Did you know that the word “priorities” was almost non-existent before 1940?
Today our lives are consumed with priorities, the lists of what needs to be done are endless. Some of us even make making a list of priorities a priority.
Somewhere along the way, we stop and realise that we are no longer on track but are just hustling to get by. To tick off lists. No longer doing anything for ourselves, nothing for joy.
We end up feeling unfulfilled and resentful. We look at ourselves in the mirror and think “How did I become this person? Where did I go? How will I ever get me back?”
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- The big danger of lacking purpose
- Ten in-your-face signs that you are standing on the sidelines of your life
- The top tectonic adjustments you will need to make to step away from the sidelines and into more purpose
It is time to stop the other’s priorities merry-go-round and start living your life with more purpose. Use these ten signs to step back into who you are and everyone will benefit as you reclaim a full, fun and satisfying life.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Sign up for Sundae’s FREE online workshop series and learn key strategies for expats struggling to get back on track.
- Expat Happy Hour – EP 84 The Bitter PTA President
- Expat Happy Hour – EP 78: Where Did My Power Go?
- Expat Happy Hour – EP 31: Lack Of Purpose Is Life-Threatening.
- Expat Happy Hour – EP 134: Purpose Hunting
- Free Podcast & Accompanying Worksheets – Purpose Pack
- Sundae’s battle cry for being more on purpose: Expats on Purpose Manifesto
- Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Facebook Group – Expats on Purpose
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I’m a solution oriented coach and Intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
All right a huge caveat for today’s episode.
I want you to get ready for a bunch of mirrors. I don’t know, what do you want to call them, truth bombs, wake up calls.
I’ve got something to say that might feel like a bucket of cold water, but here’s why I’m doing it. I’m doing it because I care about you and it might be just the thing that you need to see yourself differently so that you feel motivated to take action.
I’m going to share this with you. But with one promise to me, promise me you don’t shame yourself if you see yourself, because you know what? I’ve been there, every single thing I’m going to talk about I’ve done, every client I work with works through these. And on the other side they’re living a life that they couldn’t have imagined even a year ago.
So here’s what we’re going to do.
Look at the top 10 ways I see as signs that you’re living on the sidelines and not on purpose.
So one of my clients said to me before we started working together that she was feeling somehow happy but unsatisfied and the problem was that she felt like even though things were good. She felt like she was living on the sidelines of her life. So we’re looking at whether you’re living on the sidelines or on purpose and here are ten signs for you to decide.
Okay number one, sign number one, we’re going to look at, are you looking in your life that you’ve got many priorities or few priorities, which one do you identify with most, many priorities or few priorities?
In an article from Giovanni Dos Santos, he talks about how the word priorities was almost non-existent before 1940, because “priority” was used as singular. It means first or prime.
So I want you to think, do you have many priorities or few priorities? We kind of wear our priorities like a badge, like it’s something good to have a lot of them. But get honest with yourself, have you lost your ability to discern what is important. You feel so overwhelmed because you have so many things to do, one of my clients talks about her to-do list, she’s going to have a book full just of to-do lists.
Okay, if that’s you maybe you’ve lost discernment on what is important, what’s the priority?
Or maybe you’re like I used to be where you try to bend reality to get it all in. You’re like my client who would just stay up late to finish it. Her idea was “Well, I got all these things on my list, I’m just going to work longer or stay up later.” So you bend reality to get it all in as if you don’t need eight hours of sleep in a day.
So if this is you, think about it, is it that you have many priorities or few priorities? Those who are on the sidelines feel like they’ve got many many many priorities. Those who are living on purpose are focused on a few.
One of my clients, Samantha, worked really hard to do all of the things. You can probably guess she had a lot of priorities and she would do all of the things. And on her list she’d have some things for her and she would try to start that at night. But by the time she got around to nine o’clock she was exhausted and she’d either fall asleep doing it or she’d say “Forget it, I can’t do it, I’ll just do it tomorrow.” Samantha may be like you.
We’re showing signs of, number two. You meet others needs instead of meeting your own needs along with others. So if you’ve got sign number two, meet others needs rather than meet your own needs along with others, you’re showing evidence of standing on the sidelines.
Okay, those who are living on purpose, meet their own needs along with those other needs and their families organization, doesn’t mean they ignore it, but they make sure that they get their needs met too.
Okay, number three. The third sign you’re living on the sidelines and not on purpose is that you ignore your priorities.
So the thing that you want to do keeps going to the bottom of your to-do list or you say you’re going to do it when the kids are off on vacation or when you get more help in the house or when you turn whatever age or when you move to whatever country. That’s a sure sign that you’re ignoring your priorities, things are important to you. It’s a sign that you’re living on the sidelines, those on purpose claim and communicate what is priority.
So for example, if you’re on purpose and health is important to you, then when you go on vacation you say to your partner “Listen, I’m really taking my health seriously, It’s important to me that I go running every day, what has to happen to make that possible?” That’s an example of someone on purpose.
Claiming and communicating the priority. Maybe you’re working in a business as a side thing, taking care of your family, but you’ve started something professional to claim and communicate your priority. You say “Okay, the kids have a 10-week break, my business is important to me, what has to happen for me to put in 3 hours of work every day?” And then you find a solution. That’s an example of claiming and communicating your priorities.
So as you can see the first three signs all have to do with narrowing in and focusing on your key priority. And maybe it’s health, maybe it’s financial independence, maybe it’s more time with your family, I don’t know. But narrowing on priorities, meeting your needs along with others and then claiming and communicating the priority so they can help you do that.
First three signs.
Okay, the fourth one, this one might hurt a little bit. I want you to ask yourself, are you busy? Most of you have just said yes in your head, but I’m not finished my question yet.
Are you busy or productive?
Most of you are listening are busy non-stop from morning until night, you’re doing a hundred things, all of the things, that I ask myself “You know what before I had kids I was super busy.” And now I’m like “What the heck was I doing?” Honestly, I thought I was so busy. But then you throw kids into it or the next level of your profession and you’re wondering “What was I doing the whole time?” So one sign of whether you are on the sidelines or on purpose is you can answer with your whole heart the difference between being busy and being productive. And one of the signs that you know you’re being productive is when you go to bed at night and you feel fantastic about what you got done. Busy people go to bed at night and they feel like they’ve got nothing to show for it, right that sucks, I hate it when that happens.
So people who are on purpose feel like the time that they are spending doing is helping them get towards what’s most important for them. They put their head on the pillow at night going “I rocked it, I did all of the things, but in service of what was important.”
If you’re guilty of being busy then the culprit is often perfectionism. Maybe you were doing things for too long or too detailed or like we said meeting other people’s needs and not yours or you’re going to notice some of the signs coming up are what kept you busy and not productive. So busy versus productive is super connected to being on purpose and you know, we’re working really hard at this decided not to wear busy like a badge of honor, but to look at working towards something, building something. Being productive is creating an impact that’s important to you.
Okay, sign number five is, ask yourself are you 24/7 or are you 8 to 5?
People who are on the sidelines of their life are available 24/7, and guess what? Everybody takes advantage of it, from your partner to your kids to the PTA. Are you available 24/7 or are you doing, let’s say office hours in the sense of, “I am going to be available from 8:00 to 5:00 and then my boundaries are set.” Are you available for others always or do you actually set boundaries and take breaks?
This is super connected to whether your strategies are focused on endurance, meaning give all until you burn out or resilience. Or you give and then you rejuvenate, give and rejuvenate.
Okay, so ask yourself, Are you 24/7 or 8 to 5. 24/7’rs, hey I’m with you. I’ve been there. I mean being a mother and having your own business or being a professional, so easy to be 24/7. I get that. 8 to 5, whatever that is for you, I’m just using that as symbolic, but do you have boundaries and do you carve out time for you to take breaks? Then you’re closer to being on purpose.
Number 6. Do you honor the shoulds and coulds or do you honor your own compass? People are on the sidelines of their life often do what they can or what they feel like they should. Like one of my clients who was the PTA president because nobody else is volunteering their hand. So she’s like, “Well I have time, I guess I could do that, well, I feel like I should.” But she didn’t want to.
People who are on purpose honor their own compass, they do what they want, they do what feels like it’s going towards an impact they are trying to create. Okay, and that woman I’m talking to you about that was PTA president for years finally said no when she started listening to her own compass and that freed up time to say yes to a school of design. Now she’s a certified designer.
So if you are someone who is really honestly only honoring what you should do or what society says you should do what you could do and are hungry to honor your own compass, this is your permission slip. Because on the other side of that is freedom and if you’re not there yet, that’s okay, because I have clients who say “Sundae, I don’t even know what I want.” That is totally okay, don’t worry I’ve got your back, I can help you with that.
The first step is recognizing whether you were in the should or could camp, which means on the sidelines or whether you honor your own compass.
So signs 4, 5 & 6 were about how we’re spending our time. Are we busy? Are we available 24/7 and we’re doing all the things we should and could. Or are we really on purpose, productively working toward creating an impact that’s important to us, careful with our boundaries and doing what is in alignment with what we want.
And that leads me to number seven, number seven is, are you saying a dirty or a clean yes? A dirty yes is when you say yes, but you don’t really want to, a clean yes is when you say yes, and it’s with your whole heart. And if you want to know more about that, you can go to Episode 84: The Bitter PTA President in Expat Happy Hour. A dirty no is when you say no but you really want to, maybe you feel like other people will be happier if you say no. And a clean no is when you say no and you don’t feel guilty or shameful about it, your boundaries are clear.
So if you would love to have a clean yes and you know where your boundaries are clear and when you do say yes, it’s with a whole heart, check out Episode 84 because I give you more guidelines there. People who are on the sidelines give dirty yes’s, they say, yes, but they don’t want to. People who are on purpose, when they do say yes it is their whole heart and when they say no it’s because it’s not in alignment with what they really want.
So after sign seven, dirty yes or clean yes. we’re going to look at sign number eight. Do you adapt your own systems to others priorities or do your systems support your priorities? So here’s what I mean by that, do you have your thing going but then you put your thing on hold because others needs pop-up or is your thing supported by a system that happens no matter what?
So for example, if you put everything on hold during summer vacation and you put it on hold kind of reluctantly, you adapt your system to others priorities. If you keep doing your thing during summer vacation and that feels right to you, your systems support your priorities. So that is a big sign whether you feel like you’re on the sidelines or whether you are on purpose.
Now here’s a caveat, some of you are saying “That’s exactly what I want to do, I don’t want to do anything during summer vacation.” Well, then that’s fine, then your system actually supports your priorities. When you drop everything and then do summer and that’s what you want, there’s no resentment, everything feels an alignment then you’ve got a good system. What I’m talking about is when you’re adapting your thing, your routine, because of others priorities and then your thing goes to the back burner and you’re not loving it. Some people have their thing go to the back burner and they’re totally okay with that, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about when you feel like you’re giving something up, when you feel like you’re resentful, when you feel like you have betrayed yourself, then you’re on the sidelines.
I don’t really care, the what, that’s not important, it’s how it impacts you. So maybe your partner’s work schedule dominates how you spend your time and you’re not okay with it. That would be an example. Or do you look at your partner’s work schedule, are flexible and you have systems in place to still get your needs met? That’s the difference between sidelines and on purpose.
So people who are on purpose have systems in place so that they get to do what they want all year round. And I don’t mean like, you know drink margaritas on the beach, even though that would be fun. But nobody wants to do that all year it would just get boring. What I mean is, make your health a priority, your health remains a priority all year round, maybe connection with your family remains a priority or it’s your professional endeavor. Whatever it is, when I say do what you want it doesn’t mean to be frivolous, it means being on purpose in alignment with what’s most important to you. And for most people that I work with your health and well-being, your relationships and something for you, when those things are all taken care of you’re really doing what you want. So think about your systems how good are they at supporting your priorities? That’s number eight.
If you’re on the sidelines you adapt your systems to others priorities. If you’re on purpose your systems support priorities. Again, if you don’t know how to do that don’t worry, the first step is recognizing you’ve got some work to do on your systems. And I’m doing this right after I got back from summer vacation, my kids got off of school at the end of May, they don’t go back till the 13th of August. I’m proud to say that I have a system that supports my priorities. Does it always work perfectly? No. Does it always feel a hundred percent exactly how I want it? No. But it’s a pretty damn good system. I do feel like I can remain on purpose with my health, with my family and with my business even during this gigantic summer gap
Okay number nine, ninth sign. To know whether you are on the sidelines or on purpose is, now this is we have got to be honest, do you put yourself last? That means you don’t carve out time for exercise, you never get quiet time. Or do you do what I call take first-class care of yourself, first class self-care is when you take care of you, your physical needs, your needs for exercise, for good nutrition for quiet. It’s not being selfish, it just is literally taking care of you, your body, your mind, body, spirit. So that you can give to everybody else, so that you can work on purpose, so you can create something, so you can be a present parent, you can be a good spouse.
And I say this, this one is a big one for me, I didn’t realize it but in hindsight I did a shit job at taking care of myself. And then I started doing a little bit, you know I thought because I wasn’t a junkie either I was okay. But in hindsight, I wasn’t doing a very good job and then started doing a better job at taking care of myself. You know, I would go running maybe once and then maybe twice and then maybe I would start running actually two times a week, but it would really be to force myself, not because it felt right. And one day I realized when I was kind of taking a self check on my own first class self-care. I realized that for the longest time self-care meant for me not abusing my body.
I mean for real, is self care for you not abusing your body? And abuse by depriving it of sleep, putting unhealthy things into it, not letting it move enough, drinking too much or whatever it is. So level one of self-care might be just to stop abusing your body in these ways and you can work towards being on purpose. First class self-care, that means taking care of yourself.
So signs 7, 8, 9 are interesting because it’s getting into your body, listening to that body compass of saying yes, when you really mean it. the clean yes, and not the dirty yes. Where you’ve created systems that really support you and what you want, and you’re taking care of yourself. Doesn’t that sound amazing? That’s the difference between being on the sidelines and living on purpose.
And the last one, the last sign to really be on purpose is to ask yourself, are you responding to circumstances or are you proactively shaping your circumstances?
Are you responding or are you proactively shaping? So many people I work with pride themselves on being flexible and adaptive and then years later realize that somewhere along the way they gave up their power, they gave up their voice. They get ten years down the road and they say “What did I say yes to?”
You can shape your circumstances and still be flexible, but it’s important to not lose your voice and not lose your power. If you’re interested in learning more i’ve got a podcast, it’s Episode 78: Where Did My Power Go? And you can listen to that and go deeper and ask yourself, are you on the sidelines simply responding or are you proactively shaping your circumstances?
This is especially challenging when we live globally mobile lives, where one person has the assignment and the other one is the accompanying partner, where you can feel like you have no power. And this is something I really have to praise my husband about because when we were making the decision to go from Switzerland to West Africa, or maybe even could have been South Asia, we didn’t know exactly where, he always said “Tell me are you 100% in? Use your voice, tell me, because we know if you’re not on board hundred hundred it’s a disaster waiting to happen.” So are you voicing what’s important to you so you can proactively shape your circumstances or are you giving your voice away?
So there you have it, ten signs for you to distinguish. Are you on the sidelines of your life or are you really living on purpose? Maybe one of them stuck out and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, okay I got nine, but that one I need to work on.” Or maybe you’re listening and you’re like “Damn it Sundae, all ten.” I know I am going to get an email with someone who said that, I always get emails from people saying “Sundae, I’ve got every one of them.” Or someone says “Sundae, it’s like you’re in my head.” or “You’re a fly on the wall.” Don’t shame yourself for that, the reason why is because I see it all the time, you are normal. This is who I work with to help you go from living on the sidelines of your life toward being on purpose. And all ten of these things are things, I grab my clients hand, hold on and we walk through together so that you can build.
If you’re connecting with this, I have got your back. There’s a lot of ways I can support you. One is you can join the Facebook group Expats on Purpose, we are united by the Expats on Purpose Manifesto, some of the elements in the manifesto are in the signs that we talked about today. I will put the link to the whole Manifesto there, you can check it out in the show notes.
Don’t miss Episode 78: Where Did My Power Go? or Episode 31: Lack Of Purpose Is Life-Threatening. I’m really encouraging you, if you’re hungry for purpose, to go back to my episodes in the 30s, that’s where we were talking about purpose two years ago and now recently a year ago the 70’s, because those were the episodes where I was really focused on purpose.
This is something I’ve been talking about for years and just because it’s not popping up in your iTunes app you shouldn’t miss out on it. So you go directly to my website Expat Happy Hour, go to sundaebean.com go to Expat Happy Hour and click back to the episodes in the 30s and the 70s for more.
I’ve got a lot ahead, again grab my hand and come with me. We’re going to start the purpose challenge in my Facebook group Expats on Purpose starting August 19th, 2019.
If you’re listening to this afterwards, then you can check out Expats on Purpose anyway and scroll down to the challenge. It will still be there if you’re listening to this at a later date. If you are listening to this before then make sure that you go to the show notes and join the challenge so you don’t miss it, we have five days purpose challenge just for you to help you get off the sidelines of your life.
Also, as if that wasn’t enough, I’ve got a free training coming up for you that is called The Purpose Detector: five practical ways to start carving yourself a more meaningful life abroad.
Can you tell I’m fired up about purpose you guys. This is my thing, this is what means the most to me is helping people find more purpose and meaning and that’s why I’m dedicating so much energy to it, because lack of purpose is life-threatening.
You can check that out in my episode Lack Of Purpose Is Life-Threatening and we are programmed for purpose. That’s my Episode 134. I just talked about it, there’s no shame in wanting more. That’s going to be my thing that shot from the hilltops, because it’s the one thing that’s going to help you live your life with more satisfaction, joy and meaning.
If this is also resonating with you, and you’re like “I can’t wait for all this, I got to do something now.” Then I want you to email me and be the first on my list to know about what I have coming up to help you move the needle on all of these things. I’ve got one to one work limited to a few people that I am opening up ten spots for. And if you want to be the first to know. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure you’re the first to know.
All right you guys, you’ve been listening to Expat Happy hour, this is Sundae Bean, thank you for listening.
I’m on fire about purpose, if any part of you feels like you’re living on the sidelines of your life, stick with me to the purpose challenge, check out my episodes, I’ve got a purpose pack, free podcast and accompanying worksheets, everything for you to be more on purpose. So get in touch with me and let me know, I want to be by your side.
I’ll leave you the words from Leo Rosten. “The purpose of life is not to be happy but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have made some difference that you have lived at all.”