Stick to Your Path

You’re jealous because your coworker just got a new red sports car and your car is a beat up 90’s Honda. You’re upset because you weren’t selected for the super duper high profile project but your arch nemesis from work did. Your ex is posting cozy pictures of her new boyfriend all over social media and you’re home alone on a House of Cards binge. You feel inadequate. You feel sorry for yourself. You are on the comparison Highway to Inadequacy. You need to get off that highway and focus on your own path.

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I’m a speaker. An executive coach. A mother. A dog owner. An author. I don’t get paid what Tony Robbins gets paid to speak. I don’t have the same client list as Marshall Goldsmith. My kids (are awesome) but they aren’t on the cover of Time magazine or on a Wheaties box (yet). My dog hasn’t won any Westminster Dog Shows. I haven’t written a single book and, therefore, never sold one (although there is a free copy here). The point is, how high is that bar for you? If I compared myself to everyone around me on all aspects of my life, I would be sorely disappointed. Stick to your path and quit looking at everyone else’s.

Here are some ways to do that:

  • Acceptance.  Be Ok with the path that is in front of you. I was stuck in a should cycle for the last nine months on decisions regarding the rebuilding of my house post-Hurricane Matthew. I should have purchased all new cabinets. I should have bought new kitchen furniture. I should have gone with a different electrician. This is wearing you down. All that “should-ing“. Accept what decisions you have made and move forward. All that should-ing is making you dwell on the past and draining you.

 

  • Different.  I love this quote from Internal Acceptance Movement: “Everyone has their own unique journey. A path that’s right for someone else won’t necessarily be a path that’s right for you. Your path isn’t right or wrong, or good or bad. It’s just different.” What I try to do, say when I see that new red sports car in the company parking lot, is tell myself: “Wow. Suzy really likes cars. Good for her.” Everyone values different things, be it material possessions or experiences. I love to travel and maybe my son doesn’t. We are on different paths and that’s OK.

 

  • Pace.  This is my biggest problem. I am always in forward motion. I want to accomplish the next thing. I want it done yesterday. This makes me incredibly impatient with other folks who operate on a different pace (i.e.: slower). It doesn’t bring out my best side. As I tap my fingers, waiting for a response to ten rapid fire texts to my assistant. Take a breath and connect with your inner Buddha. Acknowledge your pace and quit trying to have people get on board with your pace. That’s how people start to stumble. Stay in lane and keep your own pace and don’t worry about anyone else’s.

 

  • Suspend.  I know you’ve done this. You see that your coworker has put on weight or is wearing something that, from your vantage point, is unattractive. You pass judgment in your head. “Wow. Janet needs to drop a few pounds” or “What made her think that looked good on her?” It’s difficult to suspend judgment but you can label it. Say instead, “So Cathy, this is what judgment looks like.” Step away from the comparing paths and label it.

 

  • Present.  Be in this moment right now. And now. And now. Don’t try and recreate history. No, your ex is not coming back and that’s OK right now. Trust that the path you are on is just fine and it’s taking you in the right direction. Don’t “catastrophicize” the future. Sometimes paths cross and it’s lovely, and there are wonderful memories made, and then they uncross. There will be new paths to cross in the future. As you walk your path, be present.

 

You may not end up where you intended to go but you will be off of the Highway of Inadequacy. Trust you are exactly where you need to be. Trust that you are enough. You are enough.

6 Ways to Deal With the Gifts We Don’t Want

We all get gifts we don’t want from time to time. Unless you have a gift registry or Wish List for every birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas and dinner party; you will end up with that clunker gift. The one you have no idea what to do with or why the gifter gave it to you. I just spent my entire Sunday, helping my daughter sift through the treasures and trash of her life, as she moves into her first “real” apartment in her “real” adult life. We had some 15 boxes and bags that contained the contents of her childhood, adolescence and college life. There were figurines her grandmother gave her, several stuffed owls with caps from her graduation, the portrait an old friend painted of her and earrings that she was sure she would never wear. Many gifts. Many laden thick with dust. She diligently sorted through everything and made the tough decisions.6a00d8341c565553ef017ee717d079970d

The unwanted, indiscriminate, poorly chosen gifts were a subject of an email conversation with my “Brain Trust” (my trusted friends who edit and tinker with the blog). What do you do when someone gives you a White Zinfandel, when you are clearly a red wine lover? Isn’t it obvious? Or the house guest brings a fake wooden bowl to a farm to table type foodie. It’s kind of like bringing a Rap CD to a Buddhist monk. What were they thinking? It’s easy to get caught up with the indignant judgment of “Is this what they think of me?” Getting WAY too wrapped up into what the gift givers intent was. It’s all a part of acceptance. Taking the good with the bad. The poorly chosen with the “spot on – this makes me so happy – you really, really know me” gift.

So what do you do when you receive the battery operated singing fish, the Chia pet or the cuckoo clock that chimes every 15 minutes? Here are some ideas.

1. “Your gift is your presence.” This was on a recent invitation to a 50th wedding anniversary I attended. When I saw that on the invite, it was SUCH a relief. What do you buy a couple who have been together for 50 years? A punch bowl? A vase? Nope. A card. That’s what. So, if you really don’t want a gift, say it. Or ask for a donation to your favorite charity. Obviously, this is easier when the occasion dictates a formal invitation but if you really don’t want anything, say it. Let their presence be their gift.

2. Register. If you are having a baby or getting married, please set up a gift registry. This is so much easier for the rest of us who have never been to your home and have no idea if you have a sister who just had a little boy and will have tons of hand me downs. And if you register, please make sure there are gifts at lower price points so that going to your baby shower or wedding doesn’t cause us to take out a second mortgage.

3. Ask. If you are the guest-to-be at the house warming party, ask the hostess if you can bring anything. I’m lucky. My husband is a home brewer, so most folks I visit end up with some homemade brew (if they enjoy beer, which I ask in advance). You never know what they might say if you ask. Folding chairs. Munchies. Extension cord. Imagine the host’s relief when you lend him the 8 foot ladder he needs to hang the party lights instead of yet another “chip and dip” bowl. Ask.

4. Gratitude. Whatever someone brings you, be sure to show your gratitude and appreciation. Halloween dish towels. Thank you! Box of Gallo Chablis. Wonderful! 3 pound bag of Skittles. You shouldn’t have! Do not explain that you are a …diabetic, an alcoholic or that you don’t celebrate Halloween. Take the gift with gratitude and acceptance. The gifter is someone who went out of their way to select a gift for you. Accept it with gratitude and move on.

5. Suspend judgment. It’s easy to get indignant and start thinking about why someone would purchase for you a set of Easter mugs or insulated cups with your rival school’s mascot on them. Any gift is more a reflection of the person giving it to you rather than the receiver. After all, unless you registered for it, this is all about the person giving it. Maybe there is a story to tell. Their brother in-law makes handmade Easter mugs. Their daughter just started going to Syracuse. Or not. Worrying about it will only eat you up. It’s really about them and not about you. Suspend judgment.

6. Let go. When we went through my daughter’s life history in 15 boxes and bags on Sunday, it took a lot of letting go. There were pictures that hung in my daughter’s bedroom for some ten years, that she hated (who knew?). There were gifts from South America that she cherished. There were several things that held a little guilt if we took them to Goodwill. What if Aunt so and so or Grandma or my friend Suzy find out that I gave the gift away. They won’t. There is someone who can use that clock radio, or teddy bear, or bracelet. The last thing you want to do is hold on to stuff and start dragging it around the earth. The guilt will drag around with you when you keep the clock radio stuffed in a box in the attic. Just let go.

I’m not suggesting you get rid of everything. If something is cherished or a memento you want to keep, please do. If you are keeping something only out of obligation or guilt; it might be time to let it go. I have to say that having all the “stuff” out of the house has been liberating. Now I’m looking in closets and thinking…hmmm…I wonder what I need to let go out of here?

Is there something you need to let go of? Please leave a comment on the WordPress site.