One of the biggest limiting beliefs we have is what I call the Illusion of After.
The Illusion of After is the belief that you’ll have time and energy for the thing you really want to do after you resolve the thing that is currently taking up your time and energy.
It sounds like this:
After the wedding…
After the kids are in school…
After the kids are out of school…
After this project is done…
And here’s the truth:
There is no “after…” because there is always another storm on the horizon. No time is perfect. So there is only now.
Of course, even though we know this, we still get caught up in the illusion.
My Illusion of After
Most recently, I got caught up in the delusion that things would miraculously change after I sold my apartment.
I had this story in my head that after I sold my apartment, I would suddenly free up all the rest of the stuck energy that has been keeping me stuck in various areas of my work and life for the past 3 years (Ok, more than 3 years) and make progress in what really matters most to me. I would feel financially free after paying off all my debts. (there was a lot of that… for another time)
I had a story that after I sold my apartment I would I would enroll more coaching client. I’d easily launch my programs and write the sales copy that’s been eluding me. I would magically find an assistant. I’d be back to engaging on social media regularly.
All. The. Things.
Would just happen. With ease and grace and in flow.
After that magic closing day.
I probably don’t need to tell you this….
It’s not quite been like that.
My Reality of After
I have not felt free in the way I expected. I’ve not found magic time and energy. Much of what was waiting for “after” is still waiting.
Over the past month since I sold my home, I’ve had a new series of things arise.
After the Jewish holidays…
After I complete my certification requirements for the 10-month Sacred Depths Coach Training program I just completed…
Meanwhile, I’m adjusting to a new nomadic way of life. Staying in temporary accommodations, navigating new neighborhoods and commutes. Most of my stuff is in storage.
There’s no magical “AFTER…”
The Shame Spiral
I know this, of course. And yet I still found myself in a bit of shame spiral around all the things I haven’t yet brought to form.
My inner mean girl has been waiting for this moment: “What’s your excuse now, Renee?”
I know it’s just fear talking. Fear I won’t execute my plan. Fear it will all fall apart.
The Supporting Evidence
And then I paused for a moment and looked at all that I’ve been doing for the past month, all that I’m doing right now.
- I’m closing in on ONE YEAR of daily blogging. Through all the chaos and commotion of marketing and selling my apartment and navigating the huge transitions of this past year, including a deep personal loss, I’ve still managed to write and publish daily.
- Over the same period I’ve been immersed in a 10-month Sacred Depths Coach Training program. Throughout this past year I showed up live to every training call (each one 90+ minutes) except for one (for which I had a pre-existing conflict). I also did weekly sessions with my coaching buddy, plus all the homework for each week’s class.
- In the month since I moved, I completed all of my certification requirements, which included over 9 hours of coaching in the final two week stretch. This is a lot of space to hold for other people. For most of the past year I didn’t have the energy available to take on clients. Suddenly, even at a time when my life was uprooted, I was able to find my grounding and hold space for help others.
- In the middle of this year of navigating a few big life events, I decided it was a good time to take up stand-up comedy. I’ve performed every month since May.
<li></li> <li>I did all of this without missing a day at the gym or of meditation practice. And I have stayed healthy.</li>Despite all the uncertainty in my life, I’m not frozen with anxiety or panic attacks.
I share this not to prove that I am super human, but as evidence against my story that I had to wait until after I sold my apartment to do any of this.
I may not be where I would ideally like to be, but I can recognize that I don’t control the timing.
What Was I Thinking?
And honestly, looking at this past year — a year of pain, grief, loss, and uncertainty, (and also moments of profound joy and awesomeness) in which I pretty much took a wrecking ball to my life as I knew it by disrupting my business, my home, my everything…
I don’t even know HOW I did any of this.
As I completed my certification requirements a few weeks ago, I wondered: what was I even thinking when I decided to enroll in an intense and immersive coach training program?
After years of struggling to publish to my blog on a monthly basis, what possessed me to start a daily blogging practice in this year of all years?
There have been days lately where I have wondered,
How am I even standing? How I am breathing?
But I am standing. I am breathing.
Yesterday I was looking through my website. I rarely do this, and it was eye-opening. I had this moment where I wondered,
Where did all of this come from?? When did I even write this? How did I do this?
I felt like this stuff just materialized through me.
The Big Insight
And in that moment I had the big a-ha:
Whatever we are putting off until after the current storm is the way through the storm. This is the thing that carries us through.
I’m not standing in spite of all doing all these things in a year that seemed to offer no space for them. I’m standing because I dared to create space for them. And they, in turn, carried me through. As they continue to do.
The storms of life come one after another. There is no After… There is only now. And when you give your life to the right things, they will give life back to you.
Where are you caught up in the Illusion of After? What’s one action you can take to get started today?
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