My client is amazing. And I mean that in a national headlines sort of way. So it was very telling when we got clear about how she focuses. I asked her, “Do you want to focus more on what you want, or do you want to primarily focus on your responsibilities?
It’s a good question for me, and for all of us, isn’t it. We tend to hyper focus on our responsibilities every day, handling the ever-long list of things to be done.
We consider others’ feelings and make decisions around them. We try to figure out what will work for everyone else… forgetting to take what works for us into account to the same–or greater–degree.
We’ve made it a habit to focus on our responsibilities. That’s not bad, right?
But what about when it encroaches on what we want? What happens when our uber-responsible selves focus on responsibilities to the detriment of moving toward what really matters most to us in this moment? Taking action toward what we want? Thinking more of the time about what we want–instead of mostly thinking of all the ‘considerations’?
It’s strange when I put it into words, that it sounds a bit selfish. Very strange indeed. Because, I know I am the one responsible for my life, not anybody else. So if I’m not handling the responsibility to think about, move toward and take action on what I want… Who will?
Is that selfish?
I don’t think so.
Rather, it feels like a shift in priorities. Ahhh… That’s it!
How did our good intentions of being a responsible person get taken over by obligation, guilt, and fear? How did I go from living my life to living my life for everything and everyone else?
Most of us do this. It’s not rocket science.
But maybe we should consider balancing that pendulum swing. Maybe we should practice becoming more conscious of what we want–and stepping up to that. Just for us.
Is it selfish to want more time with loved ones instead of working constantly?
Is it selfish to want time to myself? It shouldn’t be! Have I made having time to myself something I feel guilty about? Why?! Why would I do that?
Is it selfish to want more from my life than just working all the time?
Or is it selfish to pursue my career goals that matter so very much to me, without feeling guilty for my ambition and discipline?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t check our priorities too. We absolutely should check in with our heart, our gut and our loved ones to make sure we are staying aligned to what matters most to us.
But at the same time, I think it bears mentioning that we should do a gut-check on how conscious we are of what we most want in our life right now. And then to give ample attention to it in order to live a life that really matters to us for the time we’ve spent.
I remember when the second house I tried to buy didn’t work out (wasn’t meant to be), and I had no clear direction at that point.
My only spark inside was to head to France to study French for a bit. Even though travel for me is a way of life, still, I hesitated a lot! It seemed like so many unknowns to actually go after what I wanted. And how was it going to further my business to study French?… It wasn’t. It was just for me. So how could I justify THAT?!
Add to that, I truthfully had wanted to study French in France for decades. So when I got on the overnight flight from JFK to Paris on New Years Eve 2019, I was pretty excited, sure. But I was also having this internal dialogue with myself, saying, “WTF, Carmell?!! This feels so totally… …irresponsible?…!” Er– well, yes.
Still, I went.
I was so incredibly happy living for two months in Aix en Provence when I had been struggling for months before that, trying to find what I was “supposed” to do since the house-thing wasn’t working out.
What I had really been trying to figure out was the ‘responsible’ thing I was supposed to do, instead of listening to what I really wanted inside.
We are wise, my friends. We are so wise. Life is not only about work. It’s not only about our daily workouts, our bank accounts, our families, our success, etc. Life is not about one thing. It is about us living the most intentionally and truthfully that we possibly can right now.
And that starts by listening to what we want.
The New Year is upon us. Do you know what you want?