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What if this were easy?


Canadian career counselling and coaching


It’s a question I ask myself almost every day, first thing. I’m naturally drawn to keeping things simple in lots of ways. Not in a “minimalisty” way by any stretch but I tend to cook and dress simply, and I keep routines that feel easy. I purchase things with less features, not more. I know this isn’t sexy. I have a habit of cleaning bathrooms on Mondays, unloading the dishwasher while the coffee’s brewing most mornings, and watering (and talking ha ha) to my plants on Fridays. I like to meet with each of my clients on the same day and at the same day each week and I tuck my kids into bed every night even though they’re old enough to not need me to anymore. I walk my dog at around the same times each day, and follow gentle nutrition and movement practices most days in a few consistent ways. I also don’t think twice about crawling into bed with a good book any time I feel like it. I have complete permission from myself to sleep in when I want and nap when I want. I don’t have to “earn” these things. I like my reasons for letting myself have and want this freedom in my life. I don’t apologize to my family for giving myself rest. I don’t set myself on fire to keep them warm. I don’t expect them to do that either. These are small things I decided on purpose and ahead of time to minimize the number of decisions I’ll have to make in the moment during the course of an average day or week. I know myself and the ways in which I create my own suffering. I know these were learned and that it'll take time to unlearn them. Just like I know I’ll get stuck in the cereal aisle for longer than I care to admit if I haven’t chosen what I want beforehand, I don’t pretend to be surprised by my own nonsense anymore. I know myself enough to know the things I’ll have drama about in my own tricky little head. It’s not about what’s better or worse but about finding my ways. I try to find all the ways and make all the decisions I can—ahead of time that make my life feel a little easier. That 5 word little sentence “What if this were easy?” is a question that I know can get me moving forward with all kinds of things my brain wants to tell me I’m confused about. I’ve come to learn that almost anything I want to do, or anything I’m struggling with, is greatly helped by a quick evaluation and then simplification and often permission (from myself). So that’s what I’m doing right now. In my business, in my day-to-day life planning—I’m orienting myself toward ease. This is what has worked for me. When something in my life feels “hard”. Especially if I’m noticing a tendency to beat myself up about it, or avoid it, or think “I’m failing” at the thing. Rather than continue to stew in my own unhelpful thoughts, I remind myself to look at it through my lens of curious compassion. I try to approach it factually, the way I might a science experiment. I look at the thing and I ask myself these 3 questions: 1. What about it IS working? 2. What’s not working? 3. How would I approach this thing if it were easy? How can I make it so? Usually the answers to things don’t require a PhD in Astrophysics to come up with. What it usually comes down to is the courage to do something in a way that might be a little less sexy or a little less connected to the belief that the way to get ahead is to hustle, grind, or be in a constant state of busyness and productivity. Remember, we sway that way by design. This is something to be unlearned—but we can. We can learn to push back on the belief that some ways of spending our time are virtuous, while others are slothful and lazy. We can learn to stop deferring to unqualified strangers when it comes to what we should eat or not eat, how much we should sleep or not sleep, and that basically our worth is tied up in what we do or don’t do. Nonsense. We can get into the habit of letting our self have what we need and want. You can tell that low hum of disapproval in the background to shut up any time you want. The only permission you need to do anything is your own. Give it to yourself in the moment. The next time you feel that low level anxiety creeping in while you’re finally enjoying a moment of peace, remind yourself that you’re allowed to give yourself that. You don’t need a good reason or any reason other than you want it and it feels good in the moment. Start doing that more and more and see how amazing it feels. Simple. Easy. I promise, giving yourself this freedom will not turn your life into a meaningless blur of avoiding all the hard things while wearing only a messy bun and lazy pants. Giving yourself permission to do things on purpose might just be the balance we all need. Speaking of which, there’s a nap and a peanut butter fold-over calling my name. Gotta run! P.S..: Of course, everything I write about and share can be easily related to career and work. It’s what I do with people, help them undue some of the stuff in their head that's keeping them stuck. So, if you’ve evaluated your career situation, tried approaching things differently but are feeling ready to try something new, maybe it’s time to get coached! You can figure out what you want and need and also how to have it. Have a chat with me and I’ll help you see your situation in an entirely new light.


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