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The weight of expectation

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Do you ever get songs stuck in your head for a day, a week or maybe you have “a song” that stirs your thinking and resonates with your life.

Everyone’s Waiting….and its getting harder to hear what my heart keeps saying…

You might recall this line from a Missy Higgins song a few years back, one of my faves from The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle album. On so many levels this song really spoke to me…and I mean really spoke to me…and still does…with increasing volume.

I’ve never met Missy or spoken to her directly about the true inspiration behind her writing these lyrics or the intended meaning, so what I share here is my interpretation of the message in the song only.

To me, the lyrics seem to tell the story of the inner anguish of choice…choices made, procrastinations, let go or missed, churning in the background while life goes. Stepping up day in day out, to do what’s expected rather than wants desired. Life seems to be going on via auto pilot.

Everyone’s waiting…at one point she seems to talk about going through the motions, deliver on the expectations of the audience – whoever the audience maybe. She expands by detailing her ability to deliver without great effort….and that the delivery of expectation is not about her…it never is…and yet the very reason for the lessons she’s learnt over time.

It would seem, this auto-pilot experience has been going on so long – she’s almost completely lost contact with her inner voice and what makes her her….getting harder to hear the difference between expectation/obligation and her own heart felt desire. To be clear on this, when I refer to ‘her’ I’m referring to the character in the song, not Missy herself.

Certainly throughout the course of my life, I’ve had a lot of educational lessons –informational, inspirational, experiential and in some scenarios, the education even came with qualifications. Some of the education has been chosen, some mandatory, while others opportunistic, strategic and highly beneficial in progressing me through life personally and professionally.

Elements of my education have been highly relevant and critical to the pursuit of a desired path …and there have been multiple paths along the way; its also fair to say some ‘lessons’  have been a waste of the available resources of the time…it takes a lot for me to say education of any kind is wasteful.

The distinction between lessons being a value-add or wasteful is in one of my favourite sayings:

“To know and not yet do, is to not yet know” Lao Tzu

Think about it, the jokes about the value of learning trigonometry at high school, speaks volumes about how much we really desire the lesson…even though we probably experience applied trigonometry all around us on a daily basis.

How many ‘How to..” books have you read and then lived? How many workshops and seminars have you invested in – been all fired up at the time…only to return to reality bites deal almost immediately.

Experiential lessons are no different…think about gym memberships, diets/health plans or even coaches and mentors you’ve invested in overtime…and what is your conversion rate from experience to application to success ratio?

Stay with me…all is not lost…especially when you recognise what’s challenging your ability to hear what your heart keeps saying.

This ongoing mind game between fear and faith – its been with you since birth – I promise, and I would even go so far as to say as kids we heard our hearts calling loud and clear. As kids our imaginations ran wild and our talents were evident in our artwork, our storytelling and how we impacted on our environment of the time – be that a cubby in the lounge from blankets and cushions or back yard adventures. Until, at some point …some kill joy, well-meaning adult came along in the form of a parent, teacher or total random …with a message to either encourage or deter the behaviour of the moment.

Overtime, the consistent piece I’ve noticed in my coaching clients and students (as well as in myself)– is the people that have had the most impact and influence are not always the people writing the books, delivering the lessons on a stage and so on. It’s the people we interact with throughout life who ultimately shape our experience.

There are so many facets to this conversation, from what your heart is trying to tell you in relation to your professional pursuits to family life to self-care to contribution to adventure and let alone in the  moment.

In my experience what so often happens, is people come to coaching/mentoring with a desired goal of some description and the detail with which they can describe their deepest desire is phenomenal…like they’re already there.

So what’s the problem I hear you say….get on with it is the catchcry!!

…and there it is. When it comes to getting on with it, there’s that nagging little voice that chimes in with some past- lifetime reminder that either supports or negates your momentum building step toward your desire – usually the latter.

  • It could be a childhood school yard taunt that haunts your confidence each time you go to step up.
  • It could be a teacher having a human moment and thought by commenting on your writing style would encourage you, but it had the reverse effect and their red ink stares up at the page whenever you go to write
  • Its that parental glance of acceptance or disapproval when you trot out your new look.

In real terms, this list is endless. When push comes to shove, certainly in my coaching experience…its not the high trauma experiences that get in the way of people of achieving, infact there are many scenarios where the trauma leads to triumph big time!

What really clouds our ability to hear what our heart keeps saying is the myriad of conditioned rules and subtle asides that have clogged our capacity with all matter of should do this, mustn’t do that – tut tut scowls and for some that means sacrificing what’s important to them and delivering on the expectations of others.

No wonder it gets harder and harder to hear what our hearts keep saying.

Please do yourself a spectacular favour, put that pesky voice back in its box…step out from the veil of expectation you’ve been hiding behind…you’re not a child anymore…your deepest heart felt desires are worthy and yours…permission denied to lay them at the altar of another’s expectations…what makes their dream more valuable or more desirable than yours. Start living the lessons of your valuable lessons.

You had a purpose before anyone else had an opinion…you still do.

…and as Missy ponders in closing …answers appear when you just stand still.

Live FAITH-fully


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