No matter what job I have, I can’t help but feel that I am not where I need to be. I can’t help but feel insecure.
This post is a meditation to uncover what jobs and roles help me feel the ground beneath my feet and accomplished.
I know. That’s a gnarly image. But it also evokes a solid state of accomplishment. Of declaration. I’m here. 100% present tense HERE.
It may be the precarious nature of my current job, my desire for a doctorate education. It may be that I was laid off, had one terrible experience in grad school. It may be that the cat got my tongue. It may be that I was always looking for something else. That each class and job had been a past-time activity till I got to where I needed to go. I tried to focus on the moment, and learned early on that “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”. But I want so much out of life. A job that makes me feel stable. A writing career. A business start-up. A PhD. At the same time, the cat’s got my tongue. I can’t write my statement of purpose with ease, start this business, send out a single query, or leave this job and find a new one. From the outside, all’s not so bad. I am a success. Beautiful home, beautiful husband, great job. But I feel like I was meant to be doing something else. And yes, I am on my path to doing that… but…what’s holding me back from standing tall and being out there? Why am I wasting hours and hours of precious time, amounting to a decade and then some.
I’m following some tools out there to do this exercise.
What I want:
To be able to wake up and not feel compelled to sit down and start writing only to stare at the screen and get up 3 hours later rushing to get the actual day started. In the back of my mind thinking about other possibilities throughout the day, daydreaming through life. To truly enjoy homemaking, making time for friends. I am so in my mind – that I want to be able to be just focused.
My Beliefs (recorded from the past several weeks):
I need something else to be successful.
I need to spend lots of hours trying to write my statement of purpose and figuring out graduate school applications.
I don’t have time to exercise.
I can leave the shopping / groceries / doing x till the last minute – I don’t need to do it now because it’s not a priority. I have time. We have the whole long weekend to relax.
I will get SO much done! I will get EVERYTHING done. I will finish my essay, send out 100 job applications, send out 100 emails to friends, colleagues, contacts, finish a draft of my applications, and study for the GREs.
I find myself so stressed out mentally when I do things like this. I feel that I’ve lost time, haven’t read anything positive or substantial aside from blog posts on self-help, and lost the window to exercise. And to boot, no draft of essay, no query, no article to post, zilch.
Reversing My Beliefs
I’m following this model.
1. I need something else to be successful.
Is this true? Yes.
Is this 100% true? No.
What is this limiting belief doing to me? This is causing me to second-guess myself, be uncertain, and be insecure. This is causing me to spend countless hours exploring possibilities (but never really acting upon them). If I knew that I had everything I needed to be successful and that my to-do list was manageable, I would just stop spending all this time thinking and sitting down to write. I would probably just know what to say and write, I would probably just schedule things like writing, studying, working, exercising, cooking, time with friends, and so on.
Who would I be without this limiting belief? I would be calm, happy. I would read for reading’s sake. I would clean, work out, be a happy homemaker with a flexible schedule, be a successful professional / writer, I would be a mother. I would know what I want and I would not be afraid to speak up for it. This whole drive to be “successful” is just driving me mad.
Why do I want to get a PhD? I want to immerse myself in the world of ideas and become adept at the methodologies, form arguments, defend ideas, advance knowledge in my field, and train incoming students in this field. I want to feel competent in my job, in my writing, and I want the chance to learn and grow consciously.
SUCCESS = LOTS OF TIME
2. I need to spend lots of hours trying to write my statement of purpose and figuring out graduate school applications.
Is this true? No.
What is the limiting belief doing to me ? Causing me to go in circles and second guess myself, leaving me utterly wordless and essayless.
Who would I be without this limiting belief? My thoughts are clear, and clearly make their way onto the page. I go through a process of writing — multiple drafts, feedback from others, edits, professional editor if necessary, gut check, rewrites, final draft, polish. I would spend my extra time on working out, making lovely meals for my family, and reading quality literature, and WRITING. 🙂
NO TIME FOR ANYTHING ELSE:
3. I don’t have time to exercise.
Is this true? No.
What is this limiting belief doing to me? Making me FAT.
Who would I be without this limiting belief? Realistic about my time. Slender, beautiful, HEALTHY.
4. I can leave the shopping / groceries / doing x till the last minute – I don’t need to do it now because it’s not a priority. I have time. We have the whole long weekend to relax.
Is this true? No – Gotta do it now to have the time later.
What is this limiting belief doing to me? Leaving me in states of frenzy that I need lots of downtime to recover from.
Who would I be without this limiting belief? A mature, time-realistic adult.
UNREALISTIC NOTIONS OF TIME
5. I will get SO much done! I will get EVERYTHING done. I will finish my essay, send out 100 job applications, send out 100 emails to friends, colleagues, contacts, finish a draft of my applications, and study for the GREs.
Is this true? NO.
What is this limiting belief doing to me? Leaving me hopelessly ambitious and devastatingly disappointed.
Who would I be without this limiting belief? Someone who makes realistic plans for each day, sets mid-term goals, and long-term goals and actually achieves them.
Wow. This is crazy. What are my goals for today?
1. Spend time writing essay (GONE)
2. Go for a short hike. (2 hours)
3. Make my last-minute thanksgiving items for friend’s place tonight. (2 hours)
4. Get ready and look fabulous. (1 hour)
5. Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with friends. (5 hours)
6. IF TIME: finalizing my programs, proposed advisors, and people to contact. IF TIME: organizing my essay thoughts into something of a very very scrappy outline – pretend I’m talking to a friend on the phone about what I would like to accomplish. (2 hours)
Hours left till I go to bed: 12
Goals for 2012: Apply to PhD programs. Be realistic about time.
Enough said. Signing off.