Do What You Want


reframing the have to mindset

My whole life I’ve lived by the motto “Do what you want.” And it turns out when you do what you want, you get pretty good at making decisions that get you where you want to go. My desire to quit my job led me down the path to being my own boss and starting Braid Creative with my sister. My desire to see Mt. Everest led me to the Himalayas in Nepal. My desire to share my story has led me to helping other creatives share theirs and live what they love too.

Kathleen here, and I realize that “Do What You Want” may sound like quite the selfish motto—a rallying cry of youngest siblings everywhere—but happiness is radiant. And it’s contagious. When you’re truly doing what you want, you’ll find yourself, and the people around you, much happier than if you’re living your life out of compromised obligation.

Now, I’m not saying that my whole life is dedicated to fulfilling every whim of want. There are some things we need to do to function as responsible adults. These responsibilities and duties can start to feel heavy and overwhelming. (Especially if you spend a lot of time on Pinterest and have convinced yourself that everyone but you lives a perfectly curated life amongst white washed homes and dinner parties in fields.) Your job can lead to burnout if you forget what you’re working for. Your relationships can lead to resentment if you refuse to receive as much as you give.

burnout happens when you forget what you're working for

As I went through coaching training with Martha Beck, she suggested simply reframing “I need to” and “I have to” to “I want to” and “I choose to”. For example, “I need to work to pay my bills.” vs. “I choose to work so I can buy groceries that feed my family.” Instead of getting overwhelmed by deadlines, try saying “I’m grateful / thankful / lucky to have so much work coming my way this season.”

Changing your language around your to-do list from “need” to “want” can make huge shifts in perspective—but if that’s sounding a bit too Pollyanna-ish to you, I hear ya. While going through coaching training with Martha Beck, she recommended that if there is a responsibility or task that can’t quite make it from “need to” or “have to” to “want to” then ask yourself the following:

Can I bag it? This means… can you just not do it? I personally believe you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. If you’re in a bad relationship (with a client, a toxic friend, a significant other, a business partner), can you simply break up? If you have a day job you hate, can you quit or just not go in today? If your answer is “No. I can’t just not do it…” ask yourself “why” a few times and soon you’ll get to why you choose to take on this duty or responsibility.

Can I batch it? If you value multi-tasking, you may think about ways you can kill two birds with one stone. So let’s say you need to clean your house—could you organize / donate / decorate at the same time? Or let’s say you need to workout—could you also use that time to also brainstorm your next blog post or listen to a podcast you’ve been meaning to check out?

Can I barter it? This one is my favorite. Stuff needs to get done, but you don’t always have to be the one to do it. Can you pay someone else to do it for you? Or if you’re low on cash money perhaps you could work in trade.

How can I better it? I always recommend a glass of wine and a solid playlist on Spotify to my one-on-one coaching clients when it comes to making tasks like paying bills, cleaning house, or cooking dinner better. But this concept of bettering applies to big things too. How can you make your job better? How could you better the time you spend with friends and family? How can you better your health?

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