176. When you don’t know what you want in life. Life on purpose for the non-dreamer

I want to talk to you about listening more deeply to yourself and asking, “what do I want?”. For some of us, we are out of touch with our dreams or our life vision. We might feel overwhelmed, or like it is impractical, or like we have failed too much in the past. This episode is to help you see some of the ways you might be stuck with listening to your own dreams and ideas, and some tips on moving through that. 


“A ship is safe in the harbour but that is not what ships are for” – source unknown, probably John A Shedd

 “You have to show up before inspiration will.” – James Clear


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In this episode I discuss: 

  • Listening to yourself on a deep level and on a surface level
  • Six reasons why it might be hard to know your dreams and goals
  • Giving yourself permission to have dreams and ideas and goals
  • Being a mom who struggles to dream and feels selfish to have goals
  • Learning to inspire yourself


All the fun links you might enjoy 


Sign up for the Feb 2nd Group Coaching Call – open to anyone who has questions or would like coaching on this topic and the topic of creating your future

Sign up for Simple Saturdays email (a fun email, twice a month)

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Full transcript (unedited)

Hey friends, it’s Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and counselor from simpleonpurpose.ca

If you are joining us for the new year, if you just started searching like intentional living or living life on purpose or goals or something, and you found this podcast, welcome, I’m so glad you’re here. Just to give you the quick and fast context, I am a mom of three kids who are now 1110, and eight. And around here we talk about ways to simplify your home, your heart and your life. So that so that you can show up for your life and live your life on purpose, live it intentionally live it with peace and purpose and presence and enjoy it. This episode is a follow up to the last one on creating your future and how we actually have the power to create our future when we turn off the autopilot. And some of the main points to notice in that episode were that we’re really conditioned on how we show up in the world. And we really live from that condition. So everything we learned from our upbringing, from our past informs what we believe is possible, what is acceptable, what is safe, what to pursue. And so essentially, really, our past everything we learned in our past how we’ve shown up in our past, it dictates how we show up for our future, our past dictates our future, when we’re living on autopilot that is, but we have this part of our brain, when we are in a calm state we can access it is that part that allows us to think logically long term, big picture ideas. It’s that part that says, Wait a minute, if I have ketchup, chips, and whiskey each night, where will that get me in five years? Is that where I want to be? Or sit? Is that part of our brain that says, I usually go through the day in a fog? I don’t feel like I’m present with my kids. Is that what I want? And then what do I want? How do I want to show up as a mom, that’s kind of the part of our brain that we get to tap into when we shut off the autopilot, we shut off the stress, the anxiety, and we just be still for a minute, I do have an episode from the past called Signs, you might be on autopilot, living on autopilot. And I’ll make sure to link that in the show notes. But really, it’s all about shutting off the autopilot for a second in opening the door to intentional living living on purpose, where we start to consider what life could be what we want it to be. And over the years for myself doing this work, I’ve used this analogy of me being a ship. And I really think it’s because I heard this quote, when I started doing this work, and the quote is a ship is safe in the harbor. But that’s not what ships are for. I would like to tell you who said that quote, but I’ve searched it up. And there’s like four different people that it is attributed to. So I’m not too sure. But that quote, It really came to me at a time where I was becoming aware that I had built up my life on desire to just have comfort and ease and maybe not always in the peaceful sense, but definitely in the relief sense, where I just don’t have to deal with the conflict or doing the hard thing, which of course, in the long run does not really result in a life of comfort and ease. But a life of things swept under the rug and a life of avoiding the hard thing and then being faced with the harder thing in the long run. I’ll put a couple episodes in the show notes that kind of dig more into comfort, peace and relief, those kinds of concepts. And as I was becoming aware, I think and for most of all of us that we are living in a way that just helps us through cope much of life. And I think around 30 is when we become painfully aware that our coping habits that helped us to survive the earlier parts of life and kind of get through and manage and feel okay, and feel acceptable. They’re now the source of much of our suffering, and we need a new way. So we have this gap where we start to consider what the new way could be. And so today, I want to talk about this new way, I want to talk to you about listening more deeply to yourself and asking, What do I want? And I think there’s two approaches we can take to this on one. Considering that big draw you feel deep down inside? What do your bones ache for? What does your heart grown for? This can be a hard one to name to put a label to it. But I think you can sense it, I think it has a sense. You can sense how it feels or what color it is or the sound of it or the sight of it, you can almost feel that inner sense. And I would just encourage you don’t be in a rush to figure this one out. Just acknowledge that there is something there some inner draw inner desire, that is a longing in you and I think let yourself stop and feel that from time to time remember what it feels like to feel that inner longing for something. The other way to think about it, which is what we mostly think about when we think about our life on purpose or a dreams or goals is what we can name what we can pursue what we know we would enjoy in our life what we know we need more of in our life. and over my years of pursuing goals and habits and vision, I see it shifting over the years, even my career has shifted over the years. And I would encourage you with this approach to learning what you want and dream about, is to keep in mind, you don’t have to have it all figured out. Because things will shift seasons shift, you shift, you get to learn a little bit more, you get to try something different, the work isn’t so much about seeing a clear path. And taking all the right steps to get there. The work is to become someone who takes the next step on the path and gives yourself permission to sometimes try other paths. But we do need to start somewhere we are a ship, we need the destination, we’re going to allow for detours and hurdles. But we do need to get out of the harbor, knowing what we want can sometimes just be the hurdle. And I’ve mentioned the life on purpose workbook. And I’ve got free worksheets as well, that will walk you through the nine areas of your life, and help you set up for some vision that you want in those areas. And I’ve heard women over the years share that they’ve uncovered ideas and dreams and values that they weren’t consciously aware of for themselves. So this can really be an exciting time, where you give yourself permission to dream, you carve away some time, some space to actually do that work. And when I say dream, I want to, I want you to know, I mean, the whole range from that feeling of big idea for what you want in life, like build a house or travel this place with my kids or start a business. But I also mean the simplest things, the little goals, the little habits, you want to build the hobbies that bring you joy, the people that you want to surround yourself with and build friendships with. So I do want to kind of come into this conversation about taking the pressure off yourself, you don’t have to get it all figured out. And to also take the pressure on yourself on just thinking about the simplest little things that you desire in your life, and allowing space for the big things you desire in your life. Because ultimately, who I’m talking to today is for those of you who aren’t excited or who feel overwhelmed, or who feel lost, or who feel like you don’t have dreams, or maybe you don’t even want to have dreams. And I want to talk about the reasons why you might feel like this and what you could try to do about it. So the first one we kind of mentioned is we make this huge, big thing, and then it becomes overwhelming. You might think sure I have a dream, I’m going to quit my life here, I’m going to move my family to a hot Beach, I’m going to spend my life swimming with my kids and running a little Etsy store. Some dreams just feel so big. And it can feel overwhelming. And when we’re overwhelmed, we shut down and we don’t really think about how we can break things into steps. The other way we make our dreaming way too big and overwhelming is expecting perfection. I encourage you to dial everything back. Start with the simple things, things that aren’t heavy. Start with doing the work of becoming somebody who is working towards something bigger, you can have dreams without making them overwhelming, huge or serious, you can also enjoy being mediocre things. I’m gonna link an episode on that in the show notes. Another reason you might not even want to consider dreams or let yourself is because you’ve either been burned in the past, or you don’t want to be disappointed. I grew up personally with an overly practical father who encouraged us to have interest in hobbies, but to always seek out the safety thing, safety before dreams. And he’s in his 70s. And at this stage in the game, we joke about what we joke about with him that don’t have dreams, dreams will disappoint you so you better not have any, because he inadvertently raised us with this mentality in an effort to really provide safety and security for his kids. He also raised us to work for me, I don’t know, my siblings really felt this way. I took it as this way. For me it meant pick the safe thing, pick the easy thing. It took me a lot to really decide that I wanted to redefine what life success would look like for me. And I’ll Lincoln post on that in the show notes. So this can be a hard mentality to bust out of if dreaming doesn’t even really feel like an option. And you might have this belief that big dreams lead to big disappointment. Or you might have that kind of lingering impact of what you’ve experienced, where I’ve learned that dreams don’t succeed. I’ve I’ve tried them and it didn’t work. You might label yourself as a failure or to label your dreams as a failure. Or you even took a simple no as a failure as a rejection. So there’s a lot that could be said on this because I feel like so many of my own pursuits over the years didn’t quote unquote work. But I will say that I’ve learned that when dreams don’t succeed, at least not easily, that doing the work. It’s still let me learn how to become someone who builds who plans who chases and those skills allow me more options in my life. If you feel like dreaming is childish or impractical or lead to disappointment. Just consider your resistance here. Look for the times in your life that you’ve shut your own ideas down, you

shut down your own hopes. Or maybe you feel like other people have shut them down. Just consider those moments what was happening and what you made it mean and how you’ve shown up from that place. A really common reason we don’t allow ourselves to consider what we want in life, or ideas or hobbies, or goals or dreams is, maybe we feel like it’s selfish, and many women I work with, and women I know feel this dreaming is selfish. That’s a very common one, mainly because we’re moms. And mom guilt can feel necessary to knowing you’re a good mom. So our beliefs, our cultural beliefs. So what we’ve been told about motherhood with a good mom is it can be at odds with being a woman who has interests and dreams and goals she wants to work on. This has been a big hurdle for me over the years and something I’ve written about that I’ll make sure to link in the show notes, obviously, check out the show notes, guys. If you can’t find them where you are, go to simple and purpose.ca. Click Listen, all the episodes are there with all the show notes, and full transcripts of the episodes. Okay, so I will say that, for me, this has been a hurdle for me really holding up the cultural expectations on what motherhood should look like. And then holding up my own heart that was wanting something wanting to do things wanting to feel energetic and excited and passionate about things. Ultimately, for me, I, I turned to how my faith informs this part of my life. Because I believe that we are made for longing and passionate living and dreaming as a way we do that if we don’t have any of this, we’re just lukewarm. And I believe that we’re made like this on purpose. God gives us hearts that have unique talents and interests and skills, because he wants us to live a rich and passionate life and not a life of apathy. A few other reasons that I think dreaming can feel really hard. One is we don’t feel qualified, we feel like our dreams are out of reach, we don’t have the ability to achieve them. And two things could be happening here. One is our dream is in the panic zone. So we have three zones, we can really live in the comfort zone, we’re safe, we’re not really challenged, then just beyond that, where most of us struggle to just move into this next zone, the adventure zone. That’s where things are challenging. But we also enjoy the challenge. Like it’s kind of exciting, it’s kind of motivating. And then beyond the adventure zone, there’s the panic zone. That’s where alarm bells go off. We’ve gone too far we’re out to sea, we’re in the storm, we have no idea to navigate. I think a big reason why it’s hard for us to move from the comfort zone into adventure zone is because most of us think we have to go right to the panic zone. And we spend less time getting to know what’s in our adventure zone. And work on making that bigger and and work on exploring it and learning how it feels. The other part here is obviously doubting our own abilities. I’ve talked about this on the imposter syndrome episode. For me, I’ll say, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt qualified. Feeling qualified competence is something that you get from doing the work. Another reason this all might be hard as you might not have any clue, no inspiration, just a blank space. So when someone asks you even where you want to eat dinner, you’re like, I don’t know, you might just feel out of touch with the things that bring you joy, or your interests. Maybe you even just shut this part of you down over the years. So your job here is to learn how to inspire yourself. It means giving yourself to do this, some space to do this without pressure and just start so simple. What do I want to listen to on Spotify right now? What do I feel like eating right now? What do I want to wear today. And don’t be surprised if I recommend starting a Pinterest board for it. Because that can just be a really helpful tool at visually starting to put some ideas together. So pick an area of your life that you want to get started. Like, I want to get passionate about cooking, and start pinning things or I want to get passionate about I don’t know plants. It’s one of my passions and just start pinning things. James clear has an email list. And he had a recent quote in one of his emails that said, you have to show up before inspiration will so be willing to learn how to inspire yourself. And a final reason I want to share with you we all know there’s more is that we have put ourselves in a waiting stage in the waiting room of life. And yes, there are some seasons that really demand that we wait some seasons of our life Collison, we need to do some hard work, we need to turn inward. But for some of us we stay in the waiting. It’s easy to not have to do anything to not take responsibility when you’re quote unquote waiting. So some work here is to pay attention yourself. Am I putting myself in a waiting room? Am I ready to open the door? Am I ready to kind of take a step out of here. Maybe in one of these you can see you’re in one of these points. You can see yourself you can see a reason why dreaming might be hard for you. This is something I’ve talked on for many years. It’s something that I’ve also shared on over at a little light if you want to read Both of these points with a little bit more of a faith based point of view, I’ll make sure to link on an old post, I have over it a little light. But ultimately, wherever you find yourself at, all you need to do is acknowledge that there is something different that I wished for. And it doesn’t mean it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean you have to dismiss your current life, it doesn’t mean you have to find problems with your current life, you can just want something different for the sake of wanting something different. You can make change when things feel great. Or you can wait for it to feel really hard. And that will drive you to make a change. But all you need to do here is get curious, what else could you want in your day, your week? What do you want to do with your time with your energy? Because ultimately, all of this is for you. Nobody will give you permission, or make your goals happen or change your future, or help you see your hopes come true. No one will do this. But you go back to being that ship in the harbor playing it safe. Where does it get you to stay safe to stay in the harbor. For me, in my experience, I felt like it kept me where I was not moving, ultimately, apathetic apathy. If this is something you feel like you want to dig into, then I encourage you to spend a few minutes because we do need to make space for this, we need to invest a little bit amount of time right now. So that we can plan out how to spend our time over the coming days, weeks, months years. I encourage you to spend a few minutes writing out some ideas, whatever has come into your mind from the notion of doing something different, or even continuing and leaning does something you’re already doing that you want to do it really intentionally and really start to show up in that area of your life. I would love to wrap up this episode and last episode, the power to create your future with a coaching call. So I’m going to offer a group coaching call on Thursday, February 2, I say that we’re the next Thursday, February 2 at 9:30am, PST Pacific Standard Time. And that will be a group coaching call one hour of your questions and live coaching for $7. That’s February 2, Thursday at 9:30am. Make sure to stop by the show notes. If you want to sign up for that. This is a really great time to watch coaching to have any questions answered that have even really just come up over your mind over these this past month of coming into January and creating your future turning off that autopilot. Stop living from your past in deciding what you want your future to look like. We can talk strategy, we can talk mindsets, we can talk hurdles. And this can just also be a place to listen if you just want to listen and garner the experience that other women are sharing those brave women who put themselves out there with questions and willingness to be coached live. When you’re watching that and listening to that you always find a little nugget for yourself. So I encourage you to try that out if that’s something you’ve been interested in for a while. And as always, you can find me on Instagram at simple on purpose.ca or leave a comment in the Facebook group for the community there. Alright friends, have a great week.


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