Maybe You Are Just Fine Where You ArePosted: February 15, 2013
Marlin Brando playing Terry Malloy in “On the Waterfront”
A few summers ago, I was meeting with a client and she said “I really could have been someone in my life and now look at me.” I looked at this forty year old woman with three healthy children and a part time job raising money for non-profits and I was quite impressed with who she was as a person, a mother and a business woman. But in her core this woman believed that she was not good enough because she had not achieved as much as she had anticipated she would. It appeared she was valuing herself by a standard that insists outward accomplishments define who we are and she was not where she felt she should be in life. I know many of us have had this thought.
I remember a time many years ago when I felt exactly like my client. All the peers that I had worked with at a large law firm were now partners or heads of investment funds and I gave it all up to become a mother, business coach, a consultant — any way I said it at the time led to the feeling that I was “off track” and not accomplished. I went from having my own successful law practice to having a baby, doing laundry and coaching three clients.
One day, I began thinking to myself – how would I feel without this nagging thought that I was unsuccessful and had not achieved enough in my life? How would I feel if I gave up the thought that I should be anywhere else than where I am standing? So I closed my eyes and imagined letting go of thoughts that I was not successful and should be doing more. It felt great. Yet, even though I knew it felt great, it was not so easy to give up these thoughts and they would return again and again.
That was a point when Maybe helped me tremendously. It allowed me to engage in the possibility that Maybe my thoughts of “not achieving” were not true at all. Maybe I was exactly where I needed to be. Maybe my life was on the right track. Maybe it was all okay no matter if I had three coaching clients or twenty coaching clients. The idea of Maybe worked because it allowed me to cast doubt on my thoughts instead of on myself.
For five minutes a day, I would sit silently and breathe in and out with this idea of Maybe and I started to feel really good. When I allowed myself to contemplate how I truly felt without my “standards of success,” I realized that I was really happy being a mother and working with my few clients. I knew that I wanted to grow my business but Maybe helped me see that life would keep unfolding and if I had more goals and dreams that they could still happen. Maybe gave me the opportunity to stop arguing where I was in my life and it made me feel peaceful and content in the moment and very hopeful for my future. Today, I have achieved many of my goals from so long ago and I still do this exercise everyday to find peace in the present and open up to more possibilities.
So wherever you are in life, whatever point of the journey you are on, allow yourself the possibility that Maybe you are just fine where you are and see how it makes you feel. Without that thought that “you coulda been a contender” you may find that you are more content with your choices and that you are grateful for the life that you have in the moment. It doesn’t mean you give up your goals and dreams for tomorrow, it just allows you to pursue them with an acceptance of now and with hope and strength going forward.