Sometimes you just can’t. So don’t.

There are times for renovations and there are times for relishing your home, your container, for all that it is right now. Of course you may still dream of new sconces, throws, or even tearing down a wall or two, but for the time being you’re loving where you live.

When it comes to working on yourself and your life its much the same thing.

Three years ago I was coached by the Handel Group. At the time I basically wanted to gut my life. There wasn’t anything acutely wrong, but I had started to feel cramped and limited by the container I’d created for myself. My coach and I examined every area of my life to see what was working and what wasn’t working. The coaches at the Handel Group take a tough love approach which was exactly what I needed at the time.

I was guided to write my dream for various areas of my life (like my body, my relationship with my family, and my career) in vivid detail. Then we looked at where things were in the moment, where I wanted them to be, and what needed to change in order for them to be where I wanted them to be. I learned how to tell the truth with grace and love. I learned how to have tough conversations that I previously would gloss right over with a plastic smile. My work with the Handel Group planted the seeds for the online space I’ve since created. One of the major influences for me starting a blog was because my work with the Handel Group uncovered a need I had to speak up that I hadn’t been honoring.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Laurie Gerber, President of the Life Coaching division of Handel, to see if I wanted to lead a teleseminar with her. We’d talk about dreams and share one of mine. We’d share how using the Handel Method of writing a dream, looking at the influences that are holding us back from having what we want (they call them the “chicken” and the “brat” and they live inside our heads). We’d talk about the process I went through of making promises to myself (with compelling consequences) used to create the reality of my dream. My work with the Handel Method had been so powerful that I said “YES!” I knew this was something I wanted to share with you.

Last week I finally sat down to listen to the sample call Laurie had sent me that would guide me in writing an outline for our call together. The information was great and I got some poignant reminders of how the “chicken” and the “brat” come in and convince us why we can’t have what we want. I even took some notes.

Yet in the pit of my stomach something felt “off.” My most recent posts have been about loving yourself no matter what, the revolution of self-acceptance, and how sometimes you just have to take a break from growing yourself.

The truth is, I’m not in renovation mode. I’m really loving how my life feels right now. Last night a girlfriend asked me what were the three best and worst things happening in my life right now and the worst I could come up with was that my iron levels are a little low and I’m feeling kind of sleepy a lot.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Yes the leaves are turning brilliant colors and the outside world around me is transforming dramatically. Yes there are things I’d love to change about myself and my life. Despite these things being true, I’m so enjoying the fact that after a year of significant transformation that lead to The Freedom Tour (shepherded in part by the Handel Group) and then another 15 months of not really living anywhere, the dust has finally settled and my life feels really good.

As I listened to the recorded call I knew I couldn’t get on a call and talk authentically about a compelling recent example of taking one of my dreams, breaking it down into promises and consequences, looking at how the “chicken” and the “brat” were showing up, and then crafting my dream. It would have felt contrived because I’m just not in that place right now.

So I had the opportunity to have a tough conversation with Laurie and tell her how I felt. It was deliciously ironic because I featured Laurie in October 2010 on Glimpse TV with an episode entitled The Biggest Mistake People Make in Tough Conversations. Laurie is  a hard core stand for truth. She doesn’t let anyone get away with anything in the best way possible. And she was beautifully gracious in our conversation but didn’t let me get off the phone without a little poking around into my creative process and how I tend to wait until the last minute to get things done. (Had I not waited until the last minute to listen to the recorded call I would have known earlier that leading the call with Laurie wasn’t a fit for me right now.)

I learned so much from the experience that I wanted to share it with you. And I love what Laurie and the whole Handel team are up to so much in terms of supporting people in renovating their lives when the time is right, that I decided to share the call anyway.

If you’re in a place of craving transformation, do yourself a favor and hop onto Dive into the Promise of You with Laurie Gerber this Thursday, September 27th. You can thank me when the dust settles.

If you’re more in a place of savoring the beauty of your life exactly as it is, bookmark the Handel Group’s site the next time you get the urge to tear down a wall or two.

So, in a nutshell, here’s what I learned (or was reminded of) from this whole experience:

  • taking a breath, an afternoon, or a day or two before saying yes to something to make sure it’s really the right timing is a good idea -> SLOW DOWN
  • though my tendency to not start projects until the last minute usually serves me, when those projects involve other people it’s a good idea to start earlier
  • if you have to say no, bow out, or de-commit, when doing so from a heart centered place that’s real, generally the other person will understand
  • our bodies tell us what to do if we listen – I knew from a feeling in the pit of my stomach that leading the call with Laurie wouldn’t be truthful or reflective of where I’m at right now – I didn’t have to think long and hard about it, my body told me
  • if the only reason you’re doing something is to not disappoint someone else, even though doing that thing doesn’t feel right, that’s not a good enough reason

You have permission to say no to the things that don’t feel right, even if you already said yes. 

You can always de-commit. 

A heartfelt, “sorry but I can’t” can go a very long way. 

Don’t do things so that you won’t disappoint other people. Do them because they feel unwaveringly in alignment with you, where you’re at in life, and your message.

I’d love to hear your thoughts:

Have you ever said yes to something that you realized wasn’t the right thing?

How did you de-commit?

Share your experiences in the comments below.

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6 comments

  • Oh man.. I NEEDED this reminder! Thanks so much Kate! I have a tough time saying no and spreading myself thin. I do lots of things for not as much compensation as I feel I deserve and I’m trying to figure out how to communicate wanting a raise in a way that honors me but lets go of any of of the resentment I’ve felt about not communicating it. How do I get let go of the emotional charge behind it. I see that it’s up to me taking initiative to make the change. Sometimes I just don’t know how to word things. ANy tips? Or thoughts? I feel like I’m in a similar spot to where you had been.. I’m completely gutting my life and changing it because I feel like I need it. I realized I was playing small and I’m ready to try new avenues and follow through on certain projects. I really love your blog and was so happy to find you through your mom’s site. Her book came at a pivotal point in my life! I think it’s cool how you’ve created such an awesome independent lifestyle- it keeps me inspired!!! :) And the video you did with your Mom about the mother daughter bag of shit was hilarious!!! Lots of love,

    Kristin

  • Patti

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. This has been one of the hardest things for me to change. I am constantly in motion and not always for the right reasons.

    Thanks for the pep talk!!! I ache from all my plastic smiles. No more!

  • Julie C

    Hi Kate,

    I love your wisdom and your honesty. I love that you stand for yourself and your deepest truth. I also loved the bit about trusting our bodies, because the truth is there if we tune in and listen. So glad you are taking the time to enjoy your life as it is now-no need to renovate today-just bask in the goodness that you already have.

    xoxo

  • This was great. I’ve been really working on this lately. I’m a super enthusiastic person which is awesome, but it means I say yes to a lot of people and things. Often. Which means that I reach a point where I exceed my bandwidth. And then things aren’t good.

    I’m getting so much better about realizing this and how I am actually doing myself and others a disservice by constantly feeling like I should say yes. Now, I bite my tongue and sit on a pending yes. If I’m still thinking about it, or feeling it, then I suss out what the commitment would be and go from there.

    Saying no to others means saying yes to yourself, the most important person in your life.

    Thanks Kate
    :) Johanna

  • I’m just so proud of you Kate. Thanks for sharing this for others to benefit from.

  • Eric Case

    Thanks. I just finished reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, and understand saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else.

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