My client Sasha is about to lose her job. Her company in London has announced severe cuts. She has been frustrated and bored in her position for years. Through our work together, Sasha has faced her fears and now sees the imminent loss of her job as a golden opportunity – to create a new career, to find an ideal job which will utilize her talents and which she will feel passionate about. She is feeling positive and brave, looking into the future. What Sasha has in front of her – she is 45 years old and mother of two girls – is a blank white page on which she can draw what she likes. And then we will work together to make it happen – using innovative tools such as strategic planning, resourceful networking and visibility raising.
The challenge has been, however, to come up with things to draw on that sheet of paper. A session after a session, Sasha would tell me what kind of activities or jobs she could do but there was no passion in her voice. When we went through a set of exercises which dig into our deepest desires and passions, Sasha had few unconvincing answers. She had a lot of doubt and hesitation. I was wondering what was going on. We noticed together that Sasha had a very strong Inner Critic who did not allow her to even mentally go into unknown, unexplored place. “What about income? You won’t make money doing that!” the Voice would step in and Sasha would stop any free thinking immediately. I asked her to give herself permission to dream and forget for the time being about the money aspect. But Sasha could not.
What I uncovered is that Sasha stopped feeding her soul and passions a long time ago. A busy working mom of two small kids, she would go to work and come straight home in the evenings. She would take care of her daughters until 9pm, and when they went to bed she was exhausted to do anything that stimulated her mind and brought her joy. Each time Sasha saw an ad about a lecture or a concert that she would love to attend, the same voice would creep in “It is not related to the family and it starts after 7pm, so “No”, we are not going!” Sasha was the last one on the list of her priorities. No wonder that she has lost the ability to dream or could not find anything she felt passionate about.
First, she has been forcing herself to do the job she hated by talking herself out of boredom and frustration by again invoking the family benefits and making herself feel ‘grateful’ about having a job at all at this economy. Back home, she kept pushing herself, again putting others’ interests ahead of hers. Her mind was never free, was never hers. She was saturated.
Without without time for ourselves, without time for joy and stimulation, we cannot dream. We need time, and we need space to do that. We need new experiences that stimulate our mind and essence, that give us something fresh. Sasha had none of it.
Her homework was to do one – just ONE – thing that she enjoys by herself, and not with her daughters, that week. She picked to go for a walk in the nearby woods. On her own. Next time we spoke Sasha was feeling freer, her thoughts loosened up to create a space for imagination. New creative ideas began to emerge.