Have you heard of or read the book "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandburg? If you haven't read it, "Lean In" provides a compelling argument for women and mothers to continue to climb the corporate ladder. Certainly, the debate about whether or not women can actually "have it all" has been a hot one over the past few years. In the meantime, women every single day are busy with the never-ending sorting out of their own choices in their heads and in their hearts.
The premise of the book "Lean In" is just one piece of the endless tug of war that exists both in our wider culture and deep within ourselves. But today I'm expanding upon the definition of "leaning in". I want it to mean that you are wholeheartedly doing what's important to you.
In both my work and personal life I've been around many amazing women who have made hard and very personal choices. They have had to decide what to do (and not to do), what to prioritize, and how to spend their time. The feelings that accompany those choices are palpable. Shame, doubt, fear, wistfulness, and isolation are only a few of the tough ones. Joy, relief, happiness, and excitement are a few of the good ones. The feelings tied to our choices can be continual and ever-changing. And to say that it is a constant juggling act for many women would be an understatement. Regardless, those decisions have rarely come easy for all the women I know or work with (myself included).
But what would the world be like if we all cut each other - and ourselves - a break and genuinely supported and encouraged individual choice? What would your life be like if you had a cheering squad for your decisions?
Today's post is about relieving the self-judgment and fear associated with your own choices. It is about helping you to determine what it would look like for you to truly, really "lean in" to your own life. It is about helping you to embrace your lean-in, and to find clarity about and resolution to what might be in your way.
While the book "Lean In" has an agenda, this blog series is without agenda. Instead, it is aimed to help you answer one big, but simple, question:
Are you leaning in to your own life?
What does "leaning in to your own life" mean? "Leaning in" means that you are making those personal and unique decisions to do what's in your heart.
And to not apologize or judge yourself for whatever that is.
How can you begin to determine if you're leaning into your own life? Ask yourself this question. It's commonly referred to in therapy as "the magic question:"
If I could do anything, what would I be doing?
To dive further, here are a couple more questions to help you uncover your real desires:
- If I had no financial concerns and could make any choice I wanted to I would choose to spend my time:
- If I knew that tomorrow I would be diagnosed with a life changing illness, I would wish I had:
- In my day dreams, I often find myself wishing that I could:
What's coming up for you? What are those images in your head and those wishes in your heart?
Are you beginning to get an idea? Wonderful. Take some time to write down your thoughts. If you keep a journal, that would be a great place to put them down.
Over the next few weeks, we'll address a number of emotional barriers that can commonly, but powerfully, get in the way. These include:
Guilt: When your heart feels pulled in two directions.
Judgment: What will others think? What do your choices say?
Doubt: When you're wavering and you're not sure you can.
Permission: Who else are you needing approval from? What constraints are present?
So, to review: what is leaning in to your life? Leaning in to your life means that you wholeheartedly step into the big parts of the life that you envision for yourself. That you are doing what you want to be doing. Whatever that is. Fully and with your whole self.
It means that fear and apology are diminishing and that confidence and fulfillment are increasing. That you are living the life you imagined.
Why is this important? Many reasons. The top two are that 1) we only get one life; and 2) that you'll be happiest and at your best if you're giving your time and energy to what's most important to you. (repeat: you).
So I'll ask you one more time:
What is that one thing you really want to do? And what is in your way?
If you're not sure what it might look like to lean into your life, then this series is definitely for you. If you have an idea of what it might look like to lean in, but there's something in your way and you can't quite get on board with it, this series is absolutely for you. And if you're already leaning in to your wants and dreams, then my hope is this series helps strengthen your emotional clarity and wellness around your choices. I can't wait to share this journey with you.
Read on for the next series post: Lean In to Your Life Part 1: Banish Your Doubt
Lauren L. Drago, MSEd, LMHC, LPC is the founder of Lauren Drago Therapy in Old Saybrook, CT and in greater CT, NY & PA. She specializes in working with smart, insightful and capable women to overcome stress, anxiety, loss of identity, self-limiting beliefs, perfectionism, marriage strain, and the pressure of "trying to do it all." Lauren has a passion for helping others to achieve the happy, fulfilling, productive, and meaningful life they deserve by changing how they experience and understand their world. She believes that every woman can and should live out her personal definition of her own best life. Follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Call (860) 339-6515 for your free initial 15-minute consultation.