Just a short missive today to explain why I cut two simple phrases out of my vocabulary and why you should to if you want to live a more empowered life.
It all started with a message I received recently that said, "It's so nice that you have a blog. I don't have time for that sort of thing"
And my first, not-so-graceful reaction (which I kept to myself)? "Uh...fuck you."
That sort of comment, while not uncommon, is patronizing and belittling. It completely discounts the sacrifices I make and the hard work I put into my day.
But it got me thinking.
What do we really mean when we say we don't have time for something?
It comes down to one of two (potentially) difficult truths:
We don't really want it.
In which case, we need to give up the fantasy, delete, and move on.
But when it's a burning desire that we can't stop dreaming and talking about, yet we still say we don't have time for it, we need to accept:
We're not making it a priority.
To the guy who "doesn't have time to blog" I'd like to ask:
How many TV shows do you have time to watch each week?
How many hours of commuting do you sit mindlessly through?
How often do you have time for after work drinks with friends?
When we think about it this way, the idea that "we don't have time" is belittling to ourselves as well. It strips our power to achieve the things we want and live the life we desire.
A few months ago I was sat down with a group of girlfriends when one of them joked that she just doesn’t have time to “milk almonds” and the others readily agreed. Making fresh almond milk takes less than 10 minutes and easily fits into my weekly meal prep routine, even though I have a demanding schedule. The only difference is that I make it a priority, whereas others might not see the value in it (which is totally okay too!)
The same thing goes for the things we "can't afford." Sure everyone's budget has different limitations but again, it comes down to priorities. Sure, a personal yacht might not be in the cards right now but could you reprioritize your spending to make that trip you keep talking about a reality within the next year?
I have friends earning the exact same income as me who can afford dinners out and evenings of fancy cocktails on the regular. On the other hand, I almost never allow for these extravagances but I always have a cupboard stocked with fancy superfoods and I live in a beautiful, relatively expensive flat.
I've recently changed the way I talk about these differences. Instead of saying I "can't afford" the cocktails, I now make sure to emphasize that they're not a priority for me right now. And it feels so much different. For ages I felt like I was always talking about the things I couldn't afford and it kept me stuck in a scarcity mentality. I was felt like I had less than everyone else.
Saying that I need to give cocktails a miss because I'm focusing on other priorities (namely leaving my day job and doing my own thing) feels empowering. It acknowledges the choice I have over how I spend my time and money. And those choices are how I express what's important to me. Of course these choices assume a certain level of privilege. But once our basic needs are met, how we use any surplus cash and hours is completely up to us.
I encourage you to sit down today and make a list of all the things you've been saying you can't afford or don't have time for.
For each one, ask yourself: is this a priority for me right now (ie. am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices that this will take)?
If not: start admitting it's not a priority. Delete the guilt. Move on.
Add to your list anything else that you want and start ranking them in terms of priority. Decide on the top ones that feel reasonable to focus on right now.
Once you've narrowed in on your top priorities it becomes easier to make the sacrifices required by them.
By shifting how you talk about those sacrifices (ie. something that's not a priority for you right now) you take yourself out of a place of lack and "can't have"s into a place of empowered choice.
So your mission for this week is simple: Cut “I can’t afford it” and “I don’t have time” out of your vocabulary. Refocus on your priorities and choose language that empowers you. See how it helps you feel differently about your calendar and bank balance.
Join us in Girl Gang HQ to chat about what priorities we're each currently focusing on and how shifting our language is creating changes in how we feel.