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Avoiding Shoulds

December 20, 2010


Today’s Prompt:
Beyond avoidance.

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

“Should”? Really? I’m surprised to see this word show up in Reverb10. It’s definitely not a word with good reverberations. Isn’t it, like, New Age Enlightenment 101 to “avoid” this word?

It’s certainly Coaching 101. It’s a mantra I, as a coach, tell my clients all the time. It’s my duty to help them free themselves of the “shoulds” and discover what they really “want” to do.

Sure, my little rant would be more powerful if I’d actually managed to avoid the shoulds myself. You know, walk the talk. But that wouldn’t be honest.

Shoulds are deeply ingrained tapes many of us have playing in our heads. I’ve certainly tried my darnedest to banish the “shoulds” from my own life. Those little buggers are persistent! This word still gets more than its fair share of air-time in my internal vocabulary. I could come up with a mile-long list of things I didn’t do in 2010 because I was too scared, worried, unsure or busy. Things I told myself I “should” have done. Things I’ve berated myself for not doing.

But, the fact is, there were also plenty of things I DID do in 2010, despite being too scared, worried, unsure or busy. There’s nothing that from the outside appears dramatic (skydiving and bungee jumping have no place on my bucket list), but they have been important steps in my gradual evolution:

  • I started this blog.
  • I actually told people I started this blog.
  • I’ve ramped up my spiritual journey, which involves overcoming lots of long-held beliefs that it’s weird to talk about “God stuff.”
  • I stepped out of my comfort zone many times, in many situations.
  • I stepped back into leadership positions, after many years of avoiding them.

There’s plenty to do in 2011 that I could be too scared, worried, unsure or busy to do.  In the spirit of coaching myself here, I’m going to reframe them from “shoulds” into “it’s time to’s.” So, in 2011, it’s time to:

  • Take my coaching business to the next level. (Pick a direction and go with it. Make a sign saying failure welcome here!)
  • Commit to regular exercise. (I’ve already joined a new gym that’s opening in 9 days.)
  • Commit to a regular meditative practice. (I was just looking at some CD programs today, thanks to my Reverb10 friends.)
  • Get significantly out of my comfort zone even more at least once a week.

I truly am excited — and scared and worried and unsure — about these things. It must be time to jump.


Coach’s Query

How will you “jump” in 2011?

  1. I saw your tweet about this day’s prompt and instantly knew I’d love your post. For some reason I got a headache after getting today’s prompt, but your response to it floored me and sort of redeemed the whole experience! Thank you. I love the ability to take an idea (prompt), turn it on its head, and make it your own (make it better). Thank you again!

    • Michelle Buzgon permalink

      Thanks, Abby! I’ve been inspired by others with the courage to do the same. (Hmmm …. this might have been something else I’ve done this year that I might not have done in the past.) I see you did today, too.

  2. This is a powerful post. I didn’t even notice the “should” in the question. I just focused on the word AVOID and was lost!

    Thanks for the nice compliment left on the blog. I look forward to following yours!


  3. My therapist always tells me to stop “shoulding” all over myself:) It makes me laugh AND remember to not use that word! Let’s jump;)

  4. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

    I love your attitude. Very positive and proactive. I hope you get to check off everything from your list for 2011.

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