How to stop feeling like you should be farther in life by now

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I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of putting this crazy amount of pressure on myself all the time.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had wildly high expectations of myself. The strange thing is, this never really came from external sources. My parents, teachers, and friends have always been 100% supportive and never made me feel like I should be any certain way.

But despite it all, I’ve heaped and piled the pressure on myself to be successful, do things perfectly (the first time, of course), and generally have my life completely figured out.

It’s taken quite a lot of time (and plenty of coaching) for me to release most of this internal pressure, but I’ll be the first to admit that it still pops up from time to time.

This summer, though, I’ve decided that I’m over feeling pressured.

I’ve made it my personal mission to do whatever it takes to release these mounds of self-induced pressure because it’s exhausting at best, and debilitating at worst.

In fact, I just updated my list of Core Desired Feelings to include “relief” because that’s pretty much the opposite of pressure. Just thinking the word “relief” feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

As I’m going through my own personal pressure detox, I’m noticing many of my clients putting this kind of pressure on themselves, too. In particular, I’m seeing people stressing themselves out about figuring out their passion – the thing (career, hobby, side hustle, etc.) they’ll want to do forever and never get sick of it.

“I’m already (insert any age between 21-65 — I’ve heard this from people of all ages),” they’ll say. “I should have figured out what I want to do with my life by now!”

{Ugh, I hate that word “should.” Let’s agree to stop “shoulding” all over ourselves.}

So today I want to send a reminder to you, to my clients, and yeah, to myself, too.

Whenever you feel the internal pressure mounting and you’re feeling like you “should” be a certain place in your life by now, I want you to keep this one key thing in mind:

Your decisions don’t need to be permanent.

You’re allowed to learn, and grow, and change your mind.

Now, this is easier said than done because goes against most conventional wisdom. We were all told to decide what you want to do when you’re 18 or 19 so you can pick your college major, so you can get a job in that field, so you can work there for the next several decades.

{Holy crap, that’s a LOT of pressure to put on a teenager!}

Because of this, people feel flakey, or self-critical, or like they’re falling “behind” if they want to change their mind later on … and that’s when they really start piling on the pressure to figure it all out immediately.

If you ask yourself, “What’s my passion? What do I want to do for the rest of my life?” you’re most likely going to freeze up and shut down. That’s a seriously loaded question that comes with a whole heck of a lot of pressure.

Instead, start asking yourself, “What do I love doing right now? What could I spend a whole day doing and be perfectly happy? What actions, causes, people, or topics light me up and make me feel the most me?” That’s a very different internal dialogue that feels spacious and free instead of constricting and heavy.

What you decide you want in your life might change, and that’s OK — it’s great, in fact. Life would be pretty boring if your goals and desires never evolved. The key is to focus on what you love and what energizes you right now and trust that the next step will reveal itself when the time is right.

It’s like that famous Martin Luther King, Jr., quote:

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

{And if you’re not sure what you love or what that first step is, talk to one of us personally — helping you figure that out is what we do.}

Now I want to know what you’re putting pressure on yourself about and how you’re planning to stop. Leave a comment to let me know!

Much love,

Kristen (+ Rachel)

4 Comments // ADD COMMENT

4 comments

  • Abby

    Wow! This is exactly what I needed to read tonight! I just had a conversation tonight with my best friend about how I don’t know if “I’m doing enough” and feeling like I should be further along. The truth is I’ve worked my butt off and had a lot of growth! I’m still growing my business and my life and that’s ok. I always will be…. And what I have is awesome. Thank you so much for the reminder!! Xoxo

    • Clarity on Fire

      Don’t you love synchronous timing like this? Glad this helped you put things in perspective and realize you ARE doing awesome!

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