As a coach, it's my job to ask women questions. Lots of them. Over the years, I've seen patterns of the women that come to me and what questions to ask to get down to the nitty-gritty of their lives. In no particular order, here are five questions I'd love for you to answer about yourself…
1. Who are my people? I have found that in my experience and in many of my clients lives as well, when we reach the age of around 30, we tend to not have the types of female friendships that we really truly want. We’ve grown away from old friendships, or moved, or been burned before, or maybe we just can’t seem to connect with the type of people we really want to connect with. So, ask yourself: Who do I need to eliminate or spend less time with? Who do I need to attract or spend more time with? And get to work.
2. What lights my fire? It doesn't have to be something massive like saving orphans. In fact, I think the whole “finding your purpose” thing is a little overrated. But, what are the things that really make you excited? When do you have the most fun? What are you doing and who are you with? And really, when was the last time you HAD ANY FUN? That should help point you in the direction of what lights your fire.
3. What are my issues that need to be taken care of? We all have them, so don’t act like you’re “fine” and that you don’t have shit from your childhood or past relationships. And I find it a bit ironic that this one follows me preaching about having fun because dealing with issues most of the time isn’t The Most Fun Time Ever. But, if you don’t get your issues handled, they will follow you into every relationship you have. They’ll become so much a part of you that you won’t realize that you’ve become resentful, cynical, and afraid all the time until decades have passed. Your mental health is critical to the way you show up in your life and it affects everyone around you. Treat it like you would a wound on your physical body.
4. What am I tolerating? What can you not stand? WHO can you not stand? As women, we can deal with a lot of shit. But, that doesn’t mean that we HAVE to deal with it. I challenge you to make a list of what you’re tolerating right now in your life. Is it a co-worker that talks to you disrespectfully? Is your partner not taking on any household responsibilities even though you both work? You end up with what you put up with. I know that’s obvious, but there is probably at least one thing in your life that you (either silently or not) complain about and want it changed. So have a goddamned hard conversation about it. Hey– I don’t love those conversations either, but the longer you wait to have it, the more you have to live with it and the more pissed off you get about it so when you DO finally have the talk, you’re more likely to explode in a mess of madness.
Or maybe you’re tolerating the way you treat yourself. No one really knows the way you talk to yourself, so it’s easier to hide. But, sister, I invite you to out yourself. We all do it, but some more than others. If you’re putting up with regular internal shit talking, it’s time to commit to a new way talking to yourself.
5. Where am I not showing up in my life? It’s probably one of these places: Partnership, parenting, friendships, career, goals/dreams, and/or your self-care.
Am I right?
Look, I’m not trying to make you wrong for not showing up 100 percent in all those areas. It’s normal if you aren’t. I find it very difficult to give it all I’ve got in my marriage, 2 small kids, a business, manage to get a pap smear, and see my friends (not those two things at the same time though). Naturally, none of us can do it all perfectly. But, what I want to know is where might you be falling short on purpose? Sounds crazy, right? Hear me out: You might be not trying very hard in your career because you’re afraid of success. You might be not showing up in your friendships because you’re afraid of getting stabbed in the back again. You might be avoiding getting closer to your partner because you’re afraid of being vulnerable. Notice what those examples have in common? Fear.
Fear (and scarcity) will keep us small over and over again. It’s safer to avoid. It’s safer to play small. There’s no risk we tell ourselves. But in reality, the real risk is not showing up. The real regret will come in 10, 20 or 50 years when it’s too late.