Recently, I had a call with Callum, a mindset coach, and one half of The Mindset Guys.

During the call, he noticed I kept referencing ‘the box’; Living ‘inside a box’, thinking ‘outside the box’… lots of box references.

I’m not going to give you the details of the call, but I’ll share with you what I’ve since realised;

We spend all of our time dealing with ‘boxes’

We keep our stuff in boxes… we’re always trying to fit our lives into the perfect little box, checking boxes off as we go.. but when we break free or do something seemingly different, we say we’re thinking/living “outside of the box.”

Why do we spend so much time trying to fit into boxes?  What are we trying to achieve?

Here are two things I’ve learned about boxes;

  • They’re too big and we fill them with crap, or
  • They’re too small and hold us back from doing what we need.

Physical boxes are easy to deal with

The recent trend in decluttering, Marie Kondo, et al, shows us just how much stuff we hold onto.  Our homes are crammed full of stuff that we don’t need, like or even want.  My home is no exception. I have tons of various storage boxes that I need to clear through…

In the process of going through the boxes, I realised I have lots of mental clutter.  Stuff I’m holding onto ‘just because.’  Just like a lot of the physical clutter I’m holding onto.

Metaphorical boxes are harder to work on

The mental clutter comes from the metaphorical boxes; the ones that you build around yourself trying to suit other peoples expectations.

Breaking free from the restraints that we place on ourselves is a difficult one.

As we’re growing up, we learn beliefs from all around us, good and bad.  We learn what to expect, and we learn other peoples expectations.   We hear talk of good careers, big paychecks and the tales of ‘who has it better’ along with all the reasons why.  It’s easy to get sucked into believing that we need to follow the same paths as the successful people in order to have a successful life.

Clearing through this type of clutter isn’t always as easy as taking something in our hands and asking “does this spark joy?” Although we can do this if we’re willing to look at what we do objectively.

You don’t have to follow anyone else’s path

Have you been trying to follow in other people’s footsteps and had a heavy feeling that you just can’t shake?  If you’re doing everything you think you’re supposed to, yet feel trapped and low, it’s because you’re hitting the edges of the box that surrounds you.

Think back to what you enjoyed when you were younger.  How you felt when you were just going about your day doing something you loved.  Why not get that feeling back in your adult life?   What lights you up?  What do you really enjoy?

Break out of your box; embrace what you love!

I love all things creative, I always have.  Now I’m on a mission to bring creativity back into what I do.   One of the first things is writing.  I love writing, and what better way to get my fix than writing a blog?

Think about the things you enjoy; it doesn’t have to be work-related, it can be a hobby, something to do in your free time.  But taking the time to do something you truly love, helps you break out of those confines, loosens the lid, and frees you from the box.

Take it one step at a time

It’s not always easy to break free from the box.

Give yourself permission to take it slow.  My first day of ‘living outside of my box’ I freaked out and felt myself stop dead in my tracks.  I completely froze and didn’t want to do anything.  In fact, instead of taking on the next tiny step of my business plan, I cleaned my kitchen!

Find a way around the box

To get past the mental block I had around taking the first steps ‘outside of my box.’ I realised I had to literally take myself away from my comfort zone.  Away from what I normally do, and where I normally work.  So, I packed up my laptop and headed to a coffee shop a short drive from town.  It worked!  Within a few hours, in different surroundings, and away from everything I could use as a distraction, I had taken the first few steps towards my next goal.

All it took was a shake-up of the regular routine.

Tell me…  Do you feel like you’re trying to fit into a box that’s not really yours?  What do you do to get yourself away from it?

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