Balance & Beyond Podcast
#19: Reclaiming Your Power: 3 Ways to Take Back Control and Create a Life You Love
When you feel trapped in your life with no way out...
Are you truly living the life you want, or are you constantly reacting to your environment? Join Jo and her mindset coach, Jaclyn, as we explore the concept of being the creator of your life, discussing how intentionality in our work and relationships can lead to a more fulfilling and empowered existence. We'll uncover three common ways we tend to step out of our power, such as waiting for perfect conditions and getting triggered when things don't go our way. Listen in as we embrace obstacles and celebrate the challenges that lead to growth and transformation.
You have permission to be messy – in fact, we encourage it! In this episode, we dive into the power of allowing us to be visibly imperfect and create a supportive community that celebrates our flaws. We'll highlight the importance of self-love, the practice of being a creator, and the impact of breaking free from the traps that hold us back. Don't miss this opportunity to gain practical insights and strategies for embracing your inner creator and designing a life you truly love.
Here’s what you’re going to uncover in this episode:
- Why it feels like we need to wait until all the external circumstances line up for us to get what we want
- How we struggle to get messy and the real reason our perfectionist rages when it comes to certain decisions in life
- Why growth can be so triggering and it can feel easier to lean harder into old beliefs like the need to find more time or be better organised
- How to enjoy the pathway of growth that unlocks so much potential, opportunity and joy, even when it feels messy
- Practical strategies to step into your power and release the need to control everything
As always, expect lots of real-life examples and ways to apply these strategies in your own life.
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INTRO: Welcome to Balance and Beyond, the podcast for ambitious women who refuse to accept burnout as the price of success. Here, we’re committed to empowering you with the tools and strategies you need to achieve true balance, where your career, relationships and health all thrive, and where you have the power to define success on your own terms. I honour the space you’ve created for yourself today, so take a breath, and let's dive right in…
Before we dive into today's episode, I wanted to make sure you knew about a free three part training series I'm holding this month. "The Ambitious Women's Success Blueprint" is going to share with you the counterintuitive way. A new generation of leaders are unlocking more confidence, calm and career success. Starting Thursday the 14th of September, you're going to learn what sets apart successful climbers from those who burnout, you're going to discover unconventional shifts that bring lasting calm and confidence. And finally unlock the blueprint for more money, impact and influence at work. Who doesn't want that? To find out more and to save your spot visit balanceinstitute.com/blueprint on with the show.
Welcome to Balance and Beyond, the podcast for ambitious women who refuse to accept burnout as the price of success. Here we're committed to empowering you with the tools and strategies you need to achieve true balance. Where career, relationships and health all thrive and where you have the power to define success on your terms, in the space you've created for yourself today. So, let's take a breath and dive right in. On today's episode, we are talking about how to claim our power back as women, and it's not just me. Today, I am joined by Jaclyn, the mindset coach here at the Balance Institute. Jaclyn, say “hi, hello, happy to be here, I love it”. So, Jaclyn, we've worked with thousands of women and we see some consistent trends here. What if we try to distill it down? What is it? Could you call it a concept, you could call it a theory, you could call it reality. Why are people getting stuck? What's going on here?
Yes, I've seen this many a time and I shared before that this concept was a game changer in my life, gosh, about 15 years ago, and it illuminated us to, you know, understand why life wasn't going the way I wanted it to go.
So if you're out there and you're listening and you're wondering “why is life not going the way I want it to go”, this just might be a big game changer for you as well. And, so the concept is called “being at cause in the matter of your life”, and another way of saying that is “being the creator of your life”. So many times, we're actually in reaction mode and we are at the effect of our lives that, instead of being the one who says “this, is, you know, being intentional about how we want our day to go, the kind of work we would love to be doing in the world, the kind of relationships we would love to be having”. Instead, we're constantly responding to stimulus and letting life actually dictate the way our life goes, and we're constantly responding in the office, often in negative reactions to how life is going and to circumstances. So, yes, essentially deciding that you're the creator of your life and then it sounds a little bit easy, doesn't it?
Because I have women say all the time - I have a job, I have to earn money and I have to take the kids to soccer practice and I don't have a choice. I just have no time. This is my lot in life. If I want to be somebody who has a career and I've also got children, I just have to suck it up and there's nothing I can do about that. So life can be very compelling, kind of this feeling like we are a victim of our circumstance.
For sure, for sure, because, absolutely, I mean there is a reality too that we're contending with, that we are mums and professionals and all these roles that we hold and things that we are responsible for or to. So I'm not denying that. However, it's kind of, it's owning all of that, like, yes, I am a mother, yes, I am a professional and I own that, I'm responsible for these things. However, I am going to be intentional. I think that's a really powerful word and I'm going to create a life I would love inside of that context, the context of the relationships that I choose, the work that I choose. Now, we don't choose all of our circumstances, but we do choose the context and the way that we respond to those circumstances, and that is the game changer. A lot of people don't realise they can. They're actually choosing how they respond to their circumstances.
And that's where it becomes powerful, right, because it's the constant suffering that we go through where something happens to us and it's, you know, my boss has asked me to do this last minute thing and then it's the story, and it's the suffering, and it's the emotional anguish and it's a beating ourselves up and it's the guilt. That's what takes away our power, which is exhausting.
Exactly, yeah, and we've even identified three ways that we often step out of our power when we think that life is bigger than us or circumstances are bigger than we are, and we forget that we are the ones who choose how we respond. There's three - three main ways that we've identified, so I thought we could break that down today in this conversation as well.
I love it. So let's get into what is the first? You call it. Call it a trap or a thing that we fall victim to, and giving away our power is a bit of a buzzword. I've heard a lot lately, but it's a really, really important concept that I want you to understand. So, Jaclyn, what's one of the first ways we do this?
So one of the first ways we do this is waiting for the conditions to be perfect, to have what we want or to make the change that we want to be able to make the request. There's always something we're waiting for, like you know, once…. Once I reach this point in my work, then I can make this request. Or you know, once my husband finishes this thing that he's responsible for, then I can ask him to take on this other duty. It's where we'll play this waiting game.
And one of my powerful expressions, that's also made a difference in my life, is “waiting is suffering”. So, anytime you find yourself waiting, you are likely suffering because you're putting your power on an external right. And so, again, some things might need to take place before you get the ultimate outcome that you want. However, it's your relationship to that - creating whatever that next step is, or that your husband needs to take, or at work, so that you're not feeling powerless to it, if that makes sense.
Yeah, which is really, as you said, being a victim to our circumstance. And we hear every single day, “You know I need to wait until…” “I will feel calm once we get through birthday party season.” “Once I get that extra resource on my team.” “Once that person is on-boarded.” Or, “You know, once I know everything, then I'll be confident.” There's this constant waiting until. And it's not even waiting until you know a particular milestone passes, to your point, it's waiting until everything is perfect.
I mean, we hear women all the time who say, “Right, I will look after myself on the weekend.” “But before I do that, the house has to be clean, my inbox needs to be empty, everybody has to be fed, everybody else is entertained, and then I will look after myself.” Or “Then I will do something for myself.” And no surprise, conditions are never perfect, are they? And so we end up waiting for everything.
You find yourself months later still having not taken care of yourself, because you're attending to everything else. And so again, it's how we respond to the things that we're responsible for. Of course, you're still going to be a mum. That's not going to go away tomorrow, and maybe certain steps need to be taken before you get whatever outcome it is you're seeking. But how can you still take care of yourself in the meantime so that you're not just not ending up resentful, or burnt out?
And how can you take care of yourself? I often say that you know one of the best times to learn to sail is in a storm. So when there is no time to take care of yourself, while you might not be able to, you might want to go for a 45 minute walk. Or you know, exercise and exercise, unless I get up to a 45 minute sweat. Well, if circumstances dictate that it's raining and the friend you normally go for a walk with isn't there, or you've only got 10 minutes, how can you say, “All right, I am the creator of my life today”.
Conditions are not perfect, and yet I am still going to act. I'm still going to do this thing for me, I'm still going to make this decision, and you will find that usually that is enough to step back into your power and then now to start actually cultivating the right circumstances. It gets you what you want. It's ironic. So then, if we talk about, if we're not waiting for conditions to be perfect anymore and we're going to start getting unstuck, what then? What we see is one of the second key reasons or what's another way? We keep ourselves stuck and trapped, not in our power.
Well, sometimes we stall. We stall because we're getting upset, we're getting triggered by our life and things not going our way, and we think that that means that there's a problem. So then we go down a downward spiral. See, when I try to get what I want, then everything goes poorly and now I have to clean up more of a mess, and this means that I shouldn't have tried to ask for what I wanted to begin with and I'm just getting triggered, so I'm just going to stop, I'm just going to quit and we give up. We give up when things don't go the way we want them to go.
But instead, when you make that request, are you trying to make change in your life, and it might be backfiring? Instead of thinking that's a negative thing, think of it as a positive. So think of it like, “Okay, I'm making change here, and I'm bound to meet resistance, I'm bound to bump into some obstacles.” “Some people in my life might be pushing back, because they don't like the change I'm making, the requests I'm making, or delegating I'm doing, to free myself up.” So, instead of stalling and thinking, “Oh, I should just quit, and not do this.” Think of it like “Okay, great, I'm meeting an obstacle.” “That means that my life is actually shifting.”
That's just evidence of transformation which can be really powerful, because we often hear, you know, some of the first places people meet resistance is when they start holding a boundary and they start saying no and everybody who is used to piling things on them.
Suddenly they go no, I'm not doing that today, or that's going to have to wait tomorrow. And there's this “What? What do you mean? You don't say no to me.” It's sort of their internal dialogue. And then the person goes “oh, they don't like me, I'm going to let them down, now”.
I feel guilty, and they can go into this complete negative spiral instead of to your point, “Ah, this person's pushing back on me. I'm doing it differently.” Yes, because if we want to change our life, we have to change our thinking, and that's going to, you know, then change our actions and then our life changes. To your point, for every action there's a reaction, and when we start getting a different reaction, it's because you've changed your action.
So, imagine the power of sitting in what we can sometimes call “the poop pond.” When you start changing, and you step into this void of muck, and it's icky, and you don't know what you're doing, and you're making mistakes, and everybody around was reacting, and you were being triggered, it can be very easy to collapse. Like you said, into this “Oh, I shouldn't be doing this.” And then all those old narratives take over. But, it's so important to keep going, isn't it? Knowing that this is a journey for life that you never want to stop.
That's right, it's good news, celebrate. And actually that would be quite a radical thing to start celebrating the resistance. It'll kind of confuse your brain “Like wait, why are we celebrating? Things are not going well here, right?” But, that's a way of training the brain to celebrate adversity or to celebrate the bumpy road that is transformation, Like “Woo-hoo, pop the champagne!” “My mum got mad at me because I made a request.” “I'm celebrating that I'm changing my people-pleasing tendencies.” “Even if people get upset, they'll get used to it.” Because we're always training people how to be with us, with our boundaries, or lack thereof, and that's what we don't realise.
Yeah, we've trained everybody how to interact and how to respond and so, of course, when we change, their response changes. But to your point, this is a wonderful strategy that we use here a lot around celebration and actually hacking our brain, hacking our biology, to ensure that those triggers and those being in the void or being in the poop pond is actually a place to grab a pina colada and jump on one of those flamingo floaties and crank some music. Because I'm in the poop pond, that means I am moving and hopefully you've stepped into your power because you've acted when conditions weren't perfect. There's a very big difference between learning to sail in the Whitsundays or the Caribbean. When it's chilled and there's a light breeze and there's sunshine, anybody can probably whip up a sail and get some movement. But learning to sail in a storm like that's when you really build your muscle and that's when it can count.
That's right. Yeah, it's radical to celebrate the tough stuff as well as the positive stuff.
Yeah, and so, after we've stopped hopefully waiting for conditions to be perfect, and we're now celebrating our triggers, what is one other way that we see people lose their power? And it is related to that perfectionism, which can run so deep.
Indeed, yep, we're waiting to do things perfectly. We're waiting to do things maybe without mucking it up a bit or without some missteps or feeling a little foolish. Sometimes, when we try new things, new behaviors, setting boundaries, we're going to be a little clumsy and messy, and for so many of us that have these perfectionistic tendencies, we don't give ourselves permission to be messy or to be clumsy or to look a little less polished, and so this is an area to give ourselves permission. Otherwise, we're going to be again, waiting again for ourselves to be perfect, and that never comes, because there's no such thing really.
Yeah, and we always see, don't we, that not only do we want to wait until conditions are perfect. Then we have this ruthless expectation that we're only going to implement things that we are going to absolutely nail, because if we're not perfect, well, “What are they going to think of me?” “And they're going to think I'm incompetent.” “And if I make a mistake…” that all goes to our deep subconscious programming, where it's not safe for us to make a mistake.
And then we get stuck in this spiral of “Well, I can't do it.” “If I can't do it perfectly, let me try to wait for conditions to be perfect.” And then there's this crazy spiral of the perfectionist trying to control the circumstances, thinking “Right, well, if I can get the circumstances to be perfect, and then I can be perfect, then it's all gonna be perfect.” “And there'll be no mess, no mistakes, and I can avoid the poop pond altogether.” When, in reality, it's never gonna work, is it?
So, I guess the challenge here is, Jaclyn, what advice can we give to people about when they're finding themselves doing either one, or all three of these things? Cause we do tend to find they all go together, don't they? Like that perfectionistic high achiever. All those three things happen. What do we see? What advice could we give anybody listening who's like, “Oh yes, I'm waiting until…” And, “Oh yes, I don't wanna make a mistake.” How can they now take their power back? And I guess an even better question is, what could be available to them if they're able to break this cycle, if they can become the creator of their life? That's probably a better question.
Hmm, what's available when they can become the creator of their life? Well, everything and anything is the answer, because when you're the creator of your life, you're free to respond, you're free to pivot. So that's the thing about getting messy and not needing conditions to be perfect, not needing the way you perform as you transform, not needing that to be perfect, letting things get messy. Having that permission enables us to be able to respond to anything in life and create with anything. Create, like when you think of art. Right, it's a very messy process. There are colours everywhere and sometimes the colours mix, and it does look like poop, and you just keep creating. Anyway, it's right, and that's just like life. We're just creating art all the time. Whether it's intentional or not. So it might as well be intentional with the art of our lives.
Yeah, it's beautiful, right? It's a beautiful mess. But what I always find interesting is so many women who come into our world realise that they're almost in the “poo pond”, and they can see themselves doing this. Because that can make it even worse when they know “that they're waiting until”. They know that they won't sit down until the kitchen bench is clean. They know that they're being triggered by someone like “I've got to stop doing this.” And they know they're beating themselves up, because they've got a very, very ruthless enemy girl who speaks to them in a way that they would never dare to another human soul. So, they can see all of this, and yet they can't get out of it. That's gotta be so frustrating, doesn't it?
Absolutely, I've been there. Are you recognising something? You still find yourself a little stuck? I mean, it’s a practice. Anything is a practice. I mean, that's why we have a community of people who essentially get on the mat, or out in the arena of their lives, and are willing to be messy. And that there's the power of being visible in your mess, and experiencing it. People who are actually celebrating you while you're messy, which is so radical, because otherwise, you know, we're used to a world of competition, and proving ourselves in standards and achievement and benchmarks. And it's never ending, this proving that we are enough. This constant questioning of “Are we enough?” “Are we enough?” “Are we enough?”
So, it's really radical to be in this community of women who celebrate your messiness and reflect back your enough-ness, just merely by your existence. And that reminds me of that piece I was trying to recall earlier. About when we get stuck wanting to execute things perfectly, and giving ourselves the permission slip to be messy. And it really does start with ourselves. That we have to be willing to love ourselves through the messiness. Because we go first. And I think that that's the ultimate advice.
Then, if you are catching yourself, you are seeing yourself, and you feel stuck. Just remember, that you go first, and that it's a practice. So, call your wing-women. Celebrate being in the “poo pond”, knowing that you're in it, you're in the midst of transformation, and keep practising it. Because we're always practising something. So, you're either practising being the creator, or you're not. And so, as soon as you realise that you're not, practice being a creator. And yeah, you interrupt those three traps that we've broken down today, and choose “What would I love to create now?” And “What would I love to create now?” And “What would I love to create now?”
And that, my friends, is how you take your power back. We don't want you to be a victim of circumstance. We don't want you to spend your life waiting to be happy until X, Y, Z happens, because when you give your power away to a circumstance, then you're going to spend your life trying to control it. When, in reality, you have the power to be happy right now. Likewise, you can be in the “poop pond” like Jaclyn said, and celebrate it! And so we want you to celebrate your vulnerability, because that's what this process requires. It requires you to get messy. We're not used to it, we're not perfect, and that is okay.
So the takeaway I would love you to have from this episode is to think about “Where is an area of your life right now that you can be a creator of?” Perhaps you have been stuck in victim mode. Perhaps you're beating yourself up, and where can you simply make that choice that “Today, life is going to happen for me.” “I'm going to step into my power.” “I'm going to stop waiting, and I'm going to get a little bit messy.” Thanks, Jaclyn.
OUTRO: Thank you for joining us today on the Balance and Beyond Podcast. We're so glad you carved out this time for yourself. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend who might need to hear this today. And if you're feeling extra generous, leaving us a review on your podcast platform of choice would mean the world. If you’re keen to dive deeper into our world, visit us at www.balanceinstitute.com to discover more about the toolkit that has helped thousands of women avoid burnout and create a life of balance, and beyond. Thanks again for tuning in, and we'll see you next time on the Balance & Beyond Podcast.
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