Things will be better WHEN I leave my job
Everything will be ok WHEN things settle down
I will get organised WHEN I have more time
Do you find yourself saying similar things to this?
Do you often follow action statement with a ‘WHEN’ statement?
If you do then I am sorry to tell you that you are kidding yourself. You are under the spell of WHEN
‘WHEN’ is a mystical time that is regularly talked about and very rarely seen. It is almost as elusive as the lock ness monster.
If you are currently a believer in the idea of when then please read on and free yourself from this delusion.
If you are waiting for your particular WHEN, then please STOP now and repeat after me ‘it will never happen’
Does that scare you? I bet it does, but fear not you can stop chasing when and you will find the benefits to be many
I can tell you all of this with some authority because for the last 6 years or so I have lived completely under the spell of ‘WHEN’ and it was only when I broke the spell that things actually started to get done.
Are you under the spell of WHEN?
The last 6 years have been challenging for me in many ways, health, family health, disharmony between extended family members, dealing with grief etc. The same sorts of things that many of us face on a day to day basis.
A few of my own personal favourite ‘WHEN’s’ have been:-
WHEN things settle down…
WHEN I feel better…
WHEN I get straight financially…
I can categorically state that statements like ‘when things settle down’ are within some of the MOST disempowering things that we can tell ourselves. Because really things are never truly likely to settle down to the point when we feel we have all the time, energy, money etc. to do everything that we want. This is especially true if you are living in a ‘WHEN’ state of mind.
At the beginning of this year I started to break free from the spell of when I realised that it was never going to happen and I got really scared and panicky. But that was completely OK because the fear was part of breaking the spell.
Breaking the spell
How did I break free?
Well first I had to take a little time to listen to myself and to pick out the number of times I used ‘WHEN’ in a statement Whoah, I used it A LOT. This meant I was living I was living a half-life and holding myself back from so many wonderful things.
As I started to identify the things that I was effectively putting off to some magical time in the future, I then started to journal on them and when I did this I found that they tended to fall into one of three categories:
- Things that I just didn’t want to do – but I either felt like I should or somebody else wanted me to do them.
- Things I was scared to do
- Things that seemed so big that I didn’t know where to start or genuinely didn’t think that I would have time to do them
So this gave me fantastic clarity around how WHEN was keeping me under its spell, But I still needed to figure out what to do next sooo..
- If my when fell into category 1 that I just didn’t want to do it, then I explored the consequences (both real and imagined) if the consequences were something I could live with, and usually they were because let’s face it I had already been putting it off for some period of time, but by staying under the spell of when I was kidding myself I would do it someday. So Anyway if I could live with the consequences then I just didn’t do it and I didn’t think about it anymore. If I couldn’t live with then consequences then I just did it. Straight away!
- If I was just scared of doing it, I tried to figure out why, and again my journal came out here. I thought about. What were the risks? Physical, financial, emotional? Where the risks real or imagined. Often times my biggest fear was not being good enough. I weighed up the consequences of the worst case scenarios and honestly this usually resulted in my just doing it and again if I wasn’t going to do it, I put it to bed and decided I wasn’t doing it and tried not to think about it anymore, at least for now.
- If the job seemed too big then I had to be a bit more savvy when thinking about this one, because often times things in this category were just masquerading and really belonged in one of the first two categories and had to be dealt with accordingly. For those few that genuinely did belong in this category it was a simple as breaking it down into small chunks and …. yes you guessed it…. Just doing it.
Reaping the benefits
So you may be confused at this point – if I was already feeling time/cash/health depleted and then I started ‘just doing it’ surely this would have made me feel more tired stressed etc. Bizarrely the answer is no and this is why:
I spent a week just listening to myself and identifying my ‘WHEN’s’ this temporarily released me from the pressure of doing anything about any of them.
I then spent a few days journaling/braindumping and identifying the three categories and where all of my ‘when’s’ fitted. Emptying your head is extremely empowering and freeing.
Letting go of the things I didn’t want to do – phew – this not only freed up a whole load of mental energy which was no longer wasted trying to figure out ways that I could do or could avoid doing it ha ha. It also released a lot of tension in me physically as I was no longer carrying the weight of not getting it done.
Identifying my fears and pushing through them was soooo energising and empowering. Please don’t be under the illusion that I have become fearless, as that would be untrue. The fear is very much there, I just get things done anyway and that makes me feel fierce and powerful like lioness – very energising.
The act of just getting things done is powerful in itself. Seeing myself making progress no matter how slowly gives me such a sense of energy and in fact feelings of joy and relief.
So yes, all in all I am doing more and 12 months ago doing more was one of the things that scared me and felt impossible, and of course I still have some days where I don’t feel like Just Doing IT but my own experience tells me that if I do then the pay offs are so worth it.
Due to my own health issues exhaustion is one of my biggest fears but this strategy really works for me and doing more has not led to me having less energy but in fact I have more.
I encourage you to give this a try, if it is going to work you need to be completely honest with yourself and leave guilt behind. Not wanting to do something doesn’t make you a bad person.
Tailor the method to suit yourself – nothing in life is one size fits all and journaling may not be your thing but mind mapping might be, Make it work for you but most importantly don’t let this turn into another thing that you will do when…
Share this with your friends and colleagues the more people who break free from the myth of when the more it will lose its power.