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First – I have to tell you how much I love the title of this book: How to Do It All: The Revolutionary Plan to Create a Full, Meaningful Life -While Only Occasionally Wanting to Poke Your Eyes Out With a Sharpie. I giggled when I read it and it had the effect that the author, the super talented Linda Formichelli. wanted – I immediately wanted to buy the book!! According to Linda, this book has an important message: “Despite the cultural narrative that “women should’t try to be superwoman,” we CAN do everything we want in our lives, whether it’s to volunteer, have hobbies, learn new skills, entertain, compete in athletic events, start a side business, write, start a spiritual practice, and more. Sure, it can be stressful — but what meaningful activity is ever 100% stress free?” And I agree with her!
I found the book very interesting and wrote to Linda asking permission to share an excerpt with you all here. I hope you will enjoy it:
Reprinted here with permission from author:
Change the Way You Talk
A downfall many women have is that we really want to go all-out toward our D-I-A Desires, but we feel demotivated, uninspired, stuck, sad, angry, overwhelmed, or just plain blah. We get upset that our goals aren’t happening as quickly as we’d like, or we’re anxious because doing it all can be uncomfortable at times—and who likes to be uncomfortable?
One solution is to shake up your dialog. The words you choose when you talk to yourself, and to others, have a huge impact on how you feel and act. If you think or talk about your D-I-A Plan using negative, weak, or sad-sounding words, the Plan will feel like a downer as well, instead of your ticket out of boredom, lethargy, and passivity.
Here are several language-based strategies that can help you go from ugh to yay!
Think And Instead of Or
We often feel like we’re being torn in two: Do I make good money or work a job I love? Do I work a job I love or stay at home with the kids? I have time to train for a 5k or volunteer, but not both. I have the money to create a home I love or travel.
Here’s a mind shift I read about in the newsletter of Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die: “Always try to think AND not OR. Can you avoid choosing among your options and try several at once? For instance, if you’re deciding whether to invest time in Spanish lessons or ballroom dancing classes, do both for a while until one of them wins. Or, rather than hire one employee out of three candidates, could you give all three a 2-week consulting project so that you can compare their work on a real-world assignment?”
When you change or to and, you get options like this:
- I plan to find a job that I love and that pays well.
- I’ll look for a job that will let me telecommute, and I can stay at home with the kids.
- What if I volunteered to do setup for a charity race? Then I could volunteer and train!
- I’m looking for a hobby that combines my love of foreign languages and How about offering to teach a painting class at the Chinese Community Center?
- I want to travel and save the money to create the kitchen of my dreams. Let me look at our budget to see what expenses we can cut, and also explore travel hacks for scoring cheap airfare.
You get the idea: Using the word and instead of or opens up possibilities in your life that you may never have considered before, and that can help make your D-I-A Plan a reality.
Think And Instead of But
What’s the difference? The word but shuts down any hope for a solution, and gives you an easy out when it comes to your D-I-A Goals. Replace but with and, and suddenly you’re open to brainstorming new options. For example:
- “I want to become well-read, but I don’t have money for books.” Do you hear the It is what it is here?
- “I want to become well-read, and I don’t have money for books.” Now your mind automatically goes on to ask, “So what can I do? Maybe I can go to the library, borrow books from a friend, download free public-domain classic novels, or join a book swap!”
I’d say you should try this tactic, but then I’d have to contradict myself with…
Do or Do Not. There is No Try.
When you tell yourself or others that you’ll try to do something, here’s what you’re really saying: “I have no confidence I can accomplish this goal, or I don’t want to do it but don’t know how to say no.” Consider these two statements to your running group leader:
- “I’ll try to make it to the running group today to train for my 5k.”
- “I’ll see you at the running group today to train for my 5k.”
See the difference? In the first sentence, you’re conveniently leaving yourself an out: “Well, I said I’d try, but something else came up. Sorry!” Yoda had it right: Say you’re going to do something, and then do it.
Instead of Saying I Have to or I Should, Say I’m Going to or I Get To
You’re talking with your best gal pal about your current D-I-A Desire and are about to say, “This morning I have to meditate,” or “I really should find somewhere to volunteer today.” Instead say, “This morning I get to meditate!” Or, “I’m going to find somewhere to volunteer today!” Do you feel the difference?
Though it will take repeated efforts, you can do the same in your own head. When you catch yourself thinking, “Ugh, I have to work on the website for my side gig today,” grab yourself by the gray matter, shake it around a little, and tell yourself instead, “Today I get to work on the website for my new side gig! Yippee!”
This isn’t really a mind trick, because it’s totally true. You’re alive! You’re in the envied position of being able to meditate, start a new business, and volunteer. You get to do all these things. You are so lucky!
Rename Your Tasks
This idea comes from the book Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story by Steve Kamb: Instead of calling the to-dos on your list tasks, call them something that makes them sound way more exciting, like mini-quests or adventures. Remember, everything on your to-do list should be there to further your D-I-A Desires, make you happy, and improve your life!
Minimize Your Emotional Language
And this idea I borrowed from Tony Robbins: Whenever you feel a strong negative emotion bubbling to the surface of your consciousness, tone down the words you use to describe it. In fact, tone them way down.
For example, instead of saying you’re extremely overwhelmed at everything you want to do for your D-I-A Plan, tell yourself, “I’m feeling just a tad nervous.” If you’re furious that your Plan isn’t going as well as you’d hoped, say, “I’m slightly annoyed that the competition I trained for was cancelled.” Devastated that your partner isn’t showing you the support you were hoping for? Say, “I’m a little disappointed my partner isn’t as excited about my D-I-A Plan as I am.”
Along the same lines, a trick I learned long ago is to replace the words nervous, anxious, or stressed (and anything related to them) with excited. So now you’re excited about that speaking engagement, not petrified. And you’re not stressed about that upcoming certification exam…you’re excited!
Toning down your emotional words defuses the emotions attached with them, as well. And sometimes it even makes you laugh, defusing the emotions even more: Imagine the chuckle you’ll get out of the understatement I’m a tad annoyed when you’re really in Sharpie-poking mode.
Words have power, and the way you talk to yourself and others can boost your motivation—or destroy it. Try these tricky strategies for changing up your language, and you’ll feel empowered, inspired, and excited to go after your D-I-A Desires.