I was chatting to a team mate recently about the choices we make in life and how our identity, self-belief and trust in others feeds our thinking and decisions. Our thinking is developed through our childhood and is influenced by our role models and experiences. Whilst largely unnoticed, we begin to see our responses conditioned through increased responsibilities as we move out of our teens into adulthood.
This conditioning pushes us down a path of decision making with long term impacts that we may not necessarily appreciate at the time. We pursue roles that make us safe and give up our passions to focus on work in an inpatient effort to climb the corporate ladder. We sacrifice the things we love to spend more time with partners, buy houses and pursue a stable job. As we get older and have kids we become more conservative in an attempt to become the perfect parent or partner.
Our thinking shifts with a focus on becoming a good provider, successor, or boss with a nice house to define who we are. The free spirited, excited, and fearless 6 year old we once were is slowly dying under the expectation of what your mind thinks you should do.
Society conditions us to believe that a successful individual needs to be successful in work, a stable partner, and a devoted parent all at the same time as being a high achiever and pleaser of all. To question this conditioning or even say you don’t enjoy these things is quickly met with ridicule from others. I see this conditioning in many of the people I coach. They are restricted in doing what their subconscious mind tells them to do, whilst they consciously allow their energy levels to be sucked dry.
The irony of this is that most people prefer to see you being your true self with energy, happiness and a tenacity for life. Sure, some will make comments in an attempt to make you fit their mould, but in reality they appreciate you for who you are.
What I have learned from coaching many people in this position, is that we all should pursue those things that give us energy, not those things that we are conditioned to do.
Take time to reflect on your energy levels and understand its drivers. Get clear on what energises you and do more of it. Let your energy drive your choices and over time your life will be pretty awesome.