our employers. We work out to please our partners. We visit with people who deplete our energy as opposed to taking time to replenish that energy. We also refrain from certain conversations with people we are close to because we don’t want to upset anyone. We all have a tendency to want to please; in fact, our social selves are people pleasers by nature. But pleasing others doesn’t always please our essential selves. I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to pleasing others. I agreed when my ex-boyfriend wanted us to move to a place in the country. I never even asked myself if this move would make me happy. I just said "OK." And after my partner, Kim, and I were legally married, we started planning a real wedding, just because that’s what people do. After two weeks of bickering, we decided to go with what felt best to us. In the end, we opted not to have a wedding with all the bells and whistles, and we were very relieved and much more pleasant to be around.
Many people say that pleasing yourself is hedonistic and selfish. When did selfish come to have such a negative connotation? After all, what’s wrong with looking out for yourself? What’s wrong with wanting to live a life filled with joy and peace? Absolutely nothing. In fact, no one other than your essential self knows what will bring you joy and peace. No one else is going to make you happy, nor should they. Your happiness and how you navigate through this life is your responsibility.
Another way to think about this generalized everybody is to imagine that we each have a board of directors in our mind. Gretchen Pisano, a fellow Martha Beck coach, states, "It just so happens that this Board of Directors is led by our Social Self and is staffed by people or groups of people who represent the perspective of the Social Self." These can be real people in our lives, or they can be people we have never met. For example, one new mother I coached said that every mother on the planet was on her board of directors. In other words, instead of relying on her intuition as she cared for her newborn, she tried instead to please every mother on the planet, including her own. When I helped her discover that her board of directors was running her life, she realized the power that this generalized everybody held over her and that trying to please everyone else left her feeling exhausted, disconnected from her true self, and quite unhappy.
Each of us runs our own life. Whether we are living the dreams of our essential selves or not, we are still responsible for ourselves. So, why not run it like we would a business. Most businesses choose who will be on their board of directors. They make careful selections as to who supports their mission, their values, and their contributions to society. Why don’t we all do ourselves a favor and fire the board of directors in our heads—a board that is not doing anything to make our lives more joyful—and instead hire a personally selected hall of champions? This hall of champions can be made up of people you know and people you don’t. Each of these people supports you, your dreams, your inner voice, and your vision for living the life only you were meant to live.
- Do you always travel where your partner wants to go?
- Do you visit your parent in the nursing home or assisted living facility even though you are exhausted from a long week?
- Are you avoiding coming out as GLB or T (gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender) to your family or coworkers so that you won’t disappoint them?
- Are you taking a job that you have no interest in so that others will think you are a responsible person?
- Do you avoid following your dreams because you believe that others will think you are selfish?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are listening to your board of directors, and it may be time to replace them with your own personal hall of champions!
As always, I would love to help you with your process. Liberate yourself, and start leading the life that only you can lead!
Following the theme of this e-newsletter, I thought I would share Sugarland’s song "Settlin." I love the chorus. I guess that’s why I decided to make "Don’t settle for anything less than everything" the tagline of my business. Here are the lyrics; enjoy the song!
I ain't settling for just getting by I've had enough so so for the rest of my life Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high Just enough ain't enough this time I ain't settling for anything less than everything, yeah
I’d also like to share this newer song from Kacey Musgraves, because I believe she hits the nail on the head. We often do things because we think it’s what everyone else expects of us, even if it’s not necessarily what makes our heart sing. Have a listen!
Until next time,
Safe Space Life Coaching