‘Shoulds’ have come to my attention twice today. One recipient of the Life Lessons wrote to say ‘So much of what you say makes perfect sense. Thanks for the reminder of the should/ought to’. Then I had a session with a client and we were discussing why she was procrastinating – doing everything except the one thing she actually wanted to do! We quickly identified it was because she had labeled all the things she had to do as ‘shoulds’ and her inner rebel was kicking in, even though she really wanted to create these things – perverse huh?!
In all things we need to take ourselves out of the ‘should’ and into the flow. And I say ‘take ourselves’ purposefully because this is not about the thing we are saying we should do – but rather it is about us being energetically aligned to what we want to create. Whenever we procrastinate it is never about the thing we are not doing. It is always about where we are in relation to that thing.
I have learnt – often the hard way – that when I make myself do something, something I think I should be doing, it hardly ever goes well. The hours I have spent writing speculative emails or creating offers that others have told me I should do only to have zero response are too many to think of.
But, the lessons learnt have been invaluable.
Just this week I used those learnings when I needed to get a piece of work done for a twitter chat I do twice a year. I had been drawing a blank as to what the subject might be and I had this nagging voice in my head telling me ‘I should get it done’. Through experience I ignored that voice until this morning when I had a spare 20 minutes and it suddenly felt like the right time to look at it. I quickly landed on the subject of Intuition (ironic huh!) and I had written the piece in 15 minutes. No heartache, no pushing the water up the hill, no ‘trying’.
I simply moved out of the ‘should’ and into the flow
The task was the same but how I approached it was different. So how do we do that? How can we take ourselves out of the ‘should’ and put ourselves into the flow?
Awareness is the key – starting to become aware of when we are pushing the water up the hill. There is a specific physical sensation that happens in our bodies that tells us when we are in a ‘should’. For me it feels heavy, resistant and tiring. Take a moment now and look back in your recent past and identify your ‘should’ sensation. That’s the one to look out for.
Also any time you find yourself procrastinating more often than not you are in the ‘should’ and not in energetic alignment with what you want to create – again it will probably feel heavy and draining.
In both situations it is not about buckling down and pushing through.
Rather it is about checking with yourself and noticing what is out of kilter. We have all become slaves to our agendas and deadlines and as necessary as they may be they are not our rulers – they need to become our servants.
We all need to plan, we all need to know when certain things have to be done by – that is how we interact with the world and play our part. But we need to shift from time management to energy management. In my example above if I had made myself do that piece of work when it felt like hard work, a ‘should’, it would have probably taken me 60 instead of 15 minutes. Not only that, it would not have flowed and would have not have been as good it turned out to be.
By tuning in with myself and feeling the inspiration in the moment I managed to save 45 minutes and do quality work. A much better result all round.
So if you are sitting there with a ‘should’, stop and ask yourself these questions:
What do I think I should be doing?
Why do I think it should be done?
Do I actually want that outcome? (not someone else’s desire or something you’ve been told is the right thing to do)
Why is it not feeling the right thing to do right now?
How can I feel good about doing this?
You may find a variety of answers come up from these questions. The insight you are looking for is why you are not in alignment with the task right now. That does not mean that you won’t be in alignment at a later time – it simply means not right now.
To get into alignment you need to answer another question:
How can I get into alignment with this?
Part of operating in the world this way is about cultivating self-trust. You need to try out this way of being so that you can begin to trust it and yourself in the process. This can be tricky particularly if you have a deadline but I have learnt two things practicing this.
Firstly I rarely miss a deadline – once I’ve noticed I am not in the flow with the ‘should’ I work to get back into the flow with it. I will tune in and see if it feels the right time to do it. I will look for the positives in the task. I will find what outcome it will give me that I really want. I will look for the good feeling that I am wanting to create. I will connect to my personal power through my breath and flow from that space. In other words it does get done – and at the right time.
And secondly even if I do all this work and it still doesn’t feel good I will then question whether this actually serves me and my purpose. Sometimes we procrastinate because what we are trying to make ourselves do is actually not in line with our bigger picture. More often than not these ‘shoulds’ are the ones that come from outside ourselves. In this case we need to listen to our heart and in some cases simply let it go.
It can be challenging in our busy world, where we feel we have to fit so much in, to stop and listen to that wise part of ourselves that says, “not right now”. We are also used to ticking things off the list in a logical order that it can feel hard to make choices in light of what feels right. However my experience is that when life flows, when we make the effort to be in alignment with what we want to create, everything is so much easier – and so much more fun!
P.S. If you feel you’d like life to flow more then let’s have a chat about how I can support you in making that happen. Just drop me a line and we can set up a time for a Discovery Session to explore what you are wanting to create and how I can help you create it.
Photo credit https://unsplash.com/kazuend
What is your life showing you right now? Maybe this has resonated with you, or maybe you are wondering about things that are happening right now in your life. If you feel you’d like some help deciphering your life’s journey then let’s have a chat. You can email me or give me a call on +44 (0)751 891 4604