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Many of us find ourselves in the middle of a reckoning right now. With COVID changing our circumstances in such drastic ways, we’ve been shining a light on some dark corners that we hadn’t looked at before. I don’t have a formula or an easily-implemented process for you. But I wanted to share how I’m dealing with a reckoning in my life and let you know that you’re not alone in this.
As a coach, I hear about the relationships and situations that are no longer working in peoples’ lives. And while many see these things as a big old moldy sandwich, I love reframing them as an opportunity.
I know it’s annoying to hear me or someone else say, “this reckoning in your life is such an opportunity!” But I want to encourage you to learn to be with the annoyance. Learn to be with the discomfort. That doesn’t mean tolerating the intolerable, but rather, listening deeper to what makes you uncomfortable so you can choose differently.
For some of us, we are looking at external things in our lives that need to change. This could be a relationship that needs to shift, end, or start. Or it could be moving, switching jobs, or setting boundaries. We’re taking a good hard look at our own lives and asking some different questions.
Sometimes, we say it’s our job, relationship, or house that needs to change, but it’s actually something inside us that needs to change. It’s easy to say, “Oh, if my job were better, I’d be happier.” And that might be true—some jobs suck. But we need to be careful about projecting internal change on an external thing.
The best example I can think of is when a couple gets divorced. One spouse is blindsided by the other spouse ending the marriage. And later, they come back and say, “I thought the divorce was going to make me happy, but I’m still miserable.” The marriage wasn’t keeping them from being happy. It’s something internal that they still haven’t addressed.
Making a change isn’t about feeling happy all of the time. It isn’t about having a perfect life and feeling good all the time. In fact, the tension and friction we feel are usually indicators of things we can work with and play with.
You might be thinking, “Tiffany, playing with the tension and reframing it as an opportunity sounds great. But I’m still over here eating a moldy sandwich.”
If that’s you, I want you to think about welcoming the reckoning.
What often starts as a reckoning becomes a homecoming if we stay in it and see it through.
My reckoning right now is the frantic energy and the story I keep telling myself about not having enough time. I’m not prioritizing the things that need to be a priority in my work and my life.
After a million little reckonings in my life, I’ve learned that we start by fighting it. We ignore the reckoning and put it off until it smacks us down. And then, we’ll begrudgingly get a little bit better. After it’s a bit better, we dust off our hands and say that everything is fixed.
As wildly creative problem solvers, we want to fix it. We’re good at solving the problem of us! But you don’t have to problem solve your way through a reckoning. Instead, we’re after the radical truth of what’s really going on.
Our brains want to look at the problem, figure out how to fix it, and then wrap it up in a bow before moving on to the next thing.
But we have to keep asking ourselves: what is true here? How has the situation served you well up until now? It might be incredibly uncomfortable to look yourself in the mirror and ask those questions.
It was uncomfortable for me when I quit drinking. I had to ask myself how drinking had served me. And the truth was, alcohol made a lot of things in my life convenient.
But it didn’t make them true. It didn’t make them in integrity. It didn’t make them exist in a way that felt like freedom, or ease, or connection, or creativity, or delight, or radical self-belief.
I like to think of it like this: if we get all of our calories from the food we can buy at a convenience store, we’ll be fed, not nourished. It’s not a sustainable way to eat. And the same goes for our life decisions—we have to consider if our soul is nourished.
When I’m just feeding my soul empty calories, nothing works.
I’ve talked a lot about changes that I’m making behind the scenes here in my business. Last year, I had so many moments where I was working and also feeling unhappy. I didn’t like what I was doing. It wasn’t what I wanted.
Every single time I had those thoughts, I would talk myself out of the reckoning. I would tell myself, “You’re not allowed to feel that right now. You can’t. There’s too much riding on it, and you have to keep going.” And finally, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I had my reckoning. I had to look into all of the corners that I didn’t want to look in.
But I will tell you this. When I look back through my morning pages from that time, every single day was me in the reckoning, even if I didn’t acknowledge it.
So is there a reckoning that you are avoiding? And could you run into that deep dark corner with your arms open wide?
I think it gets easier and easier to do that the more practice we get. But if that doesn’t feel natural, there’s no shame. None at all. This is hard.
You might not be able to embrace the reckoning right now, and that’s okay. Maybe you can just acknowledge it. Put one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly, and just breathe. Let yourself know the truth for a breath or two. And start avoiding it just a little bit less.
Remember, the thing that feels like a reckoning often becomes a homecoming if you’re willing to be with the dirty parts that don’t feel pretty and perfect and beautiful.
If you are at a place where you’re grappling with this, you’re not alone. You’re doing great. Just keep going. I love you, I’m proud of you, and I want you to know that you are so much more capable than you know.
[01:27] What’s Not Working is an Opportunity
[04:05] External vs. Internal Changes
[08:35] Welcoming the Reckoning
[10:23] You Don’t Have to Problem-Solve Your Way Through This
[15:27] Running Into My Own Reckoning With Open Arms
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