I was on a call with my wellness coach & he asked how I had been doing. I shared my week and how I was feeling in all of it. I had a lot going on – all good things.
When he reflected my own words back to me, I noticed he said “busy” and “have to” a few times. I stopped him and asked if I had really said those things. Yep.
I had NO memory of saying them, yet they were right there popping out of my mouth. Words I’ve been working to remove from my vocabulary.
What’s funny is that a few days later, my husband would tell me how amazed he was at how spot-on my memory of conversations can be – sometimes word-for-word.
Years ago, I was hanging out with high-level entrepreneurs at a Maverick event. Dr. Steve, a fascinating healer, asked me about my speaking retreat. I shared about how I loved holding the space for my Rockstars to show up, yet when I was done, my energy was spent. It felt wonderful to be able to do this for them, I just wished I was stronger.
He looked at my directly and said “Your words have meaning. What if you CREATED the space for them and allowed them to HOLD the space for themselves? It might not be so tiring.”
That one conversation showed me how much power I have in my words and the meaning I give them. By changing “hold” to “create” and truly doing that work to also change my actions with it, I’d be able to gift my Rockstars something special.
It’s been years since Dr. Steve shared this with me and I’ve learned how to be much more intentional with my words – and I’ve also learned that changing our way of thinking and speaking takes time. (Oh, and I’m human so I can be awfully stubborn when it comes to keeping some of my learned behaviors.)
Back to my original conversation.
When I realized I had said “I have to” and that I was busy, I found myself looking at my calendar. I remembered heading into my Monday with a sense of dread. It had been a weekend where everything I had been doing the last few weeks (being VERY busy) came to a crashing halt.
I started that Monday off with a full day of meetings and even looked to see if any of them could be moved. I determined that it wasn’t possible. They were ALL essential meetings. I HAD to do them. Until half of them rescheduled. Hrm…
I then looked at the other days and wondered how I could have done them differently. Could I have rescheduled or moved some meetings around? Could I have given myself some more time to prepare in between? Could I have consolidated some of them? Yes – all of that. Yet…
The answer was VERY different than I thought.
A few months ago, I hired another kind of coach. A business coach who focuses on mindset.
I hired her because she terrifies me.
When she called me last August and asked me how I was making ends meet during the pandemic as a speaker, I was honest – not well. She also asked me if I was making any money. I didn’t love the question, but that’s because I wasn’t. Her impeccable timing was right in the middle of realizing that my business income was not coming back – no matter what I tried.
When 2021 started, it felt like a fresh new year. And yet, I still had no idea how I was going to make this business work. I did what I do every year – I pulled on my big girl panties and worked my hiney off. Because that’s how entrepreneurs do it best – they hustle.
When she called me again in January and asked me if I was interested in some help, I was all ears. I was tired and couldn’t find the answer on my own. So I started working with her.
Within just a few weeks, I was able to retool my whole business model and focus on my ONE THING. I was loving the work and thrilled to finally be focusing on what I really wanted to do.
The only problem was that I was still in a solid place of overwhelm, busy and “have to.” Yes, I was clearing things out, but that also meant I was adding more to my plate.
We’ve all heard people say “work smart, not hard.” Yet few can give us specific tools for doing that. And most people don’t go deep enough into why we’re working so hard in the first place.
As I got on my call with her to go through my next steps, I shared my overwhelm. My “busy.” And instead of diving into a new task list, she helped me pinpoint exactly why this was happening.
My internal words have deeper meaning than even the words I had been speaking. And my internal voice was being a mean girl.
My internal mean girl was saying things like:
“You’ll never succeed, so what’s the point?”
“Stop being a slacker!”
“Why can’t you do things the right way?!”
“You’re going to get in trouble for this.”
“No one likes you anyway.”
You see, I’m a perfectionist. It doesn’t matter which personality test or astrological sign or even the numbers assigned to my life, it focuses on the fact that I love order and for everything to stay in order. And my internal mean girl is WAY more of a perfectionist than I am.
The part that always gets me the most: I am WAY harder on myself than anyone else. I expect much much more from Melanie than she realizes.
What’s even better? I have been a brand strategist my entire career – and this perfectionism has helped me excel at my job. Until my internal mean girl shows up and reminds me that I’ll never be good enough.
Words hold meaning – deep-rooted meaning. I’ve believed my whole life that this is just how I am. I’m a perfectionist and I expect that everything has to be done perfectly or I’ll get in trouble.
Sure, nature vs. nurture and all that – yet WE GET TO CHOOSE WHO WE ARE.
Me saying I’m a perfectionist and then being validated in every possible way was causing me to hold that as the truth.
The question my business coach asked that day was: “What if you didn’t have to make yourself wrong anymore?”
Which also translates to: What if I let go of having to be perfect?
After our conversation, I stepped into a higher sense of being and my next meetings became more ME – less perfect, less hard – more loving, more exactly what they were supposed to be. And I found great reward in those calls. Clients were saying YES!
Instead of being busy, I was feeling abundant.
Instead of “have to,” I GET to.
Instead of being a perfectionist, I get to do what feels good.
Now I sit here not hustling, but finding spaciousness. I’ve been off social media for almost a week and it’s amazing how much extra time I have – to think, to breathe, to walk, to read, to learn, to just be. I’ve “had to” post almost daily for years, yet not wondering what to post is actually allowing me to find more words to say.
I’m sure I’ll write more on my social media hiatus later, but for now – I want you to notice the words you’re saying this week.
The words you might not even know you’re saying.
The words you’re thinking about what you’re doing.
The words you say consistently to others.
The words you say consistently to yourself.
The words you believe about yourself.
Your words are your life. What kind of life are you building?
I’m on this journey with you, Kickass Human.