Ep 8: Get The Balance Right – A Conversation For The Masses

A quick conversation this week looking at:

  • only ever doing what we want to do
  • the distinction between not wanting to do something and wanting to do it but not being in the mood
  • when should we wait to feel inspired before taking action and when should we sit ourselves down in the chair and just get the job done

Also, a little bonus chat about how to remove the struggle from any situation.

Full Interview Transcript

(scroll down to the bottom if you prefer to download the transcript).

Welcome to Quietly Bohemian the podcast for introvert, highly sensitive people and kindred free spirits where we look at turning away from your inner critic and towards your inner wisdom. So you do your thing your way in your own time and live life. True to yourself. I'm your host, Laura Li, a transformational life coach, and you can find out more about living life your way at quietlybohemian.com

Hello, Quiet Bohemians and welcome to episode eight of Conversations For The Masses. In some ways, episode eight is a special episode because when I was learning how to produce a podcast, my teacher told me that most people, only produce seven episodes and then they give up.

And interestingly. it has been difficult to think of what to talk to you about this week and I almost said to myself I can skip a week, but that whole idea of not wanting to be one of those people with only seven episodes has spurred me on. And even though, I will let you into a little secret, I am recording this at 9.45 on Sunday evening ready to go out first thing Monday morning,  I have managed to get over that seven episode mark.

And so happily we get to episode eight. Today's conversation is based around the song, Get The Balance Right, and it’s an early song, from 1983 and great, great synth music. But again, The early songs are not necessarily the deepest lyrics that Martin ever wrote. And I think the song really is advocating us to be selfish, which again, is not necessarily something that most songwriters would do. But Martin goes his own way as ever.

I'm not here to talk today about being selfish, but I do like the idea of getting the balance right.

I've taken on the task of writing a book from idea to published in four weeks, and It's really brought into sharp relief for me The idea of when we're being creative, when we're producing some new work in the world, what is the difference between taking inspired action, acting on what we feel called to do, What's coming from our soul and the other side of the coin being just having to sit ourselves down in the seat and get the work done.

I started a newsletter earlier this year and every single newsletter I've sent, I've just waited for the inspiration to come to know what I would write about each week. And I admit that since I started the podcast, the newsletter has become a little bit of the poor relation and hasn't gone out every single week. But for the first 18 weeks, it went out every week. And I would never make myself sit down and write it. I always waited until I felt like something wanted to come through me, or the very least until I'd had an idea about what that would be, and I felt really strongly about that. It was a conscious decision to not say, well, I'll write my newsletter on Fridays between three and five in the afternoon.

I really left it to inspired action because I firmly believe in not doing something that we don't want to do, and if I didn't want to sit down and try and force myself to write something, then I really didn't do that. And if I do say so myself, some of those newsletters were pretty good stuff, even though sometimes I was writing them much as I used to do my essays at university, even if I was writing them right up to the wire of the deadline.

But now I need to get a book written and published in four weeks, and I do not think I can wait for inspiration to strike to get this job done. And I was having a conversation with one of the coaches, one of the mentors who's running this group of women all working on our books at the same time, in the same four weeks. And I was saying that I'm really surprised because I love writing. I think I'm good at it, I enjoy it. And I've sat down to write this book and it has been horrible. It has been painful.

And I've forced myself to stay in the chair and to write at least a thousand words every time I've sat down. I’ve pretty much hit that word count every time. And I was saying it is just such a struggle and it's a surprise that it's a struggle because I really thought I would enjoy this process. But I've realized that if I do want to have the book done in the four weeks, I don't have the luxury of saying, Oh, just sit down and write when inspiration strikes.

I've recognized that I have to commit to regular writing sessions. And I talk a lot about following our inner wisdom and waiting for inspiration to strike. And it feels a little bit like I'm now backtracking on that and saying, that's not what I should do. And it has really made me look at this question of what do I mean when I say we should never do something unless we really want to do it - because I stand by that 100%.

When I was having a discussion around this today, I thought the distinction is between something I want to do and I'm excited to do, like I've got an idea for a newsletter and I sit down and the words just come and it all flows and it's really easy and that's something I want to do.

And yet when I'm sitting down to write the next chapter of this book, it feels like this is something I don't want to do. It's clumsy, it's laboured, it's heavy. The words are not coming when the words do come on, more often than not I’m just deleting them and staring at a blank page.

And I thought the distinction isn't between, I want to write the newsletter and I don't want to write the book. The distinction is between, I want to write the newsletter and I'm in the mood to do it, and I wait until the mood comes upon me to do it, and I want to write the book, I want to have this book published in four weeks, but I'm not in the mood to sit down right now and write. But I recognize that unless I do that, the book won't be ready. And so I'm in a space almost where I want the book to be written. I don't necessarily want to write, I'm not in the mood to write, but I make myself do it anyway. And that is where I think the idea of balance comes in. The idea of getting the balance right.

I'm quite happy to wait for the newsletter's inspiration to come. And when it does, I'll sit down, I'll write it, it will go out, but with the book, I know I need to commit to a certain number of writing periods or certain number of words to make sure that I can reach this goal.

It's a short conversation today, but really I just want to invite you to look at where you can get the balance right in your life. Where are the things where it's perfectly, not just acceptable, but even desirable to say, this is something I want to do when the mood strikes me, when inspiration strikes me, when I clearly see the next step appear in front of me and where the dreams, the goals that you have, where you know, unless you make a commitment to taking action in a particular way or at a particular time, then you're not going to reach those goals.

And that isn't about joining the tick tock world of hustle and striving and more/faster/do it now. It's, as I say, you just getting the balance right between our, what I am referring to as our inspired action, and the more practical side of things. And really that practical side is also inspired because it's also your wisdom that is really telling you that this is something that you need to commit to to get done. It all comes back to your wisdom. There isn't any other place where any of these thoughts come from really, but it can be useful to make these distinctions to see how they play out practically in front of us.

So those are my thoughts on getting the balance right. But before I go, I just would like to spend a little time talking about the struggle that I've mentioned in writing this book, because what does that mean? It means that when I've decided I need to sit down and write a thousand words, say, because I've decided that I want to have a book published in four weeks time, which really is just a completely made up deadline. But nonetheless, that's what I'm shooting for.

I sit down to write a thousand words. Words don't come or words do come and I really don't like them and I'm deleting paragraphs three or four times before I come up with something that I like. I label that struggle when really it's just writing.

The reason why I call it a struggle is because it doesn't happen in the way I want it to.

It's not flowing. because I think that, a writer should be all inspired all the time and words you just download from the universe in some kind of spiritual ecstasy every single time. And because when I sit to write and it comes in this clumsy, laboured way, I actually feel a physical discomfort inside my body as well.

And I'm calling that struggle. And because I am, because as I sit there and the words are not coming, my thoughts turn to four weeks in the future. And I start to imagine this book won't be written in time. And I imagine all sorts of things around failure and disappointment. And again, because things might not happen in a completely arbitrary time that I've decided I label that struggle.

So I thought it was just worth pointing that out because I think a lot of times, if not all the time when we say we're struggling with something, what we really mean is something is not happening in the way that we would want it to or in the timeframe that we want it to. And as soon as you take away the thoughts, the ideas around what should be and just sit with what is then struggle disappears.

Now notice that it doesn't make the words come any quicker or any easier, but it does remove the struggle that I am experiencing.

And so that really wraps up today's conversation for the masses. And as usual, I thank you for listening.


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