Is it just me, or do you also find that this whole human thing can be daunting at times?
Seriously, I am not one to camp out in the dark side, however I don’t live in the fantasy bubble of everything is just super duper fabulous ALL of the time.
In fact sometimes, as we face the inevitableness of everything thrown at us on this human journey, it’s damn difficult, right?
An hourglass, yes, that is exactly what some moments (ok, perhaps some months) of my human journey feel like.
One minute I am happily bouncing around in my bubble, everything clear, my world makes sense, I have goals & all that stuff in place. Then, almost as if in a single blinding moment, I find myself stumbling around in that awful middle, the “squeeze”, looking around in absolute panic, wondering how the hell I ended up here?
It’s not as if my whole world has fallen apart overnight. Often it’s one, or two aspects of my life that have been a little, or alot ignored & are suddenly wobbly, not quite as clear any longer & as I look around wild eyed, I feel the panic rise. You know that irrational feeling right? I certainly hope so, or I am absolutely in need of an intervention 😂.
You know that there is apparently something that looks like life on the other side of the “squeeze”, however what it may look like has faded at an irrational pace. All you can see is, well, nothing really.
Being in IT
I found myself in the “squeeze” for a few months. Specifically around career, my work future & oh my what the hell it may look like over the next few years. Off course down the rabbit hole I go straight into the “squeeze”. White & over 50 are not exactly sought after attributes in some countries these days, just saying 🙂.
So there I was, kinda ignoring the tightness I was feeling for a while, because just like you I had just far too much else to do. Definitely denial, that old friend we tend to hang out with at times, until the “squeeze” started robbing me of my joy & disturbing my sleep. Now that’s when it became clear that something had to be done swiftly, I need my sleep (ask those around me 😂).
I have to confess that being in the “squeeze” is not comfy. In fact it’s crappy & we should not pretend otherwise. I also know not to settle in there, because allowing myself to start believing that the “squeeze” is my new normal is where the real problem starts.
So POOF, in an instant, I found myself having to attend one of my own lectures 😂😂😂😂😂😂.
Has this ever happened to you?
You are the one filled with advice, a head full of knowledge & apparent wisdom, then in a flash you are in the “squeeze” scrambling as you remind yourself exactly how to practice all you so readily & enthusiastically preach.
This was certainly not my first stint in the “squeeze”, so I knew that what works for me is ensuring my future narrative, my story remains clear, full of colour & excitement. I had to review my very own future life story, the one that described, in detail, the future I want for myself.
You see it’s my narrative which helps to provide focus again, helping me source the energy & motivation I need to take action, rather than aimlessly floating around in the “squeeze”.
I don’t always have clarity on what exactly the right actions are, who does. What I do know though, is that moving towards something motivating, is always better than just hanging around waiting for something, or someone, to rescue me from the “squeeze”.
What do I mean by a clear narrative?
We all live in the stories we tell. We do not live in the facts of our lives, we live in the stories we tell about those facts. Be it our relationships stories, our work stories, our family stories etc. The biggest problem for most humans, is that they have absolute crystal clear clarity about the past & their current circumstances. They enthusiastically share their stories, in painstaking detail, with all who dare ask, yet very few are quite as clear & enthusiastic about their futures.
Thoughts & things
Humans (and you are one 🙂) have circ. 70,000 thoughts a day. Yes, it’s a lot of thoughts & sadly, 90% of these thoughts are the same as yesterday’s. Think about it, what new thoughts have you had today?
Now given that thoughts become things & your thoughts are largely the same as yesterday’s, it is a reasonable deduction that you will keep recreating what you already have in life. Same thoughts = same things, right.
Now there may be a large part of your life that you love & you are happy to recreate these aspects, keep going. On the other hand, if you are in the “squeeze”, there may some that you would prefer to play out differently in your future. If you want different things, you need different thoughts. Not just one or two thoughts now & then.
You need to be very clear & excited about your future, because when you are, this influences your thinking, your words (the story you tell about your future), this gives you the energy & motivation you require while in the “squeeze”, to take different actions. Actions which, if sustained overtime, deliver different outcomes.
How clear are you about your future?
Yes, I know that 100% clarity is not always simple & knowing what actions to take can be tricky. What you do need though is to consistently take actions that move you towards that imagined future. It is the what you want from life & why you want these things that is entirely in your control.
The how is something you are partly responsible for, however much of the how, is what the Universe around you plays a defining role in. This is where synchronicity & what we often call coincidence plays a role, because the Universe has many more incredible ways & means when it comes to the how than you can ever begin to imagine.
How often are we so fixated & stuck on the how that we entirely forget about the what & why. Completely losing sight of our narrative & with it our inspiration, our motivation. This fixation on the how can become paralyzing, keeping you trapped in the “squeeze” far longer than you need to be, sapping your energy & robbing you of your joy.
Your narrative is your map, it’s your guide, your north star. It’s what your look to when you have to make important decisions, when you feel lost, perhaps lacking direction & motivation. This is when your story, your motivating, exciting narrative compels you forward, towards your dream. Without it, getting trapped in the “squeeze” becomes a real risk & the longer you are stuck, the less likely you are to see the possibilities waiting for you just on the other side of the “squeeze”.
When you are travelling on holiday & you unexpectedly face a road closure, what do you do? Are you are quite easily able to navigate an alternative route because you are 100% clear on your travel destination? You know where you are heading, even if the route in getting there can be unpredictable, right? In fact you can already smell the ocean, feel the warm sand between your toes & you can taste that ice cold cocktail sliding down your throat 🙂. Imagine if you were not clear on where you were going? How would you re-navigate a route with no clarity on your destination?
Life is the same, without a clear narrative, when the “squeeze” comes, as it inevitably does, your narrative guides you safely to the other side. Without it, you may find yourself stuck in the “squeeze” far longer than required & when life eventually spits you out on the other side, you find yourself no less perplexed than you were while in the “squeeze”.
My in the “squeeze”action plan
My personal re-route when I find myself in “squeeze”:
When I honestly consider these self imposed questions, I inevitably find that my story has become a little blurry. It seldom requires an entire re-write (thank goodness), often it’s 1 or 2 aspects of my future that require attention, refinement or just some love. I also often find that in fact, I am not doing all I can, with what I have, from where I am AND I have become overly focussed & trapped on all that could possibly go wrong, rather than filling my mind with all that could possibly go right.
Small example: you want to get fit, lose weight (cause disease is possibly lurking in your future if you don’t).
Your reality: You do NOT have time, or perhaps money to join a gym & buy a whole bunch of super costly vitamins or goats milk. So what to do? Ask yourself this question: what can I do with what I have from where I am?
You CAN, cut out sugar or bread, maybe be a dare devil & do both. You CAN walk in your neighbourhood (or not), however you CAN find 1000’s of exercise programs for FREE online (we all have access so no stories 😂). So you can do something, with what you have, from where you are, true?
Why do we limit ourselves?
It’s habit, we are so wired to look for what’s wrong that we often totally miss noticing all that’s right. We are so ready to say I AM NOT or I CAN’T that I AM, or I CAN are not words which come easily anymore.
In the end, to rewire requires a load of honesty & a gentle (ok sometimes not so gentle) shove in the right direction. Rewiring my narrative, being clear on what I CAN do (even if it’s baby steps) & taking action always leaves me feeling a whole lot more focused & energised even though I may still be in the “squeeze”.
The “squeeze” is part of life, being in the “squeeze” is not what defines us, it’s what we do with our time there that defines what the other side looks like once we get there.
True story 🙂.
If I asked you to tell me a story about your future what would you say?