Wow, is summer flying by or what?
So far I’ve been doing pretty well with my self-improvement fast, although I can’t help tuning into inspirational content and teachers every once in a while because 1.) it really feeds me, and 2.) it inspires me to serve YOU!
Did you decide to take on my challenge to abstain from self-improvement too? If so, how’s it going?
I’ve been having a fun summer, with lots of self-care and adventures, including a trip to Florida and even Goat Yoga! (Yes, it’s a real thing!)
It’s been such a welcome shift to feel my passion returning after a few really hard months that forced me to turn inward. If you missed it you can get the scoop here.
And now my life has hit a BIG turning point, as my baby girl moved away to college last week. I’m officially an empty nester! Talk about a year of transition!
All the change has really motivated me to get more conscious about what I want to create in my life and what I will no longer tolerate.
There’s a theme that I’ve seen in my own life and also in the women I work with that I think we should ALL stop tolerating, and that is….
Settling for crumbs.
We do it with food – when we don’t think we deserve to eat certain things or to eat in general, so we allow ourselves only crumbs.
That might look like only a salad instead of what you’re really hungry for, or only the sugar-free fat-free pudding cup instead of a scoop of delicious gelato, or literal, actual crumbs (remember that old Cathy cartoon, where instead of eating a cookie, she’d eat only the crumbs, telling herself that they “don’t count”?). We’ve all done it!
I’m not saying it’s unwise to set healthy eating goals, but making healthy choices for the right reasons should feel good.
If what you’re allowing yourself to eat leaves you feeling perpetually under-nourished, you might have a habit of settling for crumbs.
So the big question is, where else in your life do you settle for crumbs? Because, you know what they say – how you do one thing is how you do everything.
Maybe it’s in your work, where your day to day job is way beneath your abilities and pay grade (and is slowly sucking away your soul), but you don’t ask for the promotion or the raise or – gasp – leave that frickin’ job and pursue your real dream… Crumbs.
What about self-care? Do you make sure everybody else gets what they need before or instead of allowing yourself any rest, relaxation, time, or indulgences? (Tell tale sign: you have a really hard time spending money on yourself.)
Let’s be real – how many times has someone else’s priority gotten in the way of a promise you made to yourself to take a real lunch break, go to the gym, get a massage, etc… Crumbs.
Then there’s the holy grail of crumb-foraging: relationships. How do I know this? I’ve learned… the hard way.
In my new favorite personal growth book ever, White Hot Truth by Danielle Laporte, she describes something she said to her shrink about a past relationship:
“I took the crumbs when they came, tried to make a cake outta them.”
BAM. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever done that!)
If there’s one thing a lot of women are really, really good at, it’s putting others’ needs, feelings, and priorities above our own. (See self-care above!)
We’re masters at empathy, which is a great quality… until it gets hijacked by the part of you that believes you don’t deserve to have your needs and desires met. Or that you don’t deserve to have needs or desires period.
So instead, we keep applying that empathy towards others’ needs and desires, even tolerating poor treatment because we feel for them, which leaves us with… you guessed it… Crumbs.
Fortunately I’ve learned to eliminate crumbs in a lot of areas over the years, but another thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes you stop settling for crumbs in one area of your life, and it sneaks right on over to another.
Gay Hendricks refers to this as the “upper limit problem”, meaning the upper threshold on how happy, loved and successful each of us can tolerate being. When things get “too good”, we subconsciously find a way to bring ourselves back down.
The root of this is often an issue of worthiness, often coupled with a lack of clarity.
You’re far more likely to settle for crumbs if you’re not totally clear on what your version of being well-fed would look like.
The worthiness piece often requires a bit of inner work, but the clarity piece we can tackle right now.
If reading this is stirring something in you and you’re noticing that you’ve got a thing going on with crumbs, first and foremost give yourself a ton of compassion. You’re one of millions of women who have been taught that self-sacrifice is a revered quality.
Plus, the good thing about crumbs is you can follow their trail to get to a better place!
Here’s a simple but powerful coaching exercise to help you get started:
- Pick an area of your life where you’ve been settling for crumbs, and rate your level of satisfaction on a scale of 1-10. You have to know where you are to get where you’re going!
- Get out your journal and answer this question:
What would a gourmet meal look like? I’m talking a 5-course, 3-star Michelin rated dining experience…
Don’t hold back. Give it everything you’ve got. Add color and images, give it detail and bring it to life in your body.
- Brainstorm one or two steps you could take right now to create more of a gourmet experience in this area of your life. Whether that’s letting go of something or someone, or adding something new to your life, make a commitment to take action by a specific date.
- Get some support and accountability from someone you trust.
I’d love to hear what you discover. The process of trading crumbs for cake begins with giving yourself permission to taste the possibilities!
P.S. Want some help with this exercise? I’m opening up 5 coaching sessions in my calendar as my GIFT to help you ditch the crumbs and map out your “gourmet meal” experience in any area of your life that you’re struggling with, so you know exactly what your next step is.
These free coaching sessions are first-come first-served, so if you want one of them email me at firstname.lastname@example.org NOW!
Can’t wait to talk to you 🙂