At 72, and committed to living a life I love, I’ve been reflecting on how easy it is to let outside conditions influence the decisions we make about what we do in our lives.
How many times have you decided to not do something because of conditions around you? For example, what you think someone your age can’t or shouldn’t do, or not investing in yourself because money should be saved, or waiting for success to be guaranteed before venturing ahead.
Seeing Because Thinking for the Limit It Is
We all do this. For many of us, it is a habit we developed to help us make decisions. More than ever in our life, it is important to pause and decide if the decision to not do something is based on what is really true.
When we were younger, we may have postponed things we wanted to do, thinking…
- “I need to wait until the kids are older.”
- “I need to get my promotion first.”
- “I’ll do it after I pay down the mortgage.”
- “I’ll just wait until I retire (we know that one!).”
How many things that you desired did you put off and not do at all because the conditions of your life were more important? So, now it is likely that you have developed a new set of conditions that may keep you from living the full and vital life that is possible for you.
Now is the time for us to live the life we truly love, enjoy every minute, and leave the legacy we want.
My Personal Breakthrough
I had to break through my ‘because thinking’ to discover that someone past 60 CAN learn a new sport. When I first joined a Dragon Boat team, I faced my personal dragons of not being good enough or strong enough to even be wanted on the boat. Well guess what? I am good enough!
The pain of not being happy finally moved me past the thinking that I could not start a business because I was too old. I did and I am having the best time of my life.
Why did I let this limited thinking get in the way of living fully? Because I bought into the messaging and assumptions about our age group that permeate our society. As a generation of women, we are here to change that.
Breaking the Because Thinking Habit
Is there something that you would love, but don’t pursue it, BECAUSE you think:
- “I don’t have the money.”
- “I am too old.”
- “I’m out of shape.”
- “I don’t have the education/training.”
- “It would take too much energy.”
- “New technology is difficult to learn.”
- “I might not get to finish it.”
- Or, the most cunning one, “I don’t want to disrupt my comfortable life.”
Any time you find yourself thinking “I shouldn’t or I can’t… because, because, BECAUSE,” press pause and interrupt that BECAUSE thinking. Is it true… really?
Here is the magic key: Change your thinking to focus on what is possible. For example:
- What can I do to get the funds to do this?
- Someone my age should do this and maybe I can find others.
- What can I do to begin to get in shape?
- I can learn whatever I need to and love doing it.
- I’d rather be joyful and vital than comfortable and unhappy.
My Personal Breakthrough
A good example is when I retired. I thought I should have this really safe way to make money because I should not risk anything at my age. Well, looking for safety had me doing something that was not bringing me joy. I really did not enjoy my life. What I was doing had no heart, when this phase of life can be the most free and energizing time of our entire lives!
Realizing living this life with no heart was not what I wanted for my next decades, I fixed it. I asked myself what I could do that did not risk everything – and I began to build a business one step at a time. Let me confess, that what I thought was at risk really was not at all. It was just a conditioned excuse to stay safe.
Begin Your Breakthrough Today
I invite you to do the same and take that step that you have been putting off, avoiding, talking yourself out of, or whatever mechanism you choose to play safe.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Take Your Thoughts to a Journal
Take quiet time to journal about the life that would bring you satisfaction and happiness. Think about your health and self-care, friendships and love, your contribution/work, and the time and money you have available. If a little voice tries to talk you out of an idea, tell it to keep quiet for now. If you need to, make a date with that voice on your calendar in a week or so.
Involve Your Partner
If you have a partner and they are willing, you can include them. Dreaming together is fun!
Surround Yourself with Supporters
Find others – a friend, coach, women’s group – where you can share what you envision and your journey toward it. Let others support you.
Block the Voice of Self-Doubt
Notice and interrupt the little voice in you that may be telling you why you can’t or shouldn’t. You can do this kindly. After all, it is trying to keep you safe, but you are the final authority.
Take One Step at a Time
Take one small step each day toward the part of your dream that you find most compelling.
Living with Heart Is Even More Important Now
Especially after 60, it is important that the life we are creating brings us joy, fulfillment, and a sense that we continue to matter. This is truly the time to live from our heart and not from the conditions we think are in control. You are more than your conditions.
What have you stopped yourself from doing based on the “I can’t because” thinking? What opportunities may become truly possible in your life if you interrupt the voice of safety? Perhaps you have already challenged yourself to step beyond what you thought were your limits. Please share that story to inspire our sisters!