Most of us would agree that the world is changing faster than it’s ever changed before.
We’re also affected by the personal transitions in our lives. The average person has six or seven careers. The divorce rate is high. Friendships change and people pass on. We all know about the aging process. At times we’re affected by many unforeseen forces that knock us for a loop. It takes us a while to recover. We have those moments when we feel overwhelmed.
When we catch our breath, we ask ourselves if we are living the life we really want. Very few of us can honestly say yes to that question. Yet we’re reluctant to make the changes we know we need to make. Most, if not all of us, settle for what we have. We make up a story with many variations that explains why our life is the way it is. You might recognize some of them. I am sure you have your own unique version.
If it were meant to happen, it would have by now.
I’m too old.
I’m too young.
I’m not good enough.
I don’t know the right people.”
These beliefs are the filters through which we see the world. If we want to see life differently we need to change the filter on our lens. All of these stories limit what we think is possible. Rather than making the changes we need to make we play it safe and stay in our comfort zones. For many that is the dead-end career or the toxic relationship. For some it might even be both. Until it becomes too painful to continue on this familiar path, we’re reluctant to change the story about our life.
That voice is pervasive. We hear it all the time. We can’t get away from it. It affects everything we do and how we think of ourselves. We are so hard on ourselves and would never talk to a friend the way that we talk to ourselves.
Years ago when I was still a trial lawyer I participated in a workshop with the Actors institute that reminded of this truth. There were 12 of us. Comedians, politicians, musicians and myself were asked near the end of the workshop to give a 10-minute presentation. We were asked to critique our own performance and that of the other participants. Our critique of our own performance was much harsher than the group’s critique of our performance.
A light bulb went on in my head when the instructor made a comment that I’ll never forget, ”If you had to hire yourself, you would never get a job.”