Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 193, Less Trying, More Deciding.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I’m recording this ahead of time but as you are listening to it, if you listen to it on the day it comes out, my baby goose, that’s what I call my daughter will have just left for her semester in Spain. So I know I’m going to be feeling the feelings as you listen to this. But I am excited for her. It’s such a great opportunity. I love her adventurous spirit, it blows me away because honestly at her age I didn’t even want to go away to a state school let alone another country.
She rollercoasters at four. I was barely being able to be talked into a rollercoaster as a teenager. I don’t know. She is my child. I was there when she was born. I did give birth to her but sometimes I don’t know, she’s got an adventurous spirit that I just love to see. So that’s what’s happening in my world. I want to talk to you today about something I’ve been thinking about, which is how often I’m seeing us try when what we really need to do is decide. So think about something in your life that you want, you want it in the future, you want it, it doesn’t have to be super near term but you want it.
Maybe you want to get a raise. Maybe you want to be more confident with money. Maybe you want to get better at saying no instead of people-pleasing. Maybe you want to start a side hustle or you completely want a career change or you want to date again or you want to exercise. You want something. Think about something you want to create or something you want to do differently in the future even as a widowed mom, you got it?
Okay, now, what would it be like to decide that it’s happening, that you’re doing it, that it’s as good as done? And how different will that feel compared to how you feel when you just merely think about trying? And I get it. And I don’t want to say that there’s never a place for trying especially in early acute grief, in early widowhood. It’s easy to feel helpless and powerless when you lose your person, especially if you have children to care for. It’s so hard to imagine doing new things and creating what you want.
And so at a certain point trying is actually a move toward what you want but after a certain point trying stops becoming so useful, trying can actually be a barrier. Trying just leaves room for failure and room for quitting. Trying is not great emotional fuel. Can you feel the difference? Do you remember in Star Wars, you’ve got to love a good Star Wars reference? Do you remember in Star Wars and I’m talking about the good Star Wars when they’re in the swamp and Luke Skywalker is learning to become a Jedi? And Yoda is talking to him about what he needs to do.
And he kind of like low energy says, “Alright, I’ll give it a try.” And Yoda’s response is that famous line. He says, “No, try not, do or do not, there is no try. No, try not, do or do not, there is no try.” Try implies that there’s always a door open for you to stop or for you to give up. Doing, deciding, committing that’s when we’re making it happen. We’re not thinking of these self-perceived limits. We’re not leaving the door open for ourselves to stop or to quit or for it to not be completed.
When we decide and then we do, that’s when we create the future that we want. That’s when we reach the goals that we have. And your goals matter damn it. So stop telling yourself that they don’t. I’m going to give you 10 steps and they’re pretty simple.
Step one: set a goal, you already did that. I know you did, you have it, it’s in your mind. You may not have articulated it, you may not have written it down, you may not have put a date to it but it’s there. So let’s give it a date, let’s write it down, let’s decide, let’s be specific, even if it’s big, even if it seems unachievable to you and scary but set it.
Number two, decide it’s happening because of you, truly decide, commit, go all in, decide, that’s step two, which by the way, ought to feel a little bit empowering and scary. That’s the sweet spot. That’s when you know it’s good. That’s when you know it’s a stretch. That’s when you know it matters, not paralyzing, exciting and scary because it’s new, it’s outside of your current self-concept a little bit. It’s bigger than perhaps something you’ve done before. Set a goal. Decide it’s happening.
Number three, tell people it’s happening, say it out loud. I’m watching my teacher, Brooke Castillo, one of my teachers, create $100 million in a year. And I’ve been watching her work towards this for several years now and I think when she started maybe she was around 10 million maybe when she announced that she was going to make 100 million in a year. And then I watched her just gradually go up the last few years to the point that she’s at about 15 million. And there has been something so powerful about her saying it out loud.
Say it, even when as you say you don’t even believe it. It’s like woohoo, that feels crazy to say. You’ve got to say it. It makes it easier. You don’t have to say it, I just encourage you to. It will make it easier when you say it out loud and then you can start saying it with less freakout as you say it. It becomes easier and more natural and your brain starts finding evidence considering the possibility. And you start thinking about it more and your brain starts looking for ways that it could be true. So I’m going to tell people, say it out loud, whatever that goal is. Give it life. Give it air. Give it breadth.
And number four, get some support. That could be from friends. That could be from family. That could be from a coach. This is what I do. But get some support, it’s so much easier when you don’t try to do it alone.
Number five, make an imperfect plan, imperfect not perfect, imperfect. Do you hear me, fellow perfectionists? We make an imperfect plan. It is not the perfect plan. It is an imperfect plan. It is a good is better than done plan. It is a good enough plan. It is a plan worthy of taking action on because we’re going to learn as we go but it is not a perfect plan. We’re not going to waste that much time. Nothing ever goes according to plan anyway and if it’s big enough you’re not exactly going to know how you’re going to get there, so you’re just going to make an imperfect plan.
Number six, don’t expect yourself to not be afraid, allow fear to be there. Now, check to see if there’s truly a risk to your well-being, but if not you welcome the fear. You see it as a green light, it means growth is on the horizon. Of course, you feel afraid if it’s something that is outside of your current self-concept, something you’ve never done before, totally fine. So don’t let that derail you, that fear.
Number seven, take some action, do it, take action. I don’t care what it is. It could be the smallest tiniest action, it doesn’t have to be a big action. It doesn’t have to be a scary action. It just has to be some action. What is the next thing you could do? What is the next thing you could do today? What is the next thing you could do as soon as you’re done listening to this podcast to take action toward the goal or dream that you have? And we just keep doing that.
Then number eight is you ask yourself on a consistent basis, what worked, what didn’t and what do I want to do differently? We have to learn as we go. And sometimes that’s going to mean I need to install a new belief which is one of the many things I teach in Mom Goes On because if I’m taking action from well, it’s probably not possible for me, or I don’t want to fail, or I probably can’t really do it or it’s probably not actually possible. Then at a certain point, I’m going to stall out, that’s not going to help me. It’s going to prevent me from creating what it is that I want.
So sometimes what I need to do differently is I need to think differently. There really is no way in terms of sustainable action to keep out acting what it is we’re believing about ourselves. We want to be believing it and we want to be taking action from that place.
Number nine, remember it’s not failure that we’re afraid of, it’s not, it seems like it is but it’s really not that we don’t reach the goal that we’re afraid of. What we’re afraid of is how mean we are to ourselves when we fail. It’s the mean thought we will have about ourselves when we fail. And all thoughts are optional. Just because a thought appears doesn’t mean we have to believe it. And just because we might have a history being mean to ourselves in the past doesn’t mean we have to keep being mean to ourselves.
We can just decide that we’re not mean to ourselves anymore, that when we catch it we nip it in the bud. We’re like, “No, not today brain, I speak kindly to myself. I’m proud of myself. I am my own champion. I have my own back. I will not be mean to me anymore.” Because what we’re really afraid of is that, whoops, see you did it again. See, who did you think you were? Yeah, told you, see, you always fail, knew you couldn’t do it. Those are the mean kinds of thoughts that we have about ourselves that are totally optional.
So stop worrying about failure and start noticing the mean things that show up in your mind and deciding not to believe them.
And the last thing, this is number 10, this is a little reframe. Failure isn’t even possible until we quit. We can’t fail if we don’t quit. So when I say, decide it’s happening that also means and hopefully we don’t even need number 10 because we did number two which was to decide it’s happening. You decided not to quit ever so you just don’t quit and you keep going until you figure it out. As long as it’s still what you want you don’t quit. Now, maybe you decide that you don’t want it anymore, that’s different.
I’m not saying there’s never a place for quitting, sometimes quitting is actually what we want, but I’m assuming you still want it, don’t quit and then you don’t fail. There’s a brilliant example, I hope she doesn’t mind, I won’t give her name just in case but it’s someone in my Mom Goes On group. And it’s been such a joy to watch her grow, I mean, man, I’m going to invite her on the podcast soon.
But it’s been such a joy to watch her grow and watch her confidence change and watch the way she makes decisions about her life change. And she has made some decisions that not everybody in her life absolutely loves. And she posted this in the group she said, “Last week was brutal but also amazing. I was in a week-long orientation for ski instructors and Steamboat Springs got hit with 50 inches of snow over four days, so many literal mountains to attack. It was the first time skiing since my husband died. I haven’t skied in nearly three years.
My entire class of newbies are on average 40 years younger than I am. I fell. I went slower than everyone in my group. I thought I might not be able to walk again after the first day on the mountain but I also had so many great takeaways. I learned I can still ski and enjoy myself. I’m putting myself out there. I’m making new friends and memories. My kids and family support my choice to teach. I learned to ski in deep powder conditions. I learned that I am the only one who can really hold me back from any new adventures.
I have confidence that I will be a really good instructor at Happy Camp Ski School.” How great is that? That was a decision. Trying didn’t create that./ She didn’t just go try to become a ski instructor. She decided to become a ski instructor. Do you feel the difference? She made a decision and she followed it up with action. And I know you don’t know her. I just want you to know, confidence is totally something we can grow and you can go through some really hard things and still come out and decide to create whatever it is that you want, you can just decide just like she did.
So I won’t say her name because I didn’t ask permission yet. She knows who she is. And she’s a badass because she doesn’t just try, she decides. You can do that too.
So back to the 10 steps, set a goal. Decide it’s happening, just decide. Number three, tell people it’s happening, say it out loud. Number four, get support from friends, from family, from a coach if you want, professional help, somebody who knows how to do the thing. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There’s somebody already out there who’s good at it and can teach you. Get a mentor. Number five, make an imperfect plan, imperfect, not perfect, imperfect.
Number six, don’t expect yourself to not be afraid, actually welcome the fear. If it is not true fear that something really bad is actually going to happen to you it’s just part of growth and it’s okay to be there. Number seven, take some action, and it doesn’t have to be big action. Again, what’s the next thing I can do? What’s one little thing I can do today? If there was one thing I could do today what would it be?
Number eight, ask yourself what worked, what didn’t? What will I do differently? And sometimes that means you’re going to need to think differently. Sometimes you’re actually going to have to change the way you see yourself or see your goal. Number nine, remember, it’s not failure that you’re afraid of, it’s the mean voice in your head and you don’t have to listen to that mean voice. She’s not you. She’s not you. And number 10, if you don’t quit you don’t fail so just decide not to quit.
Alright, no more trying. At a certain point trying is holding you back. I want you to decide if it’s important to you, it matters, it matters. Don’t let it die on the vine because you’re just trying. Decide that what you want is possible for you and go freaking get it. Okay, alright, that’s what I have for you this week. Remember I love you and you’ve got this. Take care and I’ll see you next week.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.