Escaping the Career Waiting Trap

I've noticed lately that many of us fall victim to the waiting trap. This is especially common among us ‘go with the flow,’ ‘take life as it comes,’ ‘laid back’ types. We pride ourselves on being very thoughtful and reflective and not impulsive or overzealous when it comes to making a decision, especially the life-changing ones. But could our passive approach to life be one of the main things that hold us back from having what we want? How many times have we strongly desired change in our lives; a new job, more money, to start a business, to take a class, to get more clients, only to find that months or even years later, we’re stuck in the same problem?What gives?

Goals we never meet

Someone many years ago once told me that the reason I didn’t have what I wanted is because I hadn’t fully committed to it. I was still on the fence, still “figuring things out,” waiting for something to change while not actively going after it. Even when I did take action, my level of commitment was not consistent and I eventually fell back into old patterns. Does this sound familiar?

With the start of a new year, I know many of you set new goals, new intentions, and new promises for yourselves. But the truth is, a year from now, many of us will find ourselves in the same situation. Even with good intentions for change, only a fraction (just 8%!) will actually achieve what we set out to do this year.

What is really going on here?

Fighting change by waiting

Here’s the thing. When it comes to making change, deep down we fear it. We fear that if we take control and become active in pursuing what we want, we might actually get it. And that scares us to death. As humans, we are frightened by the idea of change. We crave comfort and predictability in our routine and environment, so daring to make changes rings the alarm of discomfort and risk.

Most of us avoid making change by entering the waiting trap. Waiting is passive. It keeps us stagnant, stale, and locked into a holding pattern that looks a lot like our comfort zones. Our tendency to wait things out is oftentimes fueled by fear.

Waiting can show up as:

  • Indecision

  • Procrastination

  • Uncertainty

  • Hesitation

  • Wait-and-See

Waiting can rob us of joy, happiness and fulfillment. But it often manifests itself in sneaky ways. Beth Grant coined the term the Passive Yes as something we use to stay in Waiting. This is when you pretend to take action but you’re not really all-in. An example can be that someone claims they want to grow a new skillset, signs up for a seminar or workshop but doesn’t show up or do the exercises. Another example is when that same aspiring professional claims they don’t have the time or money to work on their goals. We can be really effective at keeping ourselves busy with other things that we claim are important or necessary but really just serve as distractions from what we truly want.

This mind trick can keep us in a perpetual state of Waiting. We search for answers and evidence but become overwhelmed with the possibilities before ever making a decision or taking action.

So what is the alternative?

Steps to take to escape waiting

It’s important to recognize what Waiting truly is: a manifestation of fear. Sometimes all it takes is acknowledging that when you find yourself procrastinating or locked in indecision. Ask yourself what’s really going on and you may find your fear of what could happen if you make this change is dictating your life.

Listen to your fear, and understand where it is coming from. The thing we most fear, that worst case scenario, rarely manifests the way we think it would. Even unlikely worst case scenarios can teach us important lessons.

Once you recognize this, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What would happen if you stayed stuck waiting for something to change?

  2. How would you feel if it was a year from now and nothing has changed?

  3. What are you willing to risk and explore in order to keep going forward, and what do you have to gain?

Enlist help and support as you work through this. Partner with someone who will not hold you back and commiserate with you but will empower and hold you accountable to take action.

When you take action, and this is very important, make sure it is an action that gets you out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be a super huge action that terrifies you. But it will make you feel a little uncomfortable. If it does, that’s a good sign that it’s a move that will help you grow.

Now it’s you’re turn. Ready to get out of Waiting?

If You Weren't Afraid, What Would You Do?

Last week I watched Oprah Winfrey being interviewed on Facebook Live. The video was nothing short of inspirational.  But when we’re talking about Oprah, everything she says and does always inspires in some way or another and in this case, even challenges you.

During the early part of the interview, Oprah shared her thoughts about ending her show and deciding the next step in her life.  What led to her decision was a very challenging one.  She asked herself “If I weren’t afraid, what would I do”?  Oprah knew by asking herself that question what her new direction would be.  She joked about all the things she could’ve done like yachting, gardening, and all that fun stuff.  But none of those things made her clutch her heart in fear from the very thought of it. The answer to her question, what would she do if she weren’t afraid, was to build her own television network.  She would continue doing what she loves; to share and inspire people to live their best life. 

I dared to ask myself that same question; “if I weren’t afraid, what would I do?”  Are you ready for the answer?  I’m not even sure if I’m ready, but here goes.

Actually the first answer that popped into my head when I asked myself this question is relocating.  I’ve entertained the thought of moving to somewhere like California several times before.  I’ve even thought of living abroad for a while.  As someone who has lived in New York all of her life, the idea of moving somewhere completely different is so thrilling to me.  It is also incredibly scary

I met a stranger one day on the subway and we had a very long conversation about living a passionate life and doing the things that bring you purpose and fulfillment.  I shard with him my desire to one day move out of NYC to which he replied, “just do it”.   Easier said then done I’m sure, but hmmm, maybe not.  Suppose I thought for just a moment how easy it would be to make the decision to move and work towards making it happen?  That’s how dreams become reality, right?  A thought becomes an idea, an idea becomes a dream, and a dream could either stay a dream or come true. 

Perhaps this is what happened to Oprah when she had the thought to start her own television show or create OWN.  Who would she be had she not decided to turn that thought into reality despite the fear?  She wouldn’t be who she is today; Oprah Winfrey.  And we wouldn’t be who we are or who we were meant to be if we decided not follow our dreams because of fear.

So now I turn the question to you; If you weren’t afraid, what would you do? 

Marry the love of your life, go skydiving, quit your day job to travel the world, ???.  The possibilities are endless.

See Beauty…

Ariane

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Inspired Living: An Interview w/ Tara Mohr, Personal Growth Coach & Writer

Hola everyone!  Hope you’re having an awesome week so far!  The days have been glorious lately with all of the sunshine, singing birds, and flower buds bursting through the earth just in time for Spring.  A renewed spirit and an open heart beckons on today’s blog.  I am so so happy to introduce to you Tara Mohr; a phenomenal person who has inspired so many individuals (myself included) to live an authentic passion-filled lifestyle.  She focuses on teaching personal growth through her writing and coaching.  Tara is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post and on her own blog Wise Living.   And now she is launching an incredible leadership program called Playing Big, which I am so excited to be participating in.  I recently interviewed Tara for my Inspired Living series and I was truly enlightened by her insight.   She shed light on dealing with our fears and doubts, the importance of letting our ideas and passions flow, and what it means to Play Big. All, I give you Tara Mohr…!! Me:  Please give a brief overview of who you are and what you do. Tara: I’m a writer and coach, and my work focuses on helping women fulfill their full potential in life and work – to lead and create more boldly, to show up more authentically in their lives. I bring a unique background to this work – I have an MBA from Stanford and a background in leadership and organizational change – and combine that a lifelong passion for spirituality and personal growth work, as well as training as a coach. The women that connect with my work really appreciate the blend of mind and heart, spirituality and practicality, inner transformation and outer impact. Me:  In a recent article you wrote for the Huffington Post, you spoke about the phrase “Playing Big”.  Could you elaborate on that idea? Tara: Several months ago, I wrote an article called 10 Rules for Brilliant Women. It was about how I coach so many brilliant women – women with tremendous creative gifts and incredible ideas that could change the world. The problem? They don’t recognize their brilliance, or own it in the world. Playing Big is really about leaving all that behind, and moving into a new way of being where we trust our creative impulses more fully, put ourselves and our work on the world’s stage, and stand behind our ideas more tenaciously and bravely. It’s about letting our voices flow freely from us – instead of stopping them up with self-doubt. I sometimes think about how on the average Saturday morning walk with my girlfriends, I hear so many ideas and insights that could change the world – and I hear them from ethical, smart, creative women who we’d all benefit from having in positions of leadership. Playing Big is about those ideas being at the tables that matter, and those women having more power to change our world. I think that women need inner work – around self-doubt and trusting their voices to Play Big, but they also need “outer work” training in specific skills and connection to resources – in order to have a big impact in the world. Me: Sometimes we give in to doubting our own abilities and talents, which can lead to more paralyzing negative thoughts.  Why do you think so many of us get stuck in this train of thought, and what can be done to break free of it? Tara: It’s a great question. There are a few reasons “why” we get stuck here. We are all wired to avoid potential failure, humiliation, or rejection. Self-doubt is actually a way we can stay safe from those outcomes – because self-doubt keeps us from taking the leaps that might lead to criticism or failure.  On top of that, there are cultural factors that contribute to self-doubt for women. And then there are negative individual experiences we’ve had that can get stuck in us like a broken record, and contribute to self-doubt.  But the “why” is a lot less important than the question of what can be done about self-doubt. It turns out that there are simple tools and practices we can use to significantly lessen self-doubt, and much of the work I do with women is about teaching them those tools. The first thing I recommend is to start recognizing your inner critic when it shows up. You’ll know your inner critic because it’s repetitive, irrational, and it’s voice usually has a kind of anxious, chattering tone to it. Sit down with your journal and just inventory the things your critic says, or keep notes over a few days. What does it say about your appearance? Your capabilities? Then, imagine: if this voice were a person, what kind of person would it be: male, female, old, young? Create a character for this voice. For example, I’ve had clients whose inner critic was a stern professor or anxious, worrying old woman. Then give your critic a name. The name could be a regular name like Lucy, or a word (one of my inner critic voices is called “perfectionista”). Start naming your critic when he/she shows up, just like ths: “Hi Lucy. Thanks for sharing your input.” This brings a lightness and humor to the whole inner critic thing and most importantly, it allows you to separate yourself from that voice. We tend to conflate our own best thinking with that voice, but really, it’s very separate from who we really are. In the separation from it, we have choice: do I want to listen to this voice or not? Does it help me or hinder me? Do I have any evidence that what it is saying is true? Me: You’re launching a new woman’s leadership and professional development program called Playing Big.  Can you talk a little bit more about the program and what led you to create it? Yes. I’m so excited about this! It came out of the reality that so many creative, talented women are playing small. They know it, and they want to change it. But how do we do that? How do we start playing big? I believe we need a mix, a recipe so to speak, of several components. We need a supportive community of like-minded women. We need practices to overcome self-doubt and fear, and let go of our attachment to praise and people-pleasing. We need tools to help us clarify our purpose or calling in the world. That’s the inner work. But we also need “outer work” -- practical skills training – in negotiation, pitching/self-promoting, public speaking/communication, getting media attention – what I call “critical skills for world-changing.” The program includes all of those components. We also have an incredible host of outside experts sharing their wisdom in the program – women like #1 NY Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin, Kiva.org founder Jessica Jackley, Shutter Sisters founder Tracey Clark, best-selling author Jennifer Louden, and many others. The program ends with each woman leaping into action and doing a “playing big” project, with the support of the other women in the program. I want to thank Tara for warmly sharing her thoughts with us.  If you have any questions for Tara or want to share your thoughts on what was said on today’s interview; please feel free to comment below. Receive cool freebies when you register for the Playing Big program today!  This is a perfect opportunity to those of you who are pursuing your passions or need help sharing your ideas or creativity with the world.  For more information on the program, I encourage you to check it out and sign up here! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please share on TwitterFacebook. See Beauty… Ariane Note:  This interview ran a bit a long so we had to cut it short.  But to see more of the interview, please free to click here.
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When Fear Takes Hold

Note to Self:  Never let your fears get in the way of what may possibly be the most fun you've had in a long time.  :) Now let me just start by saying that, plunging off of a 23 foot high platform and doing back flips in mid air is not something I thought I would do, let alone am capable of.  You see, I have this pesky fear of heights that prohibits me from riding the Batman roller coaster at 6 Flags, bungee jumping, and going on airplanes to some extent.  The mere thought of my stomach twisting in knots and impending doom leads to mini panic attacks lol.  BUT, It was Rob's birthday and I wanted us to do something we wouldn't normally do, something extreme, something exciting.  Bingo!! Trapeze classes definitely made the cut! We drew closer to the grounds where the classes were being held, I saw the net, the swinging bars stood 23 feet up in the air.  Immediately, a sinking feeling came over me.  Would it be so bad if we turned back and pretended this day never happened?!!  Too late, no turning back now. Annnd I'm up... Ready....!! Ahhhhhhhhh....!!  My face is that of complete and utter terror! lol He's a natural! The after math...lol Two hours later, after we took our last swing through the air, we were both energized (and sore) from the out-of-this-world experience we just had.  We actually had....FUN!  We survived!  Our fears were confronted, esteem strengthened,  and we proved to ourselves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that fear is only what you make it. I knew I had to share this story with all of you out there reading this.  I'm not saying that you should all run out and sign up for trapeze lessons (although if you did, I guarantee you won't regret it ;) ),  but rather I wanted to convey to you that fear is nothing until you give it power.   Acknowledging the presence of fear but acting in spite of it gives you a strength beyond measure; a mental challenge that prepares you for anything that may come at you.
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Remember The Time...

So one of my resolutions for the year was to not let fear get the best of me and block me from doing something I wanted or needed to do.  Well...I'm quickly losing that battle.  My Fear: Public speaking.  Those two words alone makes me want to puke.  I've always struggled with it throughout most of my life.  I've tried public speaking classes, practicing, and saying "you can do this" repeatedly in my head, but nothing I did could take away the sinking feeling I had right before going up to speak publicly.  I wish I had some magical story to tell you how I conquered my fear, but no, I'm still very much afraid to speak in public, lol.  Where is this all coming from?  Well today in a meeting, I had to do a presentation to a group of people.  I was not happy with the way it went and I beat myself up for hours after the meeting.  I tried examining what in particular was it that makes me bomb when it comes to public speaking.  What is it about that fear that grips my heart and won't let go?  I thought about the last time I had this same fear but was able to pull through it.  It occurred to me that the last time I was fearful but managed to overcome it was just recently.  This past December in Union Square NYC when I did Street Portraits.   The day I decided to approach complete strangers and ask to take portraits of them.  That day I learned to let my heart take over despite what my mind was telling me; my passion is what saved me.  Photography helps to melt away my fears in a way nothing else ever has.  My camera empowers me to step outside my comfort zone and just be... Mild, Just Be Maybe the next time I have to speak publicly, I'll remember the time when I felt my strongest to help me through it.  It'll make me feel good and feel capable, but more importantly, I will no longer beat myself up.  If we can remember the experiences we've had where strength was our motivation, all fears can be conquered.
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Street Portraits - NYC

Ohh boy, I can't believe what I'm about to write in this post but I'd really love to share this experience with you all.  Last Sunday, I did a personal project that I knew would test my ability to overcome my fears.  I set out to do street photography; taking photos of total strangers!!  Talk about nerve wracking!  The butterflies were churning my stomach to no end but I refused to let my fears take over.  I went to Union Square, New York City to do the street portraits and what a diverse group of people I met.  Starting out, I was so afraid of what would happen but I pushed on.  As I took photos and walked among the people, this is going to sound crazy, but it's almost like I felt I was being guided.  With every step I took to every person I approached, it all felt right and came together. The video only shows 4 people but I out of about 11 people that I approached that day, 8 actually agreed to let me take their portraits.  Not bad, huh? More than I ever thought!  At the end of the video you can scroll down to see the photos of all the awesome strangers that helped me out that day :). Sunday, December 6th was the day that changed me.  The day I put myself out there, faced my fears, and accomplished something great.  The experience was a learning lesson for me.  Not just on how to take a good photo, but to prove to myself that I was capable of something I thought was impossible.  At the end of the day, I went to bed feeling excited and so proud of myself; I felt like I can take on the world.  Sky is the limit. Please share in my experience that day; the video tells it all!  I'm scared to death to even post this on here but what the heck! We're all human right?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments.  Thank you! ARI_2815 ARI_2817 ARI_2822 ARI_2820 ARI_2824a ARI_2825 ARI_2829 ARI_2831
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