Each day their precious time, energy and attention is gobbled away, leaving them in an exhausted heap. They crawl to bed only to suffer through a restless sleep, before waking and beginning the dance all over again.
They maintain a constant juggle, meeting the demands of their kids, boss, in-laws, partner, clients, school, clubs and even some friends.
They know things aren’t working, but feel they have no choice in what they do and when they do it.
When I ask to know more, outpours the list. The list of ‘have tos’
The events they have to go to. The commitments they have to keep. The schedule they have to maintain to run the kids around. The expectations they have to meet to keep up at work.
The demands of life have taken over and their goal each day is to simply survive the overwhelm.
It’s not only an exhausting way to live, its unfulfilling and fills you with resentment.
So much so, that I now teach my clients how to make subtle and yet powerful changes to their language that will switch them from ‘life passenger’ to ‘life driver’ in an instant.
Heavy and restrictive words like I have to… can become the lighter and more proactive I choose to. And once you own your actions as a choice, possibility becomes a real option.
I still remember the client who told me she had to cook dinner every night and she was sick of it. She truly believed she had no choice. If she didn’t cook no one else would.
I asked her what would happen if she didn’t cook tonight’s meal. “They’ll all eat toast or get takeaway, no one will cook”, was her answer.
“So, no one would starve, nothing terrible would happen?” I asked. “Your family just won’t have the nourishing meal you want them to have?
“That’s right,” she said.
“So you choose to nourish your family with a home cooked meal every night?” I enquired.
“Yes, Yes I do,” she nodded. “What they eat is important to me.”
That’s the recipe for living a fulfilled life. Doing what’s important to YOU, and owning that choice.
“Sounds different when you say it like that,” she said. I want to prepare meals for them, now I recognise how important it is to me. I suppose there are others ways I can do that.”
Free from the resentment of ‘have to’, she went on to brainstorm a clever list of ways she could pre-prepare healthy options for the nights she didn’t feel like cooking.
She was in the driver’s seat once again.
Language is powerful. It can feel heavy and restrictive or light and full of possibility.
It’s lighter to say ‘I choose to’ rather than ‘I have to’.
Switch ‘never’ to ‘unlikely” or ‘rarely’.
And ‘always’ to ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’.
Who knows what doors may open for you in the future, what you can’t see or even approach today because your words and thoughts are blocking the path.
Changing the way we speak is a practice, and it takes a lot of practice to improve. But it may just be the most important change you ever make, because it will change your view of the world.