Image by Israel Palacio on Unsplash
Hi, there, Friend. It’s me, your inner voice. Call me Ivee if you like.[Tap…Tap…Tap…] Is this thing on?
I’ve been trying to get your attention but it’s so darn noisy out there. Bright lights, people vying for your attention. All the siren songs luring you to a rocky shore, their beautiful voices drawing you in.
And here’s the thing. When you’re listening to them, you’re not listening to me. After all, their song isn’t your song. And, furthermore, when you try to match their voice it’s not sustainable. Your voice begins to wobble, your throat gets dry. You can’t hit that high note anymore. Trying to sing someone else’s song, competing with the singer who seems to have it all, doesn’t work well. Oh, it might for a while. Until it doesn’t. Oh, and, by the way, that other singer? She really doesn’t have it all. And yet you continue to try.
I’ve heard that this happens a lot. I talk to other inner voices, you know. We have our own version of Zoom: virtual, virtual Zoom or Vavavoom.
Here are some things I’ve learned.
Can you still hear me? [tap tap]
Okay, good. Let’s talk about you and where you might have some challenges. Because this is really important. On every level of your life.
One area you might be struggling with is your career. You’ve probably been quite successful. But it may have come at a cost. Or maybe it’s run its course, outlived its joy. Work became a “job” for the income instead of a passion. Or, as so many of you, you work for the benefits. I’ve heard this is a big one for women in midlife.
Second, you are probably operating on autopilot. It happens. I mean, reflect on what you do every day. Sometimes it’s out of habit; sometimes out of need. However, what I’ve learned is that autopilot drives you into a deep rut.
I get it. You do what you need to do. One foot in front of the other.
But it can be different.
What happens when you don’t listen.
When you go for long periods of time tuning me out, you know, that route you’re traveling on autopilot? It gets old. It feels uncomfortable. You become filled with unease. Maybe dis-ease.
It. Just. Doesn’t. Fit. Anymore.
Ultimately, you end up sacrificing the very things that I’ve been trying to talk to you about. Those important things that energize you rather than the daily fire drills, the hamster wheel, the blur of life passing by. The things that make life juicier and more meaningful.
And when you go on like this for too long, you experience varying degrees of burnout. Stress and all its attendant ills can be very subtle or it can hit you over the head. A few examples: lowered immunity, poor sleep, lack of focus, overeating/undereating. These lead to other things. It’s a slippery slope, not a pretty sight. And then there’s that huge hole right next to me where your heart is.
I can help you fill the hole but we need to be in touch more.
What happens when you begin to listen.
When you start listening you might notice me telling you that you don’t have to settle for the status quo. You begin to hear my sweet voice inviting you to imagine how you can begin planning for something new at this stage of life. Not a radical, ditch everything and start from scratch new. But a start. In fact, take a moment and try to imagine that right now. What would it feel like to believe in possibilities? Is it hard? Try to let it in just 10% of the way.
When you tune me in you begin to realize that you’re not too old to make meaningful changes. That you can make different choices in how you spend your time each day. That it’s okay to make yourself a priority, rather than putting yourself last in service to everyone around you. Yes, I know that last one’s a toughie.
And you can also begin to express your creativity – whatever way that wants to show up – in ways that will make you come alive.
What has to take place in order to be able to hear.
Two things have to happen, however, before you can begin to hear me.
First, you need to get comfortable with the unknown and with your own vulnerability.
Part of the reason you’ve had a hard time hearing me and thus getting started, is that you’ve built a silencing wall around me. I know you didn’t mean to. You probably don’t even realize it’s there. But, listening to me is risky. What I have to say might fly in the face of everyone around you. And then what?
Well, okay, then what?
You begin to experience discomfort. Call it fear if you like. You begin to feel vulnerable.
Much of what I have to say comes from that place of vulnerability, that very tender part of you. And that is why you often check out.
But questioning your particular status quo, allowing the yearning for something different to become visible, finding the spiritual courage to fill that emptiness that resides beside me? That’s a scary vulnerable.
Once you decide to let yourself be vulnerable, a second obstacle may appear. You realize you want to begin this process of change but you don’t know where to start. That can be overwhelming and cause you to hit the brakes. That’s okay. I’m here for you. Starting can be as simple as being quiet, (that in itself can be a challenge!) and asking the right questions. And, of course, trusting me, your very wisest self.
This is also where a good coach can help. A good coach (contact Kathy here) is one that will make you feel comfortable with not knowing where you’re going at first. She will make you feel less vulnerable and eminently normal. She will help you tune in to me and discover what makes you come alive.
Between the two of us? Oh, the places you’ll go!