Lin* was a stay-home Mom of three school aged kids. She worked from sun up to sun down, striving to do her best. Even in the summer, she made sure her kids ate healthy, organic foods, practiced piano, played outside, spoke kindly and read books. Her life was dedicated to being the best Mom she could be. She read parenting books, took parenting classes, and treated motherhood like her career. When one of her kids got a bad grade, she felt like a failure. She thought she would be rewarded for her hard work, but she’s still waiting for the praise and accolades. With no report card or performance review, Lin struggles to know if her hard work is worth the investment.
Schools teach us to look to the outside for information, answers and feedback. We listen to lectures, read books, and internalize information that comes from outside sources. Then, we apply our knowledge on a test or presentation and await feedback to find out whether it was considered valuable. This system is subconsciously training us to rely on external sources for information, answers, wisdom and positive reinforcement.
Danielle* was a hard worker. She put in extra hours at work, was always more than prepared for presentations and was great at follow through. She believed that if she worked hard and did a good job, she would be recognized by her superiors and rewarded. Instead she gets overlooked for promotions and while she is well-liked by her team, she believes her financial compensation is not where it should be.
This week at my Girls Leadership Camp, I’m teaching the value of turning inward for information, accolades, and motivation. Big light bulbs go on when the girls get permission to listen to the answers they’ve had inside all along. Whether we call it gut instincts, inner wisdom, wise guide, or higher self, it is constantly giving us valuable information. When we turn inward for answers, we can tell if we are believing a lie, going outside our comfort zone, operating from our highest self, playing small, hiding, or avoiding. We don’t need praise or rewards, we just need to show up in our lives, and be the person we are meant to be.
The only person you need to take advice from, is your future self. Imagine yourself twenty years into the future: What do you look like? Where do you live? What accomplishments are you proud of? Ask your future self any question you have, like: Should I ask for a raise? Quit my job? Put my kids in private school? What should I eat? What kind of exercise should I do? Should we move? You won’t believe the wisdom your future self can offer you, once you build a relationship with her.
Danielle’s future self told her it was time to stop trying to downplay and minimize her efforts, and start believing in her value to the company. She got better at owning her accomplishments in front of her superiors, practiced self-confidence, and got the promotion and praise she deserved.
Lin’s future self reminded her that she loved being a stay-home Mom. That she wasn’t choosing this life to create perfect kids, but because she enjoyed it. When Lin switched her focus to having the most fun possible, her kids relaxed, the stress level went down and everyone felt permission to pursue the interests they loved the most.
What advice would your future self give you today?