Today is Give Up Your Shoulds Day. And I think giving up our shoulds is something we all should do!
Seriously, if you’re like me you have a litany of shoulds running through your brain. “I should work later to get this project done.” “I should get home earlier and get things cleaned up there.” “I should exercise more.” “I should volunteer at my kid’s school.” “I should network more.” “I should learn another language.” Your shoulds might be different from mine, but they’re there.
When our shoulds work for us, they drive us to get something done that we really feel needs to get done. But more often than not our shoulds haunt us, because we don’t do the things we feel we should do. Then we’re left feeling guilty or inadequate or like we’ve failed.
So today (or maybe the entire month of November) is a chance to experiment with giving up your shoulds. Because then you’ll be left to figure out what it is you really want to do, or what would be most useful. The freedom that comes with putting down the burden of shoulds give us extra space in our minds, and freedom to live the life we want to lead. And who doesn’t want that?
So how do you do it? How do we conquer the shoulds that rule us – and the fear that somehow if we don’t address our shoulds, things will fall apart? We could get stuck planning out how to move forward. Instead, here are a few simple steps to triumph over your shoulds:
- Make a list of the shoulds running through your brain.
- Go through the list and write down why you should do each should.
- Look carefully at that list and determine which of those things really need to happen – which shoulds are necessary or reasonable to ask of yourself? And whose shoulds are they really? What items on the list are there because others are imposing shoulds on you (intentionally or unintentionally)?
- Look even more carefully at the list and figure out which shoulds you can let go of.
- When the shoulds come back to haunt you in your mind, remind yourself that you “could” do that should, but you’re choosing not to because….
- For backup (if the voice in your head keeps arguing for your shoulds), make a list of all the things you are doing and accomplishing – as proof that you’re not slacking off. This will help you stick to your decision to stop shoulding.
- Now look to the people who work for and with you (or live with you) and see what shoulds you can release them of as well.
Our shoulds drain our energy, lessen our leadership, and ruin our day. November 1st is a great day to start giving up your shoulds. Try it and see what happens.
What do you think about giving up shoulds? Why should or shouldn’t you? How have you and can you?
Please leave a comment to share.
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