In my world, the winter months are often spent on inside projects. I spend a lot of time at my computer, inside conference rooms facilitating workshops and meetings, in my home doing projects and little tasks and indoors meeting with clients. I do my workout indoors, do yoga indoors and dance indoors. I have seemingly endless jobs I can tackle during the inside winter months. When spring arrives, I try to make as many opportunities as possible to get outside and do the outside jobs.
I was thinking that this too applies to the coaching tools I’ve been sharing. Over the past few months, in this blog, you’ve been reading and learning about the Inner Critic. You’ve learned ways to recognize her (him) and ways to deal with her so that you can achieve new goals. You’ve learned about the stories you tell yourself that may no longer be serving you well. You’ve learned how to replace these with new stories that will suit you better. You’ve learned about accessing your Inner Mentor or Sage to find out what gems she has to help you make decisions. All of these, I’ve realized, have been inside jobs. These all involved having you think about things in a new way in order to make change in your life or at least in your state of being.
The weather has changed. The tulips are up. The trees have blossomed. It’s time for us to do some outside jobs.
Last night I wore a new top to dance class. To clarify, I bought this top last August. It was a ‘new arrival for Fall’. I loved it and thought it looked so modern. Apparently, it looked so modern that every time I thought of wearing it, I second guessed myself and hung it back up. You can imagine that my Inner Critic was delighted in herself for keeping me ‘safe’. Well, last night, I guess spring fever must have got the best of me because before I could change my mind I put on the top, jumped in the car, turned up the radio and headed for dance class. I’m not sure when I’ve ever had more compliments on something I’ve worn! Good grief, what was I waiting for? With all the time spent on working on the inside of me, I’d forgotten how good it feels to put a little effort into the outside. (And just to clarify, I did wonder, “Oh dear, what must I usually look like?!”)
Besides our physical looks, there are plenty of ways we can do some outside jobs this season. When was the last time you set the intention of looking outside yourself and making conversation with a stranger? It could be as simple as striking up a short dialogue with a salesperson or someone in a group or class you attend. It could be saying hello to everyone you pass on your evening walk. Speaking of evening walks, perhaps your outside job might be as simple as finding ten minutes each day to get outside.
Maybe your outside job needs to be bigger. Maybe you’ve been living inside a box that is too small for you. If you can’t force yourself to step right out of your box, perhaps opening up a window so that you can at least see what you might have available could be a great first step.
Getting outside your comfort zone can be very intimidating; NOT EVER getting outside your comfort zone is heartbreaking. Think of how much more interesting it is to talk to someone who has the excitement in their voice of trying something new. New does not have to mean unsafe, or huge or irresponsible. New can mean a new restaurant (with an outside patio😊), or it can mean heading out to a movie instead of watching television. Or going to a live game or concert or play. Or it can mean finding an organization that could use a new volunteer. Or reaching out to a friend you have neglected for a while.
Jim has been working on outside jobs lately too. He and his friend Daryl took on the new project this spring of designing and building bird, bat and bee houses for a local golf course. On Friday, he headed out to record how many bird houses have been inhabited and how many babies have been born. What a perfect way to get outside; outside of his office, outside of his current circle of contacts, outside of his usual thoughts, outside of his regular activities. I could almost feel the thrill in his heart when he sent me the picture of the tiny bird he replaced in her home.
I challenge you this week to do some outside jobs; look outside of yourself, polish up your appearance, say hi to a stranger or try something new. Go wild. Shake it up. It’s spring. In a blink, we’ll be back to our computers and meetings last years clothes and snow shovelling.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘How can I bring this ‘outside’?
Elizabeth is a life and leadership coach in Calgary, AB. She provides leadership coaching for individuals and groups and she creates and facilitates custom workshops for corporate, public and private groups. Contact Elizabeth to help you or your organization to figure out how to bring your dreams or your work ‘outside’.