One of my morning rituals is to spend 15 minutes ‘flow-writing’ whatever nonsense I need to get out of my head. And as I come to the end of a month in Bali – this beautiful island with just the right mix of spirituality, relaxation and entrepreneurship – I’m loathed to admit that I’ve spent nearly every morning of my stay lamenting at how I’m ‘wasting my precious time here’.
Given that my time has been filled with yoga, swimming, meditation, running, walking, massage, deliciously healthy food, reading, writing, client work and big steps taken towards rebranding my business; all that’s left to say is….
I’ve come to the conclusion that I am far too critical of myself.
(No shit sherlock!)
I hold such exceptionally high standards for myself, and only ever notice how I fail to meet those standards. Which only results in me rebelling against them like a petulant teenager.
I tell myself that this is my opportunity to wake at 6:00am, meditate, write and head to a 7am yoga class. So instead I snooze until noon.
I tell myself that this is my opportunity to spend my days doing all the important work that will save my business and my sanity once and for all. So instead I spend my days in bed, binge watching netflix.
I tell myself that this is my opportunity to switch off in the evenings, implement a ‘no-tech’ evening ritual and learn to think about something other than work. So instead I work furiously from 5pm to 3am before I attempt to sleep – mind still buzzing and body wired.
I tell myself that I need to pull my socks up and exhibit more discipline, willpower and motivation. So instead I let myself wallow for days, weeks and months in the knowledge that I’m a complete loser… letting it affect my work, my relationship and my social life.
This critical voice is in my head has a name.
She’s called Top Cat, and she really does have my best interests at heart. All she wants for me is to create those truly magical moments where I can be at my best. Those moments where I find myself effortlessly and magnificently in flow.
But after 36 years of letting Top Cat call the shots, I have to ask the question…
How’s this approach really working for me?
Not great, I’d say.
And that’s what I usually say, and then put my head back down trying desperately to live up to Top Cat’s exacting standards. But then most of the time I haven’t been in a tropical island paradise surrounded by all the comfort and resources I need to live a life of meaning, achievement and contentment.
For once I realise that it’s definitely not me that needs to change. It’s my standards!
So here’s what I’m going to do about it….
There’s more than one voice in my head. And whilst introducing you to them all is a topic for another day, the one I think it’s important to talk about now is Daggy Cat.
She’s a bit of a hippy. She doesn’t get herself would up in the pursuit of perfection, and can find contentment in the midst of chaos. But she knows what she stands for, and will stand up and fight for what she needs and believes in. She’s motivated by love and what’s right, rather than appearances and pleasing others. And it’s time she had more input into how I live my life.
In the little realm of my head, I’m setting a new rule.
Top Cat is not going to stop offering her opinion about what I should do, be or aspire to achieve. But from now on ‘I’ call the shots after hearing from both Top Cat and Daggy Cat.
Perhaps together we can spend more time living a life of meaning, achievement and contentment.