Something I hear a lot in various guises is…
“I was doing so well, I was feeling great and really positive and then I don’t know what happened, it all went wrong. I must have fallen off the wagon and I just need to get back to where I was when I was feeling good.”
Watch out, judgement’s about! My ears always prick up when I hear people talking like this.
Being in the coaching business for well over a decade and seeing hundreds of lives transform, something I know to be true is this….
**First comes the expansion, then the contraction**
We all love the expansion, and why wouldn’t we? It feels so damn good. It’s liberating, joyful and a wicked high. In the expansion space we’re tapped in to the fact that anything is possible for us. We can really dream about what we’d like to happen and believe we can do it too. Expansion rocks!
Then there’s the contraction, the uncomfortable bit where life just feels so goddamn difficult. We’re plagued by doubt and self-judgement, we feel powerless, anxious and utterly defeated by life. We’re unsure it’s ever going to happen for us and my goodness is the negative self-talk loud here. Things like ’who do you think you are? You’re not good enough. You can’t do it. Who are you trying to kid?’ are on loop in our heads. I totally get the bias towards expansion.
Of course in the bigger picture, transformation is a process of gradual expansion. But that process is a dance between cycles of expansion and contraction. Every time you go through an expansion, a contraction follows. And the intensity of the contraction depends on the degree of the expansion and how much you fight the contraction and therefore the natural process.
I recently hired my first Virtual Assistant (VA). Yay! I’m back in the land of self-employment, older, wiser, a lil more tired and realizing I can’t do it all myself any more. I’m also stretching into a less known side of me, a me that does things in a more considered way.
I took the leap in hiring her. Big expansion, it felt fantastic! I felt liberated, this was definitely the right thing to do – go me! And then I felt like a ton of crap, my mood dropped dramatically. The anxiety was out of this world, I could barely function. The part of me that believes she has to do it all herself was freaking the fuck out. Who am I if I don’t have to do it all myself? Someone that has to trust others is who. Even scarier than that, I’m someone who no longer has the excuse of having too much to do stopping me from showing up – yikes!
How change really works
We transform our lives by moving forward and making progress. This forward movement brings up some old shit that we’ve been carrying around. We clear said shit which leads to more progress and forward movement. Progress brings up more shit and on and on the cycle goes…..
How we think change works (and how that makes us act)
We want to make progress in a non-stop linear fashion where we increasingly get better without experiencing any setbacks. This doesn’t happen and we experience a setback. We freak out, panic and worry. Now we’re in a state of contraction and all our old shit comes up pointing out all that is wrong with us and why it will never work. We pretend we’re fine, lose our shit behind closed doors and then slap on a plaster of choice (alcohol, food, sex, work etc) until we temporarily feel better. Once we feel better we resume the chasing of the dream of non-stop progress again and keep pushing through. We do this over and over again until we realise it’s no longer working for us.
If there’s something you want in life, you will get it by growing into the person who has it. Contraction will happen. Discomfort is guaranteed but it’s your choice whether you will go through it or grow through it. Is it shit or manure?