I was sitting in a coffee shop preparing information for a follow-up interview. About 6 minutes into my work time, two women sat at the table close to mine. From my initial observation, these women looked happy, fashionable, and well put together. As I tried to work and not eavesdrop (yes, I’m very guilty of eavesdropping), their discussion painted a dismal picture. I thought about putting my earbuds in, but curiosity about other humans got the best of me.
The theme of their discussion was about how hard and challenging things were. Life was too busy. There was not enough time to devote to one thing because they were being pulled in so many directions. They were feeling stretched thin trying to volunteer, workout, and get their kids to all their activities. The contractor was running behind on renovations. Fears about not being bikini ready and dreading seeing another relative’s perfect bikini bodies during the extended family trip were expressed. Stress about losing social positions they had worked so hard to achieve spilled into the pauses and the gaps of their discussion.
It took everything in me to sit by quietly and try to tune out their conversation. After about 10 minutes, I packed up my computer and decided to leave. I was not annoyed, but I was having a hard time keeping my mouth shut. Even though the problems they discussed are very different than my own, they are still problems.
The recurring theme I heard as I was ear-hustling was feelings of lack, isolation, and fear. Whether this was a specific rant session or an ongoing “woe is me” meet up, what I heard led me to believe these women were possibly making things harder for themselves than they needed to be.
Isn’t that a universal tendency for us as we go through our lives?
As we try to figure things out and have them make sense, sometimes we cannot get out of our own heads to reduce our mental load and simplify the situation. We feel we need to have the perfect answer to fix things or turn them around, and when we don’t, we overthink and get our inner critic all hot and bothered.
If I were invited into that conversation as a coach, I would have offered the following 5 tips to support the two women in simplifying their current situations:
Get clear on how you want to live your life
Be mindful and look inward to define how you want to live your life. Spend time learning about yourself and what really makes you happily tick. Trust yourself to make decisions that sustain you. Drop the need to over-explain every decision you make.
Release the urge to compete with other people
There is room for all of us to do things our own way. What works for another person may or may not work for you and that is OK. Steer clear of defining your success or worth based on what others are doing.
Reduce the time you spend on social media
If social media is puts you in a bad mood and makes you feel less than – step away. Many people are looking at social media and trying to measure up to what other people are posting and sharing. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to go on a social media fast.
Spend more time doing things you enjoy
Adjust your daily schedule and prioritize doing things that build you up and make you feel good. There will always be some type of event or commitment that can take up space on your calendar, but it is up to you to decide if that commitment belongs there. It is OK to say no to things and not feel bad about it. When you say no to something that does not support you, you leave room to say yes to something that does.
Say what you really mean
When you are being honest with yourself, you can easily be honest with others. Spend less time trying to please others at the expense of yourself. Express your honest feelings and thoughts without being fearful of upsetting others.
How do you keep things simple in your life? How do you stay true to yourself?