I worked with Sarah for two years. Sarah came to me in a state of disarray. She was working full time; parenting her two children; had ageing parents who needed more and more care, and a number of siblings who either lived abroad, interstate or didn’t seem to want to help. Sarah was in a world of pain, suffocating from her obligations and resentful of the situation she found herself in.

Sarah knew that something needed to change but she could not figure a way around her current circumstance. If she stayed where she was, she felt like she would crumble, yet if she dropped her burdens, who would pick them up, what would happen to her mum and dad – after all, they were the priority, weren’t they?

Whilst this was Sarah’s situation, I wonder how many of us feel like this? We get on with things because “that’s the way it’s supposed to be” without even questioning a new way, a better way to make it all work.

I worked with Sarah on shifting her mindset from one of obligation, responsibility and resentment to care, compassion and boundaries. Here is what we did for Sarah specifically:

We listed the things that were important to her and put them in order of priority
Writing the list of things down that were important to Sarah was the first step in untangling what she considered the “mess of life”, putting them into an order that needed attention was a great way of working out where to focus her energy.

We worked out the pain points
Delving into each piece and working out the pain points (which then meant we could identify what COULD help) was, as Sarah said “cathartic” as it gave her the clarity to get into a practical head space.

We made a list of things that we could ditch, outsource or delegate and keep
We then had three buckets- what to ditch that no longer served her; what tasks to outsource or delegate (and to whom); and lastly, what to keep (and yes, keep was deliberately last).

We put an action plan in place
What transpired from all that work was a number of conversations with the people around Sarah, Sarah’s own work on her mindset and Sarah holding onto the boundaries she had put into place.

As women (especially women), we tend to feel the level of obligation and responsibility at a deep level, whether we have been brought up this way or whether we have taken on more responsibility than we needed to. Eventually it turns to resentment and no one wants to live there.

In her book, Girl, Wash your Face, Rachel Hollis says “You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are”. The trouble is, sometimes we just don’t know how to get out of that rut do we? Once Sarah was able to identify the things that were important to her and put them in priority order, she was able to come up with solutions and an action plan to help her live a happier, less overwhelming life. Is that the end of the story? Of course not. Will it take discipline and consistency to stay on track,? Of course it will! Sarah is committed because she knows the new way of doing things will help her immensely.

Sometimes you just need to work through the “mess of life” and get clear on your priorities. I work one on one with people to help them do just that. Click here if you want to chat about how we can “declutter” your mind. 

📸 by Johnson Wang on Unsplash