“What do I want to be doing? What do I want to have? And is it in alignment with my true values and who I really am? We’re influenced by what the culture, colleagues at work and family members think is best for us. So, it’s about really knowing ourselves to create our futures,” said Rochelle Selzer, Author and Creative Core Coach.
Do you ever feel trapped by responsibilities? The way society defines the ‘Mom job’ is so broad that most of us are overwhelmed. We don’t have enough time to do what we want to, let alone what’s expected of us. So, we try to shrink life down to make everything fit. And it’s the opposite of the big living many of us envisioned. But after almost two years of non-stop-worry, most want to reset. And choose better. The good news? Rochelle is a fierce advocate for full living. And shares bite sized ways to help us get started.
Remember, Inaction = Action
“We treat ourselves like we’re machines and we’re not machines,” explained Rochelle. Who focused on helping busy women tap into what they really want, long before Covid. And she’s seen the pandemic spark positive reflection. Not only fear. “People spent a few months kind of in shock when we went into lockdown in March. And by June, all of a sudden, people started reaching out to me saying, ‘hold on, I need to take some kind of action now. I want support to start moving forward, even in the midst of all the unknowns.’ We can’t just hide from this. So, how do we take action, where we feel that we have agency in our lives?”
So, Get Intentional
Excellent question. Especially in pandemic limbo. Where the inability to plan, can feel like its own purgatory. Rochelle said, “Not taking action or taking action based on fear, isn’t going to help. The truth is, we’re often at a moment where the next opportunities or circumstances are not ideal. But we always get to intentionally create whatever small next step we take.” Yes. You’ve likely faced life’s unwelcome plot twists before 2020.
She added, “Many times we live so reactively. Somebody sends us an ultimatum. Or gives us a direction and we sort of go, without pausing and considering, ‘what’s the best decision for me? Or what other possibility is there besides the one that was just put in front of me?’ It happens to us in all the domains in our lives. Not only work and family, if we don’t slow down and ask those questions of ourselves.”
Rochelle recommends, “Be open, curious and self-aware about your next steps. When I talk about being clear in your life, it’s the mindset of being a creator. And giving yourself the structure to be a creator because that’s the intentionality.” Right. That freedom, to exercise choices in your best interest, is exhilarating. Rochelle’s frameworks gently help us revisit assumptions. And feel empowered to make our own good decisions.
Notice What’s Good
In the race-against-to-do’s, we can make tradeoffs that leave us feeling guilty or drained. But you don’t need a complex plan to add more fulfillment to your life. Rochelle said. “There are some very small things, that don’t take a lot of time, that can have a big influence on a busy life. We know that pausing to be grateful has physiological, psychological and emotional benefits.”
She suggests, “Start with a few things you’re grateful for when you wake up in the morning. Or at night, write three things down you’re grateful for that happened in the day.” Rochelle helps people appreciate and savor the everyday magic. She explained, “We tend to think we should be grateful for shelter and food on the table. All of that is good. But we can lose the gratitude for some of the small moments, when we race through our lives. Like, ‘somebody held the door for me when I was struggling with a stroller and three packages.’ So, starting a small gratitude practice can have a surprising impact on our state of being.”
Constant stress damages everything. Including our outlook. Rochelle dedicates an entire chapter to “seeing wonder all around” in her book, Live Big: A Manifesto for a Creative Life. She explained, “Even as we navigate through time pressured activities, for most people there’s wonder around them all the time. And they don’t even see it. So, if you can notice the way the light is reflecting off that surface. Or what an amazing trunk there is on the tree that you’ve walked by 100 times taking your kids to school. It can be anything! If you are looking for wonder, you’re opening your heart. And it softens and expands everything else in your day. So, these small practices can impact our wellbeing in surprisingly effective ways.”
To View Your Life Through an Opportunity Lens
Has the pandemic helped people short-cut to clarity? Rochelle said, “Covid has sort of magnified the number of ways in. It’s forced us to be creative in ways that we never would have been before. So, sometimes this push from an external circumstance that makes us create some something new, is a gift.”
She encourages finding the reframe that works for you. She said, “Look at everything through the lens of opportunity. Yes, this is tragic and yes people are suffering. In spite of all of that, what is my best path forward? Or what are the opportunities that I can either see or create?”
This is where many people get stuck. With the desire to move in a more positive direction. But without the support or energy to find the how. But what if you can help yourself get unstuck? “There’s a really powerful, deceptively simple tool I call the Discovery Dozen™,” Rochelle said.
Ask Yourself the Right Questions
Rochelle outlines the brilliant ‘mad libs’ styled process that she uses with her coaching clients. “In essence, it’s a fill in the blank sentence. And you complete that sentence, with twelve different completions, as quickly as you can. Just work from your intuition, without overthinking or judging it.”
Getting to the clever idea stage can be hard. Particularly when you feel burned out. But Rochelle’s technique is easy to adapt for anything you choose.
To Generate New Ideas
She shared the example of finding ideas to get back on track with exercise. “So, to get myself excited about exercising again I could do X.” Rochelle said. Then you complete that sentence in different ways. She explained, “I could get excited again about exercising if it was convenient for my schedule. Or if I had a partner or friend to do it with. So, you come up with 12 answers. The first few ideas are likely the obvious ones that are top of mind. But as you go through and start writing, by the time you get to numbers 8 and 10, that’s where the gems come up! And they are inside of you.” Brilliant! She added, “You can put some things on the list that are completely wacky and outrageous. And that’s fine.”
And Take Some Risks
Rochelle said, “in Live Big I say that we are human beings. And we spend way too much time doing and not enough time being. It goes back to slowing down and being intentional about what we choose for ourselves. But one of the important chapters in the first half of the book is about feeling free. So, that we do feel like we can live without fear, take some small risks and see what happens.”
It’s all about expansion. In stark contrast to how we often constrain our thoughts, time and ideas. Rochelle added, “To make that mess or try something that doesn’t go well, isn’t going to kill us. If you can feel free enough to approach your life with a little bit more latitude, to play and experiment, that’s where the surprises show up. If we’re always trying to lock it down and not take a chance, we miss a huge amount of what is possible.” Amen!
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