Oh, my people pleasers. Sit with me a minute. Just sit and listen to what I did recently and then laughed at myself.
I was standing and ironing. We just recently got a brand new iron, and I had some shirts and pants to get done for the week. So, I got to it. I set the iron to cotton, waited for it to heat up and went to work. I realized on shirt 3 that I was working really hard. I was holding my muscles and pressing down on the iron like I was at a workout class. So intense!
“JUST LET THE IRON DO ITS JOB!” POPPED INTO MY HEAD AS MY SHOULDERS SLIDE BACK DOWN AND MY UPPER ARMS RELAXED. AS I GLIDED OVER THE NEXT SHIRT WITH EASE, I NOTICED THAT THE IRONING HAD BECOME FASTER – I WAS GETTING MORE DONE IN LESS TIME, AND I WASN’T KILLING MYSELF TO DO IT.
Let’s unpack this together because what seems like a small silly thing turns out to have a few layers.
Layer number 1:
As a people pleaser, I am usually on the lookout for how I can make other people’s job’s easier before they even ask me for help. This means I end up working more than is necessary. Apparently, this spreads out to cover inanimate objects as well.. I couldn’t help myself, I had to “Work the iron” instead of letting the iron work.
How often am I overworking when it’s not only not necessary but not even practical, useful, or beneficial?
Layer number 2:
Growing up, I created a belief that if it’s not hard work, it’s not worth it. This is so deeply ingrained in how I live myself that I sometimes make things harder than they need to be just to feel more accomplished at the end. I mean, I’m not doing this consciously, but the pattern is obvious when you sit back and watch. Sometimes, things are easy if you just let them be.
How often am I adding a dimension of difficulty so that I feel worthy?
Layer number 3:
No trust. “I can do this better”. In order to use tools properly, you have to trust that they work the way that they are supposed to. It’s the same with people. Bill Belichick said it best with: “Do Your Job”. He didn’t say, do everyone else’s job because they’re not going to do it. This happened again with a different kind of iron after the initial ironing scenario. I was on the golf course with my parents and I was swinging the club like a warrior (for those that don’t golf: that’s not a good thing). My father reminded me to swing through the ball instead of trying to ‘hit at it’. And I stumbled. I didn’t trust the club to work the way it was supposed to.
How much easier would life be if I started trusting tools to work as they should? What about people?
In my work, part of my job is to help you find your energy leaks and as you can see, I hone my skills on myself. When you read through the above, did you notice anything that you do too? Maybe you flip burgers 234 times instead of just letting them cook on one side and then doing the other. Maybe you use force when putting food into your food processor instead of letting them get sucked in like they do. Maybe you press down on your vacuum as if that changes it’s suction power or take forever chopping veggies because you haven’t sharpened your knife in ages…
Where in day to day life are you losing energy because you don’t let the tool do its work?