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Feeling the pressure to postpone your life 'temporarily'?

podcast postpone pressure Nov 24, 2021

The pressure you feel to keep ‘temporarily’ postponing your life is not coming from your external circumstances.


If you’re sick of wondering why you struggle to find the time and energy for work and a life outside of work, then listen up because this episode is for you (or just read if you prefer).


For years I postponed things I longed to do to learn how to do well in my new career that I launched myself into in my 40s. I will never forget that very first day in the lecture hall when the course leader told us that he had been watching us move slowly to our seats and that by the end of the year we would be walking at teacher-speed - at a gazillion mph.


He was right and for years I resented the fact that this was what I had been taught to do. I had been taught to postpone my life in order to be a good teacher. And the moral pressure to be a good teacher is huge. Just as the pressure for all of us who want to do a good job and don’t want to let anyone else down is huge.


And yet not every teacher (or health professional or entrepreneur) ends up struggling to cope with the pressure. I swung between judging them as not being dedicated enough to admiring them and wondering how they managed to enjoy their life outside of work without compromising on the standards at work. 


I also swung between blaming the toxic system that had trained me to ignore the needs of my body - to compromise my health and relationships in order to be what they needed at work - and blaming myself for not being able to manage better. And don’t get me wrong, the system is definitely toxic and a whole lot of stuff could be done to improve it which would also impact kids mental health and emotional intelligence but fighting a system is hard work and not what I get excited about anymore.


This is what I get excited about now: the easier path - the one of least resistance. It kind of feels harder to start with but it gets easier fast. Work on the inside to create the changes you wish on the outside.


How?  Start where you are - admit that you’re sick of struggling - without judgement. Then notice all the judgement and blame that comes streaming out - of yourself for not being good enough and of all the other people and systems you can think to balm.


And then drop the judgement. 


Because the judgement isn’t going to get you anywhere. If you’re judging others or systems then know that changing them is really hard work, probably won’t work or will cost you. And right now you need all of your pressure time, energy and attention to sort yourself out.


Because you matter. It starts with you. And all the cliches about how you can’t give from an empty cup and how you should put your own oxygen mask on first are true. So cut the martyrdom and start reclaiming your life. Because whether you believe you get one life or many - this one counts.


Pause. Take stock. Notice exactly what’s going on for you right now.


Start where you are.



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