While doing a Discovery Session with a new client, she said that her gremlins weren’t necessarily voices of negativity as is common with most of the women I work with. “Who do you think you are?” and “You’re not that good.”

Instead, what prevented her from moving forward with her vision were the emergencies of others. “Wow!” I thought. To have that kind of self-knowledge is impressive. Most people see themselves as victims of circumstance. This smart woman recognized that her fire-extinguishing behaviors and charitable acts of kindness were sabotaging her own momentum. In order to actualize her visions, she may have to put others’ necessities in their proper place–behind, not in front of, her own desires.

Let’s talk about other people’s emergencies for a minute. Can you relate? Having to drive a child’s overdue assignment to the school office? Filling out a form for another capable family member who hasn’t gotten around to it, and the deadline is nearing? Taking on a leadership role in a volunteer organization because someone’s mother is in the hospital and she had to step down? Any warning flags flying here?

Several years ago, although in my gut I can feel it like it was yesterday, I had tickets to a matinee in NYC. I was meeting a friend, and I was running late. I had driven into the city and had to unload my car and get to the theater before 2pm. I saw a parking lot a couple of blocks from the theater. There were several cars ahead of me, so I got in line, my temperature rising as I watched the parking attendant take his time with each person in the queue. My face, I’m sure, reflected my annoyance. I believe the attendant slowed down intentionally, simply to get back at me for projecting so much hostility.

I was at my wit’s end by the time he got to me. “Boy, this really took a long time,” I all but screamed at him. “I’m going to be late for my show. It doesn’t seem to matter to you that we all have shows to get to.” (I don’t think I actually said that, but I felt like it. )

The guy must have been reading some self-help books that I had not yet become apprised of. He said, “Don’t make your lack of planning become my emergency.”

I made it to the theater in time for the curtain, but was fuming throughout the first act. I hostilely repeated his words to my friend without getting much sympathy back as I recall. By the end of Act 2, I had digested the experience. By the time I’d had a cup of tea and walked back to the parking lot, I was ready to apologize, which I did. His look softened as he handed me my keys.

Do you play the role of victim because you haven’t put your plans into place in a way that serves you? Are you letting others’ priorities or necessities block out your precious time? Have you felt trapped behind your own prison bars, even though there are openings to your left, right and behind you?

When you begin to take full responsibility for your own heart’s desires and put your own plan into place, the ordinary gremlins and the ones that come disguised by others’ requests will subside. Action is the magic word. Take some.

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