How to Live A Life Chosen, Not Endured

"This isn't the life I wanted."

I can say with confidence that I know what it feels like to choose my life 100% and what it feels like to barely be able to stand waking up in the morning. The two can seem worlds apart. Especially when you're feeling stuck and trapped in the responsibilities and success of your life right now.

This chat is inspired by a conversation I had this week with a brilliant client. We were talking about the value of reflecting and taking time to sit with new information. I told her, doing so is the difference between a life chosen and one that's endured. The former is so much better. We're going to talk about choices you can make and goals you can set to be excited about your life. #progresscoaching

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My Looooovees! How are you? It is Friday. We are talking about how to choose your life versus endure it.

I just want to take a moment to claim some victory. 

This week has not quite gone the way that I’d hoped it would go. I’ve kind of kicked things up into a new gear in Map-Your-Progress-Land, as you may have noticed in the last couple weeks. Have been doing these progress chats with you three times a week and then translating those into blogs and transcripts and audios and automation and bots and all kinds of cool stuff!

I realized last night that there was a choice for me to make. I recognized that as much as I love what it is that I’m doing, when I was trying to finish a blog post at 11:45pm last night, I recognized: Sweetheart, this might be a time to make an adjustment.

Because I am one who loves to start things. I am a giver. I love to share. And sometimes, I can get out ahead of myself. What’s great is that I didn’t feel badly about it. I didn’t feel like I screwed something up or that I am failing. I didn’t get the email out that I wanted to this morning. I’m a few minutes late. 

And, I’m just not even worried about it! Ha. It’s so nice!

I want to be a living, breathing example of winning ugly and imperfection and how progress actually works. 

Where we get to choose what we do on a daily basis and we get to choose if something is not working for us. So, I noticed this last night: My Clever Brain was like, “You’ve gotta stick to a schedule and you’re behind and you’ve gotta get these things out.” I was looking at my calendar trying to figure out to do this.

And that’s when my Captain piped up and was just like, “Sweetheart: It’s just time to make an adjustment. We’re navigating. It’s OK to not do things exactly as planned.” I think that actually segues quite nicely into what we’re chatting about today.

Oh, thank you! Vicki’s like: “It’s Friday…Give yourself some slack! Hugs!” Appreciate that, Dear. Thank you so much. Um, yeah! We all get to give ourselves a little bit of slack, too!

Making progress is not an easy thing. 

It takes courage, it takes a lot of going outside of our comfort zone and creating new habits. Practicing new choices. It’s not an easy thing to do! So, it’s important for us to be kind to ourselves and compassionate and *acknowledge* the victories that are happening.

So for me, *not* being critical of myself and not making it into evidence that I didn’t do something right or that I’m—I don’t know—off-track? Just acknowledging that this is progress and this is what it looks like feels really good to me.

So the inspiration for today’s chat: 

This idea of choosing our life rather than enduring it, it came from a conversation that I was having with a client last week. 

I had cited a quote in the graphic for this chat that says, “this isn’t the life that I wanted.” That, I think, is probably the most extreme example of this contrast of this choosing vs enduring. I certainly have been at a place in my life where I desperately wanted off this planet because I was so far gone in my own head. Just not able to connect to the truth of who I was or—love, really. I was totally disconnected from love of self.

So there can be times when we get into these really dark, really low places. But that’s just *one* end of the spectrum. It is a long spectrum that has a variety of things and on the other end of that spectrum, it can be as simple as what I was describing last night. Where it’s like, “Hold on a second. This isn’t what I want.” I don’t want to be working at 11:45pm on a Thursday!

Throughout our days, we get so many opportunities to notice where things can be tweaked, where we can course-correct and choose something that works for us. The original example I was mentioning, with a conversation I had with a client—and this is one of my clients who is just really an impressive, accomplished person. She’s extremely smart and very driven and disciplined.

It was fascinating because as she was sharing a revelation that she had had. She’d been looking at her career path and had essentially eliminated one significant option because she has been operating under a logic that said that if she were to choose that particular path, that there would be some really challenging things that just didn’t want to deal with.

What she recognized was that that path actually was a viable option for her, if she acknowledged that she had been listening to that logic and convinced that the options were more limited than they truly were. That if she were to look at it with open eyes and come from love, that she could see that actually there were some things that she was just kind of afraid of. That Clever Brain may have been co-opting a little bit to convince her that that wasn’t a reasonable path. That it was better for her just to go where she had been headed.

So the gift in that was that she was able to realize, “Oh, hold on a second. I have been operating for the last couple years, and I’m making plans for the future years, based on some assumptions and expectations that I have that may not even be true.” What was so great is that in that moment, she was able to kind of just pause and notice, “Oh, wow—this whole trajectory that I’ve been on for some time now may or may not be the one that I actually want to go down.”

So often we’ll do that. 

We have ideas about things that we *might* want or a goal that we want to reach. 

Then our Clever Brain, who HATES uncertainty and the unknown will fill in the blanks and start projecting a movie of what it is going to be like: what’s going to go well, what’s not going to go well, how you are going to be. We do this ALL. DAY. LONG. I would say, only rarely, does it actually turn out even close to what we thought was going to happen.

So what we get to do is just *notice* when we are operating on a day-to-day basis on a logic that is created by our Clever Brain that may or may not have anything to do with reality. 

I want you to pay attention to where you are noticing some resentment. Where you’re feeling irritated, where you might—I used to wake up in the morning and be really grumpy that I “had to” go to work. Ha. I “had to” go to this job that paid me pretty well and I worked with a team that I really enjoyed. While I didn’t have great passion for the work that I was doing, my Clever Brain really made it into a situation where I had very limited options and limited power. Which was not at all the case.

And yet: I spent YEARS doing that. I don’t think that I’m alone. If this is resonating with you, please chime in in the comments or hit the little heart and likes and things. Because I think this is something that is very common and part of our day-to-day experience where weren’t not paying attention and not questioning it. It can kind of seem like, “Well, this is just the way it is.”

So when we find ourselves in the “have to” mode, “Well, I have to do this and I have to do that,” it can be a great indicator that we’re operating from a perspective that “this is the way things are and this is the way things need to be. And I just need to deal with it or adapt or just get on the other side,” of whatever this perceived narrow hallway is that you are living in your life.

What’s great is that when we notice that. When we notice that things aren’t quite working—that we’re feeling resentful, we’re dreading our day-to-day, we’re not quite happy with what’s going on—it’s just an indicator. It’s like a little indicator light on the dashboard of your car. Like, “Oh, OK. This is just letting me know that there’s an opportunity here to make a different choice” and to remember that you *do* have choices!

Oh, Tazz! She’s saying, “You are not alone. Happens every morning.” Yes, my Dear. This is why I’m so glad that we get together and have these conversations. And why I’m so honored to be able to work with the clients that I do because—this is really about shifting the whole way that you view your life and your ability to live it in a way that feels good to you.

So, I made some notes that I just want to check on. Because, as I was getting ready for this, I was like, “OH! I want to talk about THIS and I wanna talk about THAT!” and yeah. I noted them.

Again, Clever Brain does not like any uncertainty—anything unknown—and if you haven’t noticed, life *is* uncertain and is the unknown, whether we like to believe that it is or not. It is the the way that it is.

Clever Brain loves to be in denial of that. 

It is just a human thing that we do, where we set ourselves down a track with a set of expectations. Even with me, and this relatively new expectation that “I’m going to do these things three times a week and I’m going to post this and do that.” I had all these ideas of how I really want to do it.

Then I noticed, when I was going into the execution of it, and delivering on what it was that I wanted to create, that it wasn’t quite going the way that I’d hoped it would go. So instead of feeling like I need to stay locked into that path—if I’m not doing what I set out to do exactly the way that I was going to do it—that somehow it means that I’m failing or that I didn’t do it right or that I need to sleep less or work more.

We make these adaptations based on this Clever Brain logic, “Oh, no: You said you were gonna do that” or “You set that goal and intention—and now you gotta go do it!” Regardless of what you have to endure. You decided. So you need to go do that.

That’s one of those things that Clever Brain can co-opt. This idea that we get to choose, we have choices. And Clever Brain can use that against you to say, “Listen, you made a choice. So even though this isn’t working for you and even though this is costing you your well-being, you don’t get to make another choice because you already made a choice earlier and you need to stick to that. Otherwise, you are not a person of integrity. You are not somebody that people can depend on.” It can go down that entire rabbit hole.

What ends up happening is that it drains so much energy and it really takes us out of being at our best and feeling alive and feeling excited about what’s going on. So, I want you to just *notice* how you are relating to getting up in the morning, and your job, and the things that you’ve got going on. The hobbies that you’re pursuing. Where are you feeling like you “have to” do things? Or that you don’t have a choice?

That if you were to make a different choice, you’d be letting people down. You would be disappointing those that you care about. There’s all kinds of things that Clever Brain can use to have it *appear* that we don’t have the choices that we do.

OK, so really important in terms of next right steps and starting to build your awareness of this—and to start to create a new habit of choosing: Just delight in the noticing. It can feel overwhelming at times to think, “Oh, God—there’s so many things in my life that I feel like I ‘have to do’ or that I’m enduring. That I don’t have a choice.” We don’t have to change everything right now.

You get to just be exactly where you are, with what’s going on, your current skill set. 

And then take your next right step. Your next right step is always the one you can do. So, a next right step for you—if you’re feeling like, “Oh, God, I can totally see this in my life. It feels a little bit overwhelming” is to just start noticing where it happens. Take the pressure off of having to make all the different choices and have the courage and do all the things.

But just start where you are. And start with making that next step of noticing. Once you get good at noticing, then naturally you’re start to be able to make small choices that are more aligned with what it is that you really want.

You know, for me, my small choice at 11:45pm last night—was thinking, “OK! I love doing this. I love these chats. Let me figure out how I can tweak the format and delivery or frequency so that I get to do this and be with you—and serve in a way that I want to—in a way that doesn’t cost me my own well-being.” So, in the next week or so, I’ll probably switch to doing these twice a week.

In the Facebook groups, we’ve got something called Bookclub-ish that I just launched this past week. 

It’s an opportunity for us to have kind of like an on-demand virtual bookclub. So I’m excited to be doing those. We’ve got three groups. Three books! So I will be doing those chats as well in the Facebook group. If that’s something that’s interesting to you, please come join the Tribe. You can sign up for our email Tribe. You can purchase a Progress Map and come in that way.

But there’s opportunities for us to be connected, to be growing this community, for you to all to be practicing these things. AND for me to roll it out in a way that is still doable for me. We have choices. We just forget. All the time.

OK, so—oh! Ha. Vicki, you’re saying: “Clever Brain needs a time out!” Yes it does!

I think of Clever Brain like my sweet dog, Lulah, here. I don’t know if you can see. She’s just chillin’. Yeah. Hi. She looks so sweet and peaceful. And she is—when she is. Then other times, she is on full security-mode. Where she is absolutely convinced that there are significant threats to our personal safety, that she needs to protect us from.

One of my favorite threats is when the freezer drops the ice cubes. That is a very distressing scenario for her! The sound of the freezer dropping the ice cubes into the little bin in the freezer sets her off every time. She is up on all fours. Hackles up. Growling. Barking. Ready to GO. That is how I think of Clever Brain.

Clever Brain cannot discern very well between a real threat and a perceived threat. 

So it goes around in the world, convincing us that the ice cube makers are threatening to our survival! And that we shouldn’t have ice in our drinks. We should stay out of the kitchen entirely! You know? Because it’s dangerous in there. When it’s not.

It’s just that this is what Clever Brain does. So it’s like when my sweet dog, Lulah, is barking at the refrigerator. My job is that I get to go, “Sweetheart, it’s OK.” I get to interrupt, bring in some Captain Amy and say, “We got it. We got it handled. Thank you. But we’re good.”

OK, my Loves. This is what I’d like to leave you with. In terms of thinking about the choices that you are making. 

The choices that you’re making are what make up your days—the experience of your days. The days that we live is what makes up our life. 

So, things that may seem small can actually have quite a ripple effect. And can start to build a momentum that can be really significant and really propel us in the direction that we want to go.

I just want you to be thinking about: In those areas of your life where it feels like you “have to” do things, that you don’t have control, that you’re not feeling like you’re fully alive and that you’re operating at your best—just noticing what is going on in those scenarios and what kind of choices you could be making differently that would connect you back to feeling empowered, feeling excited, feeling like you are the Captain of your vessel, who is choosing how to navigate.

Just notice the thoughts that Clever Brain is coming with. In those moments, when you’re about to make a choice, is that choice coming from love? Is it coming from fear? Is the choice coming from “I have to do this. I don’t want to do this, but it’s important that I do this. I said that I was going to do this and even though I want to stick a fork in my eyeball right now, I’m gonna go do this. Because I said I was gonna do this.” If it’s that kind of energy, it’s very likely that you are forgetting that you have options. You are forgetting that you have a voice. You are forgetting that you are a captain. And that you get to communicate and make choices so that you can get what you need. That you can be feeling good about what it is that you’re doing.

There is no shortage of opportunities to practice this—but those are some next right steps that I would love for you to experiment with. Just give yourself permission to have this be a messy process. The mess and the discomfort and the awkwardness are signs that you are making progress. They’re signs that you’re making different choices.

Progress is about decision points. About going through the day and where you would normally choose one thing, that you know will have you continue to be where you’re at or you can make a different choice that would be in service of where it is that you want to go.

That’s all it is! It’s creating that habit of making choices at those decision points, throughout the day, that are in service of what it is that you want to do.It can seem like a really small thing, but it’s actually a pretty big deal. That’s what we get to practice.

So if you are feeling like, “Yes, this is resonating and this makes sense and I’m feeling like I’m not choosing a life that I’m really excited about. I’m getting stuck.” 

Then I want you to just reach out. Love to have you message on Facebook. You can comment below. But just get in touch.

Because I’d love to be able to make some recommendations for you. Give you some resources and things that you could listen to, maybe some books. Maybe even having a conversation about it to see if there’s other ways I can support you. But this is where you get to make a choice!

If you’re feeling like you’re enduring things and it’s not where you want to be, *this* would be a decision point, where it’s like, yeah, you may normally watch something on the Internet or look at something or read an inspiring email—but then, it’s like, “Yeah, but you can’t do that” or “Yeah, but it’s gonna be too hard” or “Yeah, but it’s not the right time.” So you just keep going throughout your day.

A decision point would be reaching out here, to me, so that we can look at what your next right steps would be. You get to choose. That’s what I want all of us to remember. Myself included.

Every day. We get to choose what it is that we’re doing and how we are navigating our little vessel through this “ocean” of life, if you will. OK, Dears—you can re-listen to this chat if you want. If you’re coming in and didn’t see the whole thing: 

You can find us on Soundcloud now. 

I’m pretty excited about this Soundcloud option where the audios of all of the chats that I’ve done—which I think are about 30 of them at this point—they’re all on Soundcloud now. So it’s almost like it’s a podcast. You can listen to it when you’re going about your life and driving or walking or cleaning the kitchen.

You can listen to things over again. If you like a concept, we don’t typically pick things up on the first pass. That is a human thing. For me personally, if there’s anything I really want to get, I read it again and again or I listen to it again and again. Until I feel those concepts starting to take hold and using them in the my life, experimenting with them and really playing around with them to see how they could benefit me. So, Soundcloud is an option for you.

I will of course be continuing to hold these progress chats. 

And I’ll just post the schedule, you know? As we go! It’s gonna be OK. We’re gonna figure it out and practice making different making choices. Practice tweaking and practice captaining all of the things! Great to be with you, my Dears.

Aw, Tazz. You were saying: “Thank you. Have a wonderful weekend.” I appreciate that. You as well! I will see you all next week on Monday. Enjoy choosing! Have fun with it and keep me posted on how it goes. Alright. Be well, my Dears! Bye.

Ready to inspire yourself?

Hell yes.