Are You Climbing the Wrong Ladder of Success?
“Start doing what you want to do and everything else will be revealed to you.” -Paulo Coelho
As it often goes, I had an entirely different blog post set for today, until I got off the phone with a coaching client.
The topic of our session seemed pertinent to share, especially with the energy surrounding the new year.
How many of us have found ourselves at a place in our lives where it feels like we're doing everything right? Showing up, doing the work, making goals, crossing them off our list, taking action, doing the inner work - and, yet, something just won't give. We can't seem to make progress.
When we look at our peers around us, in the same circles, they seem to have less talent and are somehow further ahead. While we toil through blood, sweat, and tears they seem to effortlessly dance their way into more and more success.
Of course, there are always many, with a capital M, reasons that this might be the case. Fear of failure, fear of success, blocks, limiting beliefs, self-sabotaging behaviors, needing to take another angle, or give it a little more time...the list goes on.
Sometimes, though, we're just climbing the wrong ladder. Sometimes our heart isn't in it. Sometimes we just don't like what we're doing and are pushing ourselves up the wrong ladder because that's what we think we should do.
Man, the shoulds will really get in your way and get you down.
Somewhere along the way on this journey we call life, many of us get it in our heads that we should be doing a certain thing. Or we meet someone and think if we conform to what they want and do, we'll be accepted and loved.
We convince ourselves it's what we want. We morph and meld until we've squeezed ourselves into the ill-fitting mold we've convinced ourselves we should fit into.
Then, we try to climb up the ladder of our shoulds.
Climbing up a ladder in life already has its own set of challenges; climbing up a ladder we don't even really want to be on, stuck in an ill-fitting mold, is damn near impossible.
The Ladder of Shoulds is oh-so slippery and steep.
Yet, so many of us do this to ourselves.
We convince ourselves that what we really want isn't right. That it's crazy. That it's too "out there" and in other cases that it's too "normal." (When the hell did "normal" become a bad word?) That we won't fit it or be accepted if we go after what we want and live the way we want.
Somewhere along the way, we stop listening to ourselves and start listening to the voices of others.
That's when we get stuck, a few rungs up on the wrong ladder.
Try as we might, we can't seem to climb any higher.
We can chant mantras, take action, ask for help, follow someone else's recipe all we want and, yet, we just can't seem to make it click because deep down we just don't want to.
That's the truth that we cling on to, scared to set ourselves free.
It takes courage to own what we want. It takes courage to let go of the sunken costs. It takes courage to reject the shoulds we've been swallowing.
But, when what we want doesn't align with what we're doing, you can be damn sure we'll find a way to sabotage it. Our subconscious will do its best to throw a wrench into the mix and get us away from the shoulds and closer to what we actually want.
Our subconscious is sneaky that way. We can consciously pump our fists and march to the beat of the shoulds, but if deep down we don't really want to, our subconscious will see to it that something goes awry.
So today, as we begin to close out the first week of this new year with the excitement of what's possible, resolutions, new goals, and intentions I want to encourage you to Do You.
Do You and own it. The more you lean into and trust what you want, the more things will unfold in your favor.
This is not a permission slip to give up on what you want because it's hard, mind you. But permission to chuck the shoulds you don't like or want.
If doing you means a steady 9-5, go crush it and love on the stability. If doing you means building your own empire, have at it, and embrace the freedom. And, if doing you means hula hooping and finger painting, bust out the hoops and paint.
I'd love for you to make this the year that you drop the shoulds, get off the ladder you don't want to be on, and find a ladder you like. You might still have to climb, but the climbing and view from the top will be so much better.