So many women I talk to these days want to shift gears and do something else with their lives. (And their hair. But mostly their lives.) I hear from moms who have been home raising their kids. They’re not ready to go back to work full-time, nor do they want to go back to their former careers. They want something very flexible that they can be passionate about…something that wakes them from their current state. They crave something that gets them re-engaged with the world; they daydream about the whip-smart conversations they would have; the confidence with which they would carry themselves; and that long-lost state of feeling so “together.” (…and then the phone rings and their kid needs a wire-hanger and some Queen sized panty-hose for a school art-project that’s due TOMORROW, and mom is jettisoned right back into her acceptable, but not quite “thriving” reality.) That’s the point at which a lot of women will just shove aside any hopes, dreams or goals—telling herself a litany of limiting beliefs:
…See? My kid needs me.
…It would NEVER work.
…Who would buy the Queen sized pantyhose? Nobody, that’s who. My kid will be scarred for life and will go into convulsions anytime he sees ladies stockings, and then I’ll be paying for my kid’s therapy for years… and, and, and….
…It would just be too hard.
…I’m not together enough to pull it off anymore.
…My kids will suffer.
…I will suffer. (How could I miss carpool? I hate carpool, but I would miss it so much!)
…How could I balance it all?
…and WHAT would I do?
And so on with the none-too-motivating self-talk that just makes her feel tired. Very tired.
Mom learns to silence the voice that says “well, maybe…I could just TRY working again…part-time..somewhere?” and she stuffs her desires down, along with a few extra donut holes, perhaps.
That is, until the next time.
If you are one of those moms with reoccurring (yet bug-squashed) dreams of becoming “marketable” again or of reinventing yourself, but you just don’t know how you can do it or what you would do– allow me to prompt you with a few innocuous questions. You know—no commitment. Just to get the juices flowing again. You don’t have to actually DO anything about it just yet. But let’s just swirl some thoughts around in that beautiful head of yours.
Answer each of these (seemingly repetitive but not really) questions that might help you determine WHAT you might do, if you were ever to reinvent yourself:
- You were always meant to be a ___________________?
- What were you passionate about doing when you were around 7 or 8 years old?
- What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
- What would you do if you didn’t care what other people thought or what “everybody” will say?
- Identify your “everybody.” Side note: Most people’s “everybody” is a list of only about 5 or 6 people, some of whom they may have even lost touch with way back in 4th grade yet still believe they have to impress them for some crazy reason….even though ..they will never ever see them again. (Well, unless they stalk them on Facebook, which may happen now that the painful memory is rekindled You’re welcome.) People are also famous for having male puritanical forefathers that lived hundreds of years ago as part of their everybody. (You know, those Puritanical work ethic experts that helped this nation. PS- they are dead now.)
- When was the last time you were in a great mood, and what were you doing/what made you feel so good?
- Make a list of your biggest successes…
- What do you love about you?
- What brings you the most joy? (and let’s just assume you wrote down kids as #1. Keep going. What else? What’s that thing you love to do that you could do all day without even noticing the time?)
- This is the part where you dream big or go home. Give yourself the freedom to really explore, and get in touch with your deepest desires. Now come up with a wildly improbable career dream for yourself (it doesn’t need to make sense or be “practical” at all….you can have Jon Hamm as your naked butler and be the nightly co-host with Jon Stewart…this is just an exercise in giving yourself “freedom of thought” without anybody’s Gulliver Glum voice in the background telling you “you’ll never maaaaaaaake it!” It’s about dreaming big and telling your inner-Glum to shut the fluck up. Have fun with this, think out of the box, but just be honest with yourself. (There is no right answer. Only right for you. But it needs to be YOUR dream, not someone else’s.)
- Now read through your answers…. What do you get most excited about when you read it?
- What inspires you the most?
- How can you bring some of that inspiration into your life right now?
- What do you need to get rid of to make room for it?
- And how can you parlay your passion into something that can one day become a vocation or a career for you? Come up with 10 ideas. (Yes 10. At least. You juggle multiple schedules, make boo-boos magically go away and perform miracles at home, you can do it.) They don’t have to all make sense—just be creative and think out of the box here.
See, that didn’t hurt did it?
For those of you who really want to make your dreams happen—keep on dreaming and then start brainstorming about how you might get there. Make a list of baby step actions that you can take right now to get one tiny bit closer. There will be obstacles, but as marketing-maven Marie Forleo says, “everything is figure-outable.” So don’t let it drain you. If you get stuck, don’t give up. Go back to it when your mind is fresh again.
If you think you might want coaching in this area, schedule some sessions with me and I will be glad to help you, help yourself. We can fine-tune those goals, bust through any limiting beliefs and/or practical matters that are getting in your way to moving forward. Either way, even by merely playing with the thoughts and giving yourself permission to think about it– you are one step closer to creating the types of opportunities that you will one day be ready to seize wholeheartedly.
If any of this was helpful, please share and/or make some comments in the section below….. so I don’t think I’m talking to myself again. 😉