What “I’m bored” really means

“I’m Bored”

In the mouth of a child it can mean so many different things.

Most of the time as adults, we interpret the phrase to mean “I don’t have anything to do.” Or, “what I’m doing doesn’t interest me.”

What else could it mean?

So much!

For example, if you’re my 7th grade daughter who loves being social, it means, “I want to hang out with my friends and do stuff together and anything else right now is boring.”

Or, sometimes it means she is completely under-stimulated and going out of her mind, (which as a sensorily sensitive introvert is how I feel after an hour of being in Costco!)  

When she describes a class at school it means that she had to just sit and listen passively while the teacher talked.

On a Sunday morning before Hebrew school, it means “I’d rather be in my pajamas and stay home,” or “None of my friends are going to be there.”

I realize that to me as a child it meant, “I want someone to talk to me or a friend to keep me company.” 

What do you think it meant to you as a child?

Ah, the irony

Even though we’ve had this experience of being bored, we don’t usually respond from empathy. We give answers and solutions.

We forget that as adults, we have more autonomy to navigate ourselves towards what we need, want, towards distractions or things of interest.

(And, those distractions are not always such good things for us. Yes, I’m talking about chocolate.)

What’s great about our kids being bored?

One of the things we have an opportunity to do during this unique period of epic boredom for children who would prefer to play and be more active, is to help them identify their specific needs and discomfort, (to play, to see friends, to talk.. etc.) name and move through their feelings instead of avoiding them or pushing them down.

How do we do that?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Here are my suggested alternative answers for children who complain about boredom!

  • Dig a little deeper and help them get clearer about what they mean and what they want.
    • What wouldn’t be boring for you right now?
    • What does bored feel like?
    • If boring was a color – what color would it be? Why? What could would you like to be doing instead?
  • Ask the child to rate their boredom on a scale. This creates a space to reorient around what is good in the moment and gives you more information.

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being so bored you are like a piece of cardboard and 10 being not bored at all, how bored are you?

  • Most likely the child will pick a number somewhat above 1. The next question is to ask: what makes it a 3… or a 5…? This question shifts the child’s focus to what is stimulating them and reorients them toward the positive.
  • Bring their awareness towards developing their own strategies: What worked for you the last time you were bored?
  • Start a conversation about something that has meaning to them. Give a few minutes of your time to listen.

If you choose any friend to be with right now, who would it be? Why?

            Or

            If you could do any activity you wanted right now what would it be? Why?

The word “boring” will never sound boring to you again!

Just Do IT already!

Woman looking ahead over a long foot bridge that extends over trees
Photo by Michael Heuser via Unsplash

Do you have that time when you said to yourself “Just go do IT already?” 

You probably said it to yourself because at some point someone said to you, “Just go do IT already.” Or they said “If you want to do IT, do IT! Stop talking about it”  (Anybody else hear their mother’s voice when they read those sentences?)

Well, it’s easy for the other person to tell you what you should do. When someone says “Stop talking about IT. Just go do IT already!” it’s because it will make them feel better and solve whatever discomfort or responsibility they feel to help fix your situation.

But, here’s the thing: If you could just go do it, you would have already.

So, if you aren’t doing IT there are real things in your way.

If you aren’t doing whatever IT is for you, it’s not because there is something wrong with you.

Most likely at least one of these obstacles is in your way.

  • It’s overwhelming. It feels like a big project, there are lots of pieces, you don’t know where to start. You haven’t figured out all the steps yet or how to break it down into smaller pieces.
  • You are afraid of failing. Or of succeeding. Or of change.
  • You feel inadequate. You feel like an imposter.  
  • Doing IT takes you out of your comfort zone. IT exposes you more than you’d like or requires a skill you don’t have.
  • You are blaming and shaming yourself for not doing IT which paralyzes you.
  • Another part of you doesn’t want you to do IT.  Maybe you really want something different entirely.

So, stop beating yourself up for not doing IT already!

What can you do?

  • Accept that if you could you would, and that something is in your way.
  • Give yourself some empathy and compassion for the obstacles you face.
  • Explore which of these obstacles is in your way and find some support to move through them. Take one step at a time.

Does this intellectually make sense, but not something you see yourself implementing?

I get that. It isn’t an easy mind shift to make. I’d love to give you the support you need to make the change.

Contact me to set up a time to talk, and together we can create a conversation that functions as a safe container where you to can have the insights and find the clarity you need to move through these obstacles and finally do IT!  

Why Am I Always Anxious?

We are taught to see our value and self-worth through the eyes of others. As we receive messages praising, approving or criticizing, we form a sense of who we are from the response of those around us.

Consequentially, we come to rely on people outside ourselves for messages that we are worthy, that we belong, that we deserve caring. We develop a pattern of looking for affirmation, praise, compliments from outside ourselves.

When we don’t receive what we seek, we feel sad, anxious, and alone.

When we seek worth and value from outside ourselves, we set ourselves up to never fully have what we want. It’s never enough.

When we do receive the praise, affirmation, compliments and positive energy that others bring to us we are still anxious because we don’t know when it might disappear.

When it disappears, we don’t know how to create it for ourselves from within ourselves.

And so we stay anxious.

Yet, we have a choice. We can learn to cultivate a sense of self-worth that doesn’t rely on anyone and personal power that no one can take away.

When we have an internal sense of our own values and know that we are living in our integrity, then we are free.

We are free from the anxiety of a hurt ego. Others can still hurt us, but they can’t shame us or diminish our self-worth.

What’s your choice?

Will you stay anxious or will you cultivate a sense of self-worth and a personal power that come from within you?

Contact me for a complimentary coaching session to strategize an individual plan for you to build your personal power and let go of anxiety.

Take Back Your Power

We see the back of a woman looking out to the sea.
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Nobody can take away your power without your permission.

They can demote you, judge you, shame you, shun you, fire you, or call you names, but you always, ALWAYS have a choice as to how you react and feel.

When you feel disempowered it’s because someone has done something to put you down. You feel ashamed, embarrassed, or demeaned. While you are entitled to feel the pain of the person’s aggressive move towards you, and you are justified in your reaction, you can only be diminished in your power if you allow it.

How do you overcome a huge dose of negative energy that has been dumped on you?  How do you retain your dignity, your self worth and your composure in the face of bullying intentional or not, family, friends or work?

Viktor Frankl says, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

There is always a choice to use that space Frankl mentions to access your power within instead of reacting to the energy coming from outside sources. You can believe and know that you are worthy, that you are valuable even when someone does whatever she can to make you feel otherwise.

I found my way of handling this when in the midst of crisis a mentor said to me, “You can only influence what is inside your circle of control.”  Instead of behaving defensively to what felt like an unjust betrayal and attack, instead of arguing and fighting to change the circumstances, I took responsibility for how I showed up, how I spoke to people and how I made them feel.

Despite the feeling of being kicked in the stomach, I cultivated a sense of love and forgiveness in my heart so that everything I said could come from within my values. The anxiety still lived in me for months, but slowly things started to change, and as I relaxed in the way that I presented myself and responded to things, the people around me relaxed also.

Instead of their anxiety-driven behavior resonating and generating the same behavior from me, I led them towards a more relaxed, positive and open energy.

That is when I learned that no one can really take away your power if you do not give it to them. You ALWAYS have the power to receive their negativity and repurpose their energy into what you want to send into the world.

If you are struggling to take back your power and live in the area, PLEASE reach out and have a conversation with me. I so much want you to see what you truly have within you and what you can do. If you are in Southern California, PLEASE consider coming to one of my workshops where we focus on this directly.

Why Mindfulness?

Why Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a big buzzword right now and can mean a lot of different things. I realize that I have been thinking of it in a few different ways and want to clarify why I share it as an important tool.

Mindfulness is a tool that can help develop self-awareness. To the extent that I share it with you here and with clients, it is a way of getting out of the conversation in the head and connecting with your whole self to be more aware of your full experience of a given moment.

When you have a space between the experience of self and the thoughts in your mind, you discover that you have choices, that the way you talk to yourself is not Truth and is not set in stone. You can hear what you think and make a choice about how you want to respond to it.

When we get lost in our thoughts, we forget that we are not only the thinker and the talker, but also the listener. When we connect with ourselves as the listener, we connect to a deeper inner wisdom.

Try this:

Feel the palms of your feet against the floor and shift your awareness to the space where the surface of the foot meets the surface of your shoe or floor.

Feel your weight on your legs and feet or on your chair. Feel and notice how solid you are.

Notice the vertical energy that flows from your feet to your head and the horizontal expansive energy that crosses your chest and around your back from shoulder to shoulder.

Imagine that you are a mountain with the top of you head drifting into the clouds and the shoulders to feet being solidly grounded in the earth.

Your thoughts are the clouds.

Imagine the clouds floating in front of your eyes.

When a thought appears as a word, an image or anything else project it on to a cloud and let it float away.

Create that space between yourself the viewer and listener of the thought and the thought itself.

Ask yourself the following question and listen for the answer that comes: “What will I think of next?”

Did you feel the space between asking yourself the question and listening for the answer?

Watch the thoughts float by- they will move on in their own timing.

It can take time to find the experience of listening and becoming aware of yourself as the thinker. I will do this exercise again.

In the meantime, see if once in a while, you can ask yourself that question, “What will I think next?” and wait for the answer to appear.

Notice the gap.

Creating that space and that gap in your mind can be the difference between reacting without thinking and consciously choosing how you want to show up. This is a crucial skill for a leader whether it is leading in your own life or leading at work.