You’ve likely heard me talking about Grown-Up Gap Year, and I know that wondering about an experience like this can kick up some…shall we call them thoughts?
When you’re a Go-Go-Go SuperDoer (and when so many accolades and opportunities come with it), saying yes to a radical shift in how you approach everything—for an entire year!—can feel wobbly at best and completely terrifying at worst.
The truth though? Your fears show you care. That while you’re hungry for your days to feel different, you are also proud of what you’ve done in your life.
To which I say: Great!! And also: GUGY isn’t about you turning off your ambition forever. It’s not even about eschewing goals.
Instead, it’s about engaging in a paradigm shift of how to show up to your entire life—and set goals that don’t require you to sacrifice your humanity—without being forced into the can’t-ever-get-off hamster wheel of doing-doing-doing forever.
This is also where I say that if you’ve ever wondered, “Is my life really just wake up ~ shower ~ work ~ eat ~ work some more ~ watch tv ~ go to bed forever? Is this all there is?” you’re in the exact right place!
Sooooo, let’s talk about those fears!!
quick note before we dive in: As a go-getting hand raiser and yes sayer (oh, I see you!), you’ve got a good handle on most of your fears, especially the ones that say: “What if this doesn’t work? What if I fail? What if they don’t like it?”
Which is great! Yay you!
…aaaaaand, anytime we shift into something unfamiliar, new fears and doubts pop up, often disguised as logical questions…
The Choose Your Own Pep Talk Adventure: Brand New Fears & Doubts Edition
(take what works, leave the rest)
Really? Really? Really?!?!
Mary Oliver didn’t ask us what we are going to do with our one wild and precious life just to have us choose nightly Netflix marathons and knowing intimate details about other people’s lives while feeling disconnected from our own.
You know that’s true.
And also? Maybe you’re tired. Or just tired of having to work so dang hard. Which is exactly why Grown-Up Gap Year is set up the way it is: to be the deliberate commitment and structure that you need to get yourself into a new pattern of Living, Thriving, and Feeling Deeply Connected to Your Days. Not just existing.
See also: systems of oppression don’t want us to trust ourselves or have our own personal set of rules for what A Fulfilled Life looks like. It is not your fault that you feel this way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t shift it.
Ohhhh, you’ve forgotten how innately amazing you are. (Or maybe you’ve never known!)
Maybe, starting at a really young age, you were mostly rewarded for being so good at things. Or that’s what you had to do to stay safe. To feel certain about your world.
And again, having this question pop up isn’t your fault. But also—you’re allowed to find other drivers for your life.
Because what I know about everyone (really: E V E R Y O N E!) who is drawn to my work is that they’re driven by love. By integrity. By the radical idea that amazing things are possible in this world (even when the world seems to send the opposite message).
And also? They’re highly creative and highly ambitious. And can easily forget that life is supposed to feel good and not just look good…which is where I come in.
So, please absorb: YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN YOUR AMBITION.
YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN WHAT YOU DO.
YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THE CHECKMARKS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST.
(Also: by shifting how you show up to your days—and thus your life—you’re actually able to reach farther and have even greater impact on your world if that’s what you’re after. Different energy changes everything.)
That voice that tells you these things aren’t enough? Know that it will never be pleased.
I’m sure you’ve tried. I’m sure you’ve given in, powered through, kept working harder…only to then hear it say: why can’t you relax? Why do you push yourself so hard? Why can’t you let things be easy?
Trying to placate your inner critic is a losing battle.
So let’s find another game to play, shall we?
Not at all!! Telling you to stop having ideas would be like demanding the sun not shine: an impossibility.
Instead, let me ask you this: how quickly do your big, exciting ideas turn into one more thing on the list?
How many things do you do daily out of obligation, even those that are supposed to be good for you, like meditation, journaling, or exercise?
And what could open up for you if you learned how to release that sense of obligation? If you showed up in a way where your ideas fueled you rather than depleted you? What would be possible then?
I wish the answer could be yes to this. I really do. Because then we’d all be set for life.
But what we both know is that as soon as you cross things off your list, more pop up in their place—forever and ever amen (if we don’t deliberately stop it).
Also? Life is tragically short for some people. And there are no guarantees that tomorrow will be here for any of us. Which means: let’s live while we can.
Honestly, this is true for so many of us and is exactly why I created Grown-Up Gap Year.
We’ve been taught that if we just work hard enough at handling all the things, we’ll finally get to the holy grail place of…what?…enoughness? Ease? Rest? Expansion? Freedom? Radiant Technicolor?
Yeeeeeeeeah. I hate to say it (actually, I don’t!): we’ve all been fed so many lies. Some by people who directly profit from us running ourselves ragged and some whose motives are good but misguided.
What Grown-Up Gap Year offers is a chance to spend a year paying full attention to your longings, giving them space to grow, and letting yourself dig deeper into what you want until you find the nuance and the richness.
Which, hopefully, feels so much more expansive than banging your head against the wall until you find the One Right Answer That Will Please Everyone before you start.
This is exactly why Grown-Up Gap Year is a year.
This is exactly why I’ve created so many opportunities for you to get support.
This is exactly why I mail you a kit that you can hold in your hand, with cheat sheets that will serve as visual reminders of why you signed up in the first place.
All-or-nothing thinking tells us that if we can’t stay 100% consistent on something, we should give up altogether, and for so many of us, that’s the habit we’ve developed.
My goal with Grown-Up Gap Year is that you learn to return to yourself and what you really want.
Even when work gets busy.
Even when days get full.
Even when the holidays threaten to overtake everything.
Even then, I want you to have a soft place to land, a way to come back to yourself and your life with support, structure, accountability, and just the right amount of feet-to-fire holding for an entire year.
(And no, it’s not selfish to want this for yourself.)
Not on my watch.
No no no.
Remember how you will never placate your inner critic? That voice is lying to you when it says that shifting your focus to go inward will result in the sky that you’re so skilled at holding up falling to pieces around you.
You will not! My whole goal in all of my work is that you find YOUR best approach to YOUR life. With a whole lot of grace baked in so you can shift what you do when things inevitably shift around you.
And this is why I call the experience a grown-up gap year.
You’re an adult with real-life responsibilities. And I don’t think you should have to walk away from those or operate in a vacuum to find delight, expansion, and freedom.
Which means you can still go to work, show up to your family, and do adult things. (Although I promise to strongly encourage you to use up some of that PTO you’ve been accruing!)
I’m sure things are fine. But how is ‘fine’ serving you?
In my experience, ‘fine’ and ‘not that bad’ means you’re being fueled by your striving while wondering when—and how—you can stop.
They’re putting others’ needs before your own. Always.
They’re feeling caught in a story someone else is writing.
And they’re not fine at all.
So it’s time to ask yourself a different question…
Can you imagine another 2, 5, or 10 more years of this version of ‘not so bad’? And if not, what if these words right here are the sign you need to start your shift?
I want your life to feel stellar. I want it to feel incredible and delicious. I want you to wake up every day knowing, first and foremost, that your life is YOURS. Not your work’s. Not your family’s. Not your committee’s.
Yours, so that you’re showing up deliberately. To all the things. Not when the perfect set of circumstances arise, but right now. As you are. In the gorgeous mess that is this life you’ve been given.
Uh huh. Yes. That.
The life you want isn’t found at the bottom of your to-do list.
It’s found by learning to root yourself in radical self-belief: a deep, all-encompassing faith, independent of outcomes, in your ideas, your intuition, and your ability to figure things out as you go.
Imagine your life when you’ve learned to embody radical self-belief and use your creativity as a conduit: You’ll know what LIGHTS YOU UP, have the confidence to go after it, resilience to deal with wobbles, the ability to tweak, change and start again, and the willingness to keep finding and edge that’s different from the one that insists you never stop.
Let me ask you a variation of the same question: what if you learn how not to need your ambition to be the thing that propels you forward in your life?
What if you’re, instead, able to lead from a place of love, integrity, freedom, expansion, and—yes—delight?
What if you’re able to do those great things life has in store for you from there? So that you still feel good as you move through your days rather than waiting for The Thing to be complete, loved, and accepted for the fulfillment to come?
And also? You’re not alone in any or all of the wondering.
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