Showing up for yourself

Last week, I talked about the tendency we all have to avoid ourselves, and offered some gentle reflection questions you could use to examine how this shows up in your life.

There are lots of places we could go next. I’d love to hear what came up for you when you thought about the questions I posed (please hit respond and let me know!).

I’d also love to hear any insights you have about why these tendencies are prevalent in your life and in our lives in general (again, hit reply! I love having these kinds of conversations).

But what’s been on my mind is how this tendency to avoid ourselves is affecting the way we live and work, and how we show up for what’s most important to us.

Given that there are so many choices to make—so many options for tuning in, consuming, shutting down our own thinking—we’re often not making space for the things that could make a real difference in our work and lives.

Things like…

Getting to the heart of the impact you want to make in the world, so you can help the people who need to hear from you.

Developing an intentional writing practice, so that you have a supportive place to turn to when things feel hard or joyful and you can’t contain those feelings inside you.

Asking for help in creating something you believe the world needs, but that you can’t quite get done all on your own.

Identifying how you behave when you’re good and thoroughly stuck, and then brainstorming ahead of time so the next time you get stuck, you can move through it with greater ease.

Embracing a coaching practice that asks you to be kind and gentle with yourself at every step of the process, rather than treating yourself like a project or something broken that needs to be fixed.

Committing to breathwork, a practice that uses the power of your breath for self-healing.

Diving deep into how you want your everyday life to look, and then taking deliberate, measured steps to actually get there.

These things sound good. But it can be tough to really set aside time to actually do them.

It’s easier to scroll Instagram or check your email or listen to a podcast…and then decide you don’t have enough time, or that your needs aren’t important enough or won’t get you results fast enough, or that you have better things to do.

(It’s hard to type those things because I can see them in my own life as well as the lives of others around me. Please know I’m saying those things with the utmost love and care for you and for me.)

One answer to this dilemma (and truly, this is only one out of many possible answers)?

Hire someone to help you.

When you pay someone money in exchange for their help, you’re going to show up. You’re going to do the work. And you’re likely going to have more confidence in your ability to follow through than you would on your own.

Now this doesn’t apply to everyone. There are always exceptions. I know there will be some of you who are doing these kinds of things without necessarily needing to hire help. To you, I say, wonderful. Go forth and do. Take this moment to appreciate that about yourself.

To the rest of us (me included)? Those ideas I listed above are real things you can hire a real person to help you with. And if you need help with something else, it's likely there's someone out there who offers what you need (feel free to email; I might have an idea or recommendation!).

One of the struggles we face with the growing amount of information (and distractions) available to us today is the ability to commit to the pace at which true growth happens. We want more, shiny, new, now—when what is often required is less, steady, slow.

Hiring someone involves an inherent commitment to do the work at a slower, more steady pace.

And with the number of incredible humans out there offering varied and deeply helpful services, it's pretty likely you'll be able find someone you respect, admire, and feel safe with who can help you with the thing to which you want to commit your time and energy.

Of course, I know budget can be a factor. You can’t hire someone for everything—much as you may like to! (I know I sure would.)

So next time, we’ll talk about ways to narrow in on what to focus on first.

But today, I want to end with where we started: that avoiding ourselves is affecting the way we live and work.

When we make a commitment to something we know can make a positive impact on our lives, we build up trust in ourselves.

That, in turn, will help us continue to show up for the things that are most important to us, as well as make space for us to show up for the world in which we live—a world that desperately needs us to show up.

(I’d love to hear any thoughts or ideas that have come to mind as you read this! Always feel free to hit reply or send me a message on Instagram.)

With love,
As always,
Erica


P.S. In case you're interested, here are links to the services I mentioned above:

Mine:
Core Message Coaching
Explore: Intentional Writing
Content Collaboration
Stay Unstuck: A Guide to Awareness + Action

Friends:
Be With coaching
Breathwork sessions (she also offers a membership with group sessions)
Future You coaching

Avoiding ourselves

A few months ago, I led a workshop on intentional writing at Fearless Fest (a student-centered celebration of the spirit of yoga led by two local friends).

I attended the entire weekend-long event, and found myself having the same conversation again and again with different people—about the ways we avoid ourselves.

When we write, do yoga, or meditate (among other things), we show up for ourselves. We face our emotions and feelings and self at that present moment. And that can feel scary.

So, all too often, we spend time and energy and money putting barriers up between ourselves and…ourselves.

Music. Podcasts. Books. Netflix. Education. Social media. Work. All of these things (and plenty more) can be healthy parts of our lives. But they can also be methods of distraction, ways to avoid being alone with ourselves.

When I initially wrote this, I moved on from that point to another I wanted to make (about how we can deal with this tendency).

But as I read back through it, I felt that I was rushing past something important.

I wasn’t giving us enough time to really sit with this idea.

So…let’s sit with it.

Here are a couple of prompts we can all use to think about our tendency to avoid ourselves, and the impact of when we do…and when we don’t.

Let’s think about the recent past—maybe it’s the last few hours, maybe the last few days; whatever feels comfortable to you. Then think about (or write down your answers to) these questions:

  • How and when were you comfortably alone with yourself? What did that feel like before, during, and after?
  • How and when did you avoid yourself? What did that feel like before, during, and after?
  • How and when were you present and intentional? What did that feel like before, during, and after?
  • How and when were you acting on autopilot? What did that feel like before, during, and after?
  • Do you see any patterns emerging in your answers?

Now, this is really important: Attach no judgment to your answers. This isn’t about being right or wrong; it’s about simply being aware.

We’ll talk more about this next time (I saved the rest of my writing to share with you then).

This time around, let’s just take a moment to be aware without needing to take any other action. Enjoy that moment—it’s one in which you haven’t avoided yourself. And that moment is enough.

Until next time,
With much love,
Erica


P.S. If you liked the prompts I shared and want to do more of this kind of writing,
check out Explore: 31 Days of Intentional Writing.

You’ll get:

  • a guide that helps you set a meaningful intention,
  • 31 days of prompts delivered straight to your inbox (that help you explore what’s true for you in your past, present, and future),
  • and another guide that will help you use what you created—both momentum and words—as you move forward.

Explore is self-paced, but if you’d like some guidance and accountability as you work through it, let me know! We can easily set up regular check-ins to help keep you on track.

If you’d like to explore yourself more deeply, as well as experiment with an intentional writing practice, check out Explore right here!


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Considering strong foundations

Let’s talk about strong foundations for a minute.

I typed that sentence and then sat still for quite some time, looking off into the distance, trying to think of what to say next.

Kathleen of Braid Creative and Being Boss shared a piece of advice years ago that I’ve never forgotten: When you’re having a hard time making your point, type something like “What I really want to say is…” Even if you delete it later, it’ll get you get moving again.

So what I really want to say is…that it’s hard to sum up my thoughts about strong foundations in a cohesive whole.

The idea has been on my mind a lot, and has made it into my core message, onto my website, and into my daily thinking and language.

But to be perfectly honest, I’m still exploring this particular area of my work. It’s clear to me that this idea has been lurking in the background throughout all that I’ve done and offered, but I’m just now seeing it more clearly.

And one of the ways I explore the different angles and edges of an idea is by writing about it, sharing it, and then discussing it with you—through emails, Instagram comments, and sometimes (joyfully!), real face-to-face conversations.

So where I was getting stuck as I was gazing off into the distance (something I do a lot, by the way, and that I highly recommend) is that I was trying to define my idea, to explain it clearly and concisely, to sum it up—when I’m really just not there yet.

So instead, I’m going to make some statements:

Strong foundations don’t have to be big shiny things.

They’re already in our lives, in the everyday things that are going smoothly.

The things we do well, often without thinking about it.

Those moments when the effort of trying to create a new way of doing or being pays off, and you relax into a new pattern.

Strong foundations are practices, systems, agreements, routines, decisions, habits, checklists, documents…so many things.

The habit of setting your coffee maker the night before? That’s a strong foundation.

The willingness to ask for help when you need it (a trait you worked hard to build)? That’s a strong foundation.

The list of go-to meals taped inside your kitchen cabinet? That’s a strong foundation.

The writing practice you only need sometimes, but that feels so good when you turn to it? That’s a strong foundation.

The cleaning schedule you made, the systems you set up in your work, the commitment you made to be compassionate, the library card that helps you (and your wallet) stay out of the bookstore, the document you made with all the things you know to be true about the work you do, the gym bag you keep in your car, the work you’ve done to lower unrealistic expectations, the email templates you created, the hour a month you spend getting a massage, the time you spend walking your dog each morning, the yoga practice you’ve committed to for the next month, the standing weekly friend date you never miss, the intentional breathing you do in bed in the morning before you get up? All strong foundations.

I believe these strong foundations help us live well.

And I believe that living well helps each of us contribute the things we’re meant to (time, money, energy, ideas, support, encouragement, kindness—it’s different for everyone) to the world in which we live.

Therefore, I believe that if we can be intentional about our strong foundations, we can contribute in a greater way—in the way so many of us long to contribute.

This isn’t about a big aha moment or a sudden burst of clarity. It’s about committing to the process. It’s about paying attention. It’s about believing that the choices you make, the work you put in, the decisions you stick to will make a difference—because they will.

Every day, we’re each building our own foundations. And I believe that if we show up in that process with intention and care, we’ll build even stronger foundations for ourselves—and for those around us.

That’s where I am with strong foundations, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to hit reply, or to leave a comment on this post on Instagram. Your perspective and thoughts always make my understanding and feelings about whatever I’m writing or thinking about more rich and layered. Thank you for being here with me!

With much love,
As always,
Erica


P.S. The work I do is steeped in this idea of strong foundations:

Core Message Coaching is about creating a strong written foundation for the work you do, content you create, and more.

Explore is about creating a writing practice that you can turn to again and again.

Stay Unstuck is about preparing yourself for the inevitability of getting stuck, so you have a strong foundation of ideas and skills to turn to when you need them.

And Content Collaboration is about having a strong team (you + me!) working on your important content, creating a solid base from which to share your ideas.

I'd love to work with you to build strong foundations!


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