My hand sprung into the air before she had finished the question. “You want to take the lead on this, Diane?” my supervisor asked. My head jounced like a bobble head on the dash of a car navigating cobblestone. “Yes,” I affirmed. My voice was emphatic. But my stomach said otherwise. My ‘automatic yes-ness’ had prevailed. Yet. Again. Ugh.
A new year brings opportunity to determine the direction that the next few weeks or months will take. What remains crucial, however, is deciding what question is captaining the course.
The question “Can I do that?” often elicits an unequivocal “Yes!” if we are relatively capable, intelligent individuals. Yet, “Do I want to do that?” remains the far more vital question when it comes to building a fulfilling life.
So we must ask ourselves: What drives the direction of our course? When we make decisions from a place of ‘can do’, we are making decisions from a place of fear. Many of us have an (often subconscious) need to be seen as good, and a great desire to be liked. We may have developed the (also subconscious) belief that “I am not good enough,” or “I am incapable,” that keeps us trying to prove to ourselves and others that we indeed are adept. Building a life on a list of ‘cans’, however, keeps us distracted from our true purpose, not to mention encourages exhaustion and being unfocused.
Yes, there IS a time to challenge your limitations—push your limits, if you will, by consciously experimenting with pressing your perceived limitations. But not on a fear-based, need-driven whim.
Acting from a place of passion, or ‘want to’ keeps us piloting a path of creativity--developing what we really want, all while harboring faith that we are living our life with integrity, aligning our actions with our true callings and values.
As you resolve to live a more fulfilling life at the start of this year, ask yourself
NOT questions with victim language:
Ask the question, “What do I want?” then listen.
Ask the question, “Do I want to do this?” when tempted to say yes because you can.
In the interim? I personally have been considering investing in one of those trendy, cozy knitted body socks to keep my arms at my side during meetings that tempt me to extend my ‘goodwill’ by raising my hand to volunteer. Or perhaps I could try just holding my breath and counting to ten.
Have you set your New Year's resolutions yet? Are they goals you want to achieve, or tasks you "should" complete? Let yourself be heard in the comments below!
Diane Dean is a coach, former counselor and business leader dedicated to supporting others to reach their fullest potential. She is the owner of Epiphany! Couching. Her passion is to support professionals to experience deep satisfaction and prosperity from their daily work and profound contentment in their personal lives, so they can truly capture the best of both worlds.