Overwhelmed? Ask yourself this question

Ever have one of those days when you don’t know where to start, when you feel overwhelmed, when you ask yourself, what should I DO today?

Luna under blankets 900 x 600

There are so many conflicting priorities and you just wish a big, fat genie would hand you the answer. Or do it all for you.

I woke up that way the other day. But when I asked myself what I should do I felt worse — more unfocused and overwhelmed than ever.

So, I started asking myself what I really wanted to do instead.

That’s when the magic happened.

The answer was writing a blog post about how women should never let themselves be limited by age, labels or society’s expectations.

Writing it allowed me to share something I feel passionate about. And that meant I was being fully myself as I wrote. It was what I wanted to do.

After I finished the post, I was energized and much more productive for the rest of the day. I even got some of those “shoulds” accomplished because I was feeling strong, centred and positive.

What do you really want to do today?

If you are feeling overwhelmed ask yourself this question: What do I really want to do? What do I want to do right now? What would make me feel good?

If you can’t act on your answer right away, make note of it and do so the next opportunity you get. Even better, create that opportunity by scheduling some ‘me’ time into your day.

Your answer may be nudging you towards taking a risk — changing jobs, ending a relationship or moving in a direction that you’re not sure about.

Or it may just be reminding you that you need to write a blog post.

Go where your answer takes you

If your answer makes you uncomfortable don’t come up with a million reasons why it won’t work. If you do, you will just stifle yourself and feel even worse.

See where your answer leads, instead. It will help bring you clarity and probably improve your mood.

Call to Action

Whenever you get sidetracked by obligations your heart just isn’t in, ask yourself this question because none of us has time to waste.

Why spend today doing something that doesn’t serve you?

Make 2014 the year you finally own it – who you are, what you are good at, what you want to do, what you don’t want to do, what makes you feel good and what you want to contribute.

You have a lot to offer and it’s time the world knew it!

c 2016 by Kathy Barthel

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The secret to your success is in your childhood

If you want to know what you should be doing for a living, look at your childhood.

Back then you knew what you loved to do and you did it. You didn’t need to take a course, survey your friends or consult a career coach.

Everything was clear.

I was an instigator. In elementary school I got other kids to follow me around the yard at recess, singing songs I had chosen and written out on long sheets of paper.

I came up with new painting techniques or created completely new kinds of paintings — and became very annoyed when other kids copied them. I loved performing and collaborating on plays. I got great marks in English class.

The things you loved to do as a kid reveal your talents and personality and they provide the clues to what you were meant to do in your career.

Think back to elementary school:

What were you always doing every chance you got?

What did you get in trouble for?

What did you excel at?

What did you hate to do?

Doing what you’re good at — or what you love

You were yourself back then, the same self, with everyone you met. You hadn’t learned to suppress some of your personality to please others, to make them feel better about themselves or to fit in.

Back then, you didn’t just do what you were good at, you did what you loved!

I knew the difference between the two when I was 10 but I only discovered it years later. I remember the year and even the restaurant I was in when the ‘revelation’ occurred to me.

The full monty

Being a brat means defying any social convention that tells you it’s too late to reconnect with who you really are.

It is never too late to make a change — if you want to.

Being a brat means giving the world the full monty! No holding back, no excuses.

Don’t compartmentalize yourself, don’t keep those aspects that are most truly you from the rest of the world where they could do so much good.

They are connected to your strongest talents and gifts.

If you’re not doing what you love for a living, what did you love to do as a kid?

The secret to your success is there.

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

How Katharine Hepburn changed my life

When I was a kid I lived in the country, far away from the big city.

I knew that if I wanted to go to university — and get away from my current circumstances — I would have to make it happen myself. I would have to organize it and finance it on my own.

But sometimes when you feel you’re on your own, you’re not. Often there is someone whose example gives you the courage to make a major change.

For me that person was outspoken actress and icon, Katharine Hepburn (below, in a 1940 still by Clarence Sinclair Bull, for The Philadelphia Story). She played feisty, independent-minded women in films and was much the same off-camera.

Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story, 1940 by Clarence Sinclair Bull

“That’s all there is to life, being part of it.”

I read those words of Hepburn’s and I never forgot them.

As a teen I desperately wanted to be part of life — a richer, bigger life — which to me meant going off to university and living in a big city. There was energy there, intellectual stimulation and fresh, new ideas and ways of looking at the world!

I had outgrown my circumstances. I needed to stretch and grow and learn, to be challenged. I was hungry for it.

Hepburn’s independent spirit reinforced my resolve. I watched her films and read everything I could about her. Her passion for life and her view that you must take responsibility for your own destiny inspired and empowered me. It made me feel bold and strong.

Where would I be without Hepburn’s inspiration?

How I could have changed the course of my life without her inspiration is something I won’t allow myself to consider. Altering my circumstances was so critical to my well-being and to my future, that I cannot imagine what would have happened had I not done it. I won’t let myself imagine it.

Feeling inspired gives you courage and reinforces the courage you already have. It helps push you to make the changes that will move you forward and into a healthier place.

Katharine Hepburn’s advice for living:

  • “Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around.”
  • “Without discipline, there’s no life at all.”
  • “The thing about life is that you must survive. Life is going to be difficult, and dreadful things will happen. What you do is move along, get on with it, and be tough. Not in the sense of being mean to others, but being tough with yourself and making a deadly effort not to be defeated.”
  • “We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.”

But don’t forget your sense of humour. This quote inspires Bratty Kathy every single day:

“If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.”

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

The bratty voice in your head

How can you push on with the business of brattiness when there are two opposing voices in your head? The bratty one says, “There’s no one else like you! Be a brat and change the world!” and the scared one says, “Why take that risk? Better to be safe than sorry.”

What do you do? Pretty much nothing. You get spurts of brattiness one day and complete inactivity the next. Each voice cancels the other one out. Pretty soon you’re a mess of fear, trepidation and regret.

Risk is too risky

There is this idea that risk is, well, too risky. It’s that vague frontier where it’s hard to get your footing, a nebulous mass of beige, populated by nasty villains who may jump out of the void at any time and take you down.They’re a bit like “The Blue Meanies” in the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”.

There’s no one else like you

But think about this—being a brat and making a real difference is predicated on the notion that there is no one else like you. Seriously. How could you do it if you were just like everybody else?

You have unique talents, gifts and experiences that no one else has, that no one else has in quite the same mix. You’re one-of-a-kind. Unique. You have your own voice. You are not charging into the void unarmed, not by a long shot. So the risk, is actually not so risky at all.

Don’t ignore the bratty voice

You have what it takes to succeed. But remember, if you ignore the bratty voice that urges you to do what you were born to do, it won’t stop yakking. It will keep right on until you act. That I can guarantee, so you may as well start. 

c 2013 Kathy Barthel