Do you fall into the trap of ‘this or that’? |

Do you fall into the trap of ‘this or that’?

I leant forward in my seat.

It couldn’t be done.

No way.

To get the project finished on time, would mean another weekend at work.

My heart sank, and my stomach contracted.

I would have to tell my partner this was another weekend written off for work, in service of my clients, my business.

I felt myself growing hotter and hotter, as the realisation dawned on me.

As I stared into the  laptop screen I felt a crushing sense of defeat.

This wasn’t a life.

It was a prison sentence.

For a long time, I though I could only have ‘this’ or ;’that’ - a great home life or a great worklife.

Later, grow my business or be there for my kids.

Have long holidays or see my business thrive.

Later when I did my professional therapy training, I regularly went from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening away, and back to work on the Monday morning.

I never felt resentment - simply energy, for doing what I loved.

Curious that I could see the same amount of time ‘sacrificed’ in very different terms.

Working with a coach helped me see something new.

It wasn’t a question of ‘this’ or ‘that.’ I could choose for it to be ‘This’ AND ‘That.’

I could hold the possibility of having a thriving business and a good life at home.

To grow my business and take longer holidays.

When we limit ourselves to this or that thinking, it sets us up for a double bind.

We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

But the ‘This and that’ opens up fresh possibility for positive change.

It invites creative exploration.

It gives agency and opportunity.

Looking back at the ‘lost weekend’, yes I did need to be in the office.

It went with the professional responsibility of leading a team to the finishing line of a time critical project.

However, rather than drowning in the resentment and guilt of losing my time off and time with my partner, I could have seen the possibility for being more present with them when I was home, prioritising our time, rather than ruminating and resenting.

I could have planned time off later in the week and chosen to take care of myself and my relationship.

At the time, I didn’t.

I could only see ‘This’ or ‘That’ and as soon as we fall into that space, our options become limited and heavy.

So for you, where are you making things in your life ‘this’ or ‘that’?

What would open up for you, if it was more ‘This and that’?

Photo by michael podger on Unsplash