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CwL Ep74: I’m Not Doing Anything Well

LC - Lisa Corduff Rebrand 2023-19

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Have you ever laid in bed at night thinking “I’m not doing ANYTHING well right now!”

And there’s a knot in your tummy that you’re letting people down, that you’re ‘behind’, that you’re failing – not just in one area but ALL the areas!?

*Not in the least dramatic*

So has Lisa – and it’s more pronounced than usual in extended lockdown where so much is vying for her energy, attention, and time.

In this episode, she breaks down exactly how she gets to the other side of this debilitating thought. Why it can be an activating thought if we harness it in the right way (with a stack of compassion for ourselves) and why it can be completely self-defeating.

Let’s ditch the unrelenting standards and embrace “this is what ‘doing it’ looks like right now”.


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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here

Hi, it’s Lisa Corduff. Welcome to the podcast where you can expect inspiring, raw, energising and transformative conversations with people on the path of personal evolution. I’m here to really live my life. And if you are too, these conversations, are just for you. I’m really glad you are here. Enjoy.

Hey, how you going? Thanks for joining me today. Oh, I mean, it’s week trigillion of lockdown. Not really, but that’s kind of what it feels like here in Melbourne. And I got some great responses to the “Lockdown of Fun” episode last week. And today I just thought, I’m just going to share with you something that started to come up for me. It’s one of those thoughts, one of those stories that comes up kind of repeatedly. And I thought let’s just talk about it. Let’s just flesh it out so that when it happens for you, as it might, you can kind of talk yourself through it, get to the other side of it.

And we’ve all, I’m sure, at some point in our lives just thought, “Oh, I just don’t feel like I’m doing anything well.” I’ve been thinking I’ve been lying in my bed at night, going, “I’m not doing the kids home learning well. I’m not doing work well. I’m not doing food well. I’m not managing their screen time well. I’m not getting enough exercise.” And blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

“I’m not nailing anything.” That’s what it feels like. And because I just lovingly question some of these supposed truths that I tell myself. And this is exactly what I teach inside Ready for Change is we get these thoughts on loops, right? We have these almost just like habitual thoughts that come into our head and we’re like “Yeah, I’m not doing anything well.” It starts to become what you say to the people around you: “I’m just not doing anything well. I’m just not, I’m just, eh, eh.”

And then when you actually stop and look at it, it’s actually just a tonne of bullshit. Sometimes thoughts like that can be activating. If you are curious to it, if you are really compassionate towards yourself and looking for “Oh yeah, something feels a bit off, what could I do? Or who do I need to be tomorrow to make sure that I don’t finish the day feeling like that? “Why is this coming up for me arts? Because I saw that piece of feedback on my son’s home learning task. And I thought “Yeah, if I was there, I could have made it hate him. Like pushed him a little bit harder. But you know, in the meantime I’m actually upstairs recording podcasts because I’m running a business that keeps a roof over our family.”

And it just, when you get curious to these things that we tell ourselves, these truths, because I could just believe that I could just believe I’m not doing anything well. But where did the whole idea, number one, of needing to do everything well ever come from? Who invented that? Who is upholding that unrelenting standard?

Well, we are, you’ve, you’ve created an image in your mind of what “doing well” means in a certain area of your life or in your life overall. You created it. It’s, it’s not actually a real thing. Like there is no actual real tip the box and you will then know that you are doing it well when it comes to parenting, relationships, life, all of that sort of thing.

There’s markers. We can know when things feel a bit off, but it’s like really, if there’s a standard that you’ve created you, you’ve totally made that up based on most likely stories that you have collected throughout your life. Your childhood is a ripper place to start looking for those stories about what it means to be a good mom or a successful business person or a great employee. All of those kinds of things, what a good marriage or partnership looks like? It needs to be this. This is.

And so we kind of like have these images in our heads all the time as women of what it would mean to actually be doing well, be successful at these things. But it’s total bullshit. It’s all actually made up. Look around you. There’s people doing things so differently to you. Is that bad, wrong? Now I’m not saying that this means that you just get to be a blob on the floor. I’m saying that, how is this invasive thought these unrelenting standards, how is that actually really impacting your life? Like sucking the joy right out? Are you really telling yourself the truth?

I see this in my programmes with women, all the time. And it’s always the women who are self-declared perfectionists, self-declared control freaks. They’re all alike, I mean, “I’m just, I’m just failing at this, or letting everyone down.” And when you actually look at it, hmm, no, they’re not. They might be having a really busy time with work. It might be a peak time. And so balls are dropping around them in other areas. Maybe, and I see this a lot in my entrepreneurial groups. “Oh, I just haven’t gotten anything done this week. My kids have been sick and I’m just, I can’t concentrate” and blah, blah, blah. Or, locked down and it’s like, well, hang on. It’s okay. It’s okay for your attention to be there. It’s okay to not be keeping all those balls in the air at the same time, really, really well. They’re really high in the air. You are in control of all the balls when you’ve probably got about 17? Impossible.

We do this to ourselves all the time. And you know, I was thinking about this, the difference between this thought that I like, I literally, it sneaks in for me, for sure. “I’m not doing anything well, this lockdown.” Last lockdown, in 2020 for that extended run in Melbourne, as I explained in last week’s episode, I had that help three days a week. I had someone working in my business who had been a part of it for four years. And was actually able to, like she, there was so much that was happening that didn’t require me, and she could just run with. Whereas this year in the business, it’s a brand new team. There’s a lot of hands-on involvement in the business that hasn’t happened to me for, for a very long time, as well as no support known for the home learning. And, you know, all the things, all the things.

I’m sitting here thinking “oh, I’m just not, I’m just not doing well. We have ordered Uber Eats way more than I thought.” Or “Gee, the chicken shop is getting a bit of a workout because I’m going there and buying a chicken instead of roasting my own.” Or “well, to get the kids out on our morning walk, I promised them something from the bakery on the way home.” And now they’re having muffins for breakfast. I mean, I just, it’s impossible. We set ourselves these impossible standards. I’m not doing anything well, you know what I am doing? I’m doing everything I can in this moment.

What if this was doing it well?, I mean, we can also just discount the whole idea or expectation of us doing it well, all the time, or we could look at, “Okay, this is what doing it looks like right now. And doing it is enough. It’s enough for food to be on the table, 14 times a day.” Which is what it feels like in lockdown. “It’s okay for me to do a good enough job with this podcast episode” Which I’m not too sure if you can actually hear the small people talking downstairs, but it’s happening behind me. “But I can just get it done, and it can be okay. Whatever it is, it’s good enough.”

And, what if, I’m getting back to friends who have called me four or five days later, because right now this is what doing, it looks like. Imagine the relief that I start to feel. My whole nervous system is flooded with feeling so much better when I say to myself, this is what doing it looks like right now. And I let myself off the hook. I just I am kind to myself because you know what? I am trying. Most of us are usually always trying, but sometimes we need to have moments of not trying. I know that that might sound a little bit counterintuitive, but we need to have moments where we’re just like, “No, got my period. It’s not going to happen. Nothing’s going to happen today. Actually, nothing.” So yeah, there’s that. And take our foot off the pedal and have that be okay. Now listen, because I am always curious to these stories, especially the ones that make me feel like shit.

I also don’t discount them for being a little bit of a nudge sometimes like, Hey, Lisa, we’re feeling, this is not feeling great. Like, yesterday was a day of back to back meetings with work. So how about tomorrow? You get up a bit before everybody else just knock some stuff off your to-do list with work in the morning in bed when you’re nice and cosy. And so you feel clearer and there’s nothing calling you for the morning and you can just be all on. You can get out for a walk with the kids, you can do the home learning and not feel like you need to be messaging or setting something up or preparing for something that’s happening when you finish. How might that feel? That feels good. Yeah. Thanks for, thanks for that nudge. It’s a constant checking in. It’s definitely not a balance because especially during these lockdowns, there’s just a lot competing for my attention, my energy, my time.

And I actually, I get to choose where it goes. But it’s just more than unusual, right? So instead of telling myself “I’m not doing anything well.” It’s just like “no, this is what just doing. It looks like right now, it feels like this.” I can allow that to be okay. And I can allow things to sort of go further off the edge of what feels good. And I could just lovingly notice that, and look for opportunities to recorrect and just go, oh, okay, yep.

So this weekend, this week didn’t feel as good because I didn’t have anything baked or I hadn’t gone for my big shop. And it felt a little, a bit like a race for dinner each night. Ah I still feel good. I don’t have to go: “You’re just not doing anything well, Lisa. Look at you, you hopeless mother.” I could actually just say “Oh, what a good reminder, what a good reminder that this week, I’m just going to write that list on a Saturday morning. If we get to the farmer’s market, super. We can just do a bit big buy up, you know what? I’m just going to get a soup on. And I might do a big batch of bolognese. So at least I know I’ve got two dinners sorted, bang.”

Instead of going down that spiral of “you’re trash, Lisa, you’re not doing anything well, you’re letting everybody down.” We give so much meaning to what is otherwise humans giving it their best amongst tricky circumstances.

Oh, we need to be kind to ourselves during these times more than any other time. And when people join Ready for Change, I am just constantly reminding them to observe themselves with curiosity and compassion. They’re two of my favourite words. Be curious to what’s coming up. Where does there need to be a bit of a redirection of your resources? Your time, energy, attention. But also where do you need to give yourself a really big hug?

Recognise that you’re trying. Recognise that this is what doing it looks like right now. I know for sure, in moments of sort of deep grief, I just had to let myself off the hook. It didn’t mean that I gave up on myself or, or anything like that. It just meant this looks different right now. And to allow that, is freedom. That is ultimate personal freedom. It’s me in my power, letting go of the standards that we literally create in our heads and keep us paralysed, keep us tired, keep us anxious.

And just let go. Honour yourself, your needs amongst it all. Could you do that? Could you be activated sometimes by the old “you’re not doing anything well”? Can it be activating to kind of help you spotlight an area where “actually I could make this easier on myself? Where actually, yeah, we’ve gone a bit far. Let’s come back. Let’s just lovingly come back.”

Instead of the debilitating thought that you’re not doing anything well, therefore you are a failure there. Therefore, you are letting everyone down. Therefore, there are way better ways that you could be doing this. Therefore. You are a trash person and you should just not get out of bed because why do you even bother? You’re not doing anything well anyway. Uff, we can be so mean to ourselves. So I really want to encourage you. If you ever tell yourself the story that you are not doing anything well, is it true? Is it really, really true?

Whose standard is what you are trying to live up to? And if that question triggers you, as I know it triggers so many of the women that come into Ready for Change, as they realise that their idea of living a good life, their idea of living a life aligned to their values is so far off what they’re living right now sometimes.

Because they’ve been, they’ve created a life based on the standards of either people outside them, hear stories that of that we create from bloody social media about what doing well, looks like, or comparing themselves I mean, comparison at this is just a bitch. Stop doing it, run your own race, come back to what feels good in you. Set your own standard and just be kind to yourself.

So for me, these words keep swirling at the moment, as I can, like everybody else just feel like “whoa, I’m just not doing anything well right now.” Well maybe this is what doing it. Like not even doing it well, like we need to lose that idea that we also need to be doing things well all the time. This is what doing it looks like right now. How much peace might that give you back? If that became your story, instead of I’m not doing anything well right now, oh, I have so much love for us. As we navigate all of these tricky times, it’s not easy.

And yet, we can make it easier for ourselves by just checking in, by always bringing a curiosity to these stories, these thoughts, by questioning what we’ve got on repeat, is it really true? And this is everything we do inside Ready for Change. I hope your name is on the wait list for the next round. I am so excited about our October intake. I cannot wait to meet you if it is your time to learn these tools that can absolutely see you back in your power. See you next week.

I have great news. The next live round of Ready for Change is coming very soon. So go right ahead and click on the link in these show notes and make sure your name is on the wait list so that you don’t miss out on joining this transformational programme that will put you back in the driver’s seat of your own life. This course has changed the lives of so many women. Make sure it changes yours this October.

Hey, if you are enjoying the conversation, then it would mean the world to me if you head over to iTunes and give us a rating and review, it really makes a difference. And it’s my intention to get as many of us in involved in real conversations that really changed the game as possible. Thanks so much for your help and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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