I recently had a great session with a client who has been struggling with procrastination, perfectionism, and not achieving what he thinks he SHOULD be achieving. We had a long conversation about the toxicity of the word, SHOULD. I did something I rarely do – I gave direct instruction to a client. I directed that client to banish that toxic word, SHOULD, from his vocabulary, because:
“SHOULD is the middleman between [unrealistic] expectations and [unfulfilled] reality.”
Of course, when we “should ourselves,” we are, in effect, imposing unrealistic expectations. Language matters. Creating intention or even setting a clear objective to accomplish something specific is great. Those ideas inspire us to get off our butts – figuratively or literally – and take some action in our lives. On the other hand, sitting back, holding regret and guilt over intentions and goals for which we’ve done nothing is not only unproductive—it actually prevents us from taking action because of the self-imposed guilt and shame.
“I should get back to dancing,” is one I hear quite often. “I should get out more to socialize with friends,” is another. “Yeah, I used to go to this-or-that class or event regularly, and I guess I should try to do that again someday…” Heck, that’s got guilt, shame, noncommittal, and a roadblock all wrapped up in one, tidy package of procrastination and avoidance!
So, the one thing that we SHOULD NOT DO, is should ourselves. When it comes to dancing, think of it as “shoulding yourself in the foot” (sorry about that!). I just finished a session with a client where we talked about this exact issue. He has been so focused on his career and material gain over the past few years that his life is now way out of balance, being organized around fear-of-loss rather than a sense of flow and opportunity. When we looked at what was missing, two key items jumped out: Fun and Friends. “What did you used to do for fun?” I asked. “Back in college I used to love dancing. Latin stuff,” he replied. My invitation to him? Take your girlfriend, find some dance lessons nearby, and go out and dance.
And for you, dear readers? Haven’t been out to class for a while? It’s been several seasons since you’ve come to Sidewalk Salsa (believe it or not, we’re in our 14th season). This is the week that you can turn a SHOULD into a WILL, when we…
See you on the dance floor.