Niamh Ennis: 'This could be the year to take back control of your life'

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Niamh Ennis, Ireland’s leading Change and Transformation Specialist, writes that this year is still for the taking if you can get out of your own way. 


Why are you so scared to do what you want, to speak your truth, to ask for your needs to be met, to chase your dreams? Well, let me tell you why, because you are afraid of being abandoned, and this is your way of ensuring that it just doesn’t happen.

I was most afraid of people leaving me, so I did what I thought I needed to do, what they needed me to do, and ignored what I really wanted.

I could have danced around this introduction and gently built up to that truth, but let’s spare one another the warm up phase and just state what we know to be true. Deep down we are all scared of the disapproval of others, of being abandoned of being left alone. Yet the cruel irony is that in doing all we can to avoid being abandoned, we actually end up abandoning the one person who matters most. Ourselves.

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I hear it and read it every day in my practice, on my social media and amongst my friendship groups "When I look back now, I can see that really I was most afraid of people leaving me, so I did what I thought I needed to do, what they needed me to do, and ignored what I really
wanted."

It took real courage to admit that many of my behaviours and actions came from a place of not wanting to rock the boat, not wanting to be different, not wanting to upset anyone

For my own part, it was quite the revelation when I realised that at the core of all my fears, blocking me from moving forward was indeed that fear of abandonment. Now, in my defence, I had hard evidence. I had lost my fiancé and my entire family in a matter of years. They had, I believed at the time, abandoned me.

It took real courage to admit that many of my behaviours and actions came from a place of not wanting to rock the boat, not wanting to be different, not wanting to upset anyone and most importantly needing to please everyone, so much so, that I totally disconnected with who I was and what it was that I wanted. To avoid being abandoned I sold out, and it worked. Until it didn’t.

as we wait for that feeling of satisfaction to kick in, we might slowly start to feel a little unsettled

Sometimes, as we get older we might start to feel a little stuck, or out of place. We have probably created the lives around us that we were supposed to; we have the career, the partner, the kids, the friends, the house, the car, and the holidays. We have kept to the plan and conformed. And as we wait for that feeling of satisfaction to kick in, we might slowly start to feel a little unsettled, a little out of step and if we are being honest a little lost. We buy into the notion that it’s a mid-life crisis of sorts, we tell ourselves to cop on and that we should in fact be grateful for what we have and to stop looking for things to complain about.

We cannot always see, that when we spend so long being who others want us and expect us to be, that we actually don’t have a clue who we are anymore. Is any of this starting to sound familiar? If so, let me welcome you to my world!

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Alignment

lockdown has shown us that anything could sweep in and turn everything upside down.

This is the experience of almost every woman I work with as a Change and Transformation Coach, it happens a lot more often than you might imagine. I call it being 'out of alignment', which let’s be honest, feels a little woo-woo. It might even have hint of self-indulgence about it. You might find yourself thinking, ‘who on earth has time, in today’s world, to be navel-gazing about the importance of feeling aligned to what you do and who you are?’

My question for you is this, who has the time NOT to?

The year 2020 has taught us (and is still teaching us) that having the busy career, the holidays, the clothes, the best of everything, eating in the best restaurants, and doing what everyone else is doing, but just aiming to do it better, is not the answer to a happy life.

In March of this year, we were forced to slow down. We have been shown that what matters most is the quality of our lives and the people we choose to have in them.

Despite thinking that we were always able to control the direction of our lives, lockdown has shown us that anything could sweep in and turn everything upside down.

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This year has, in fact, brought us one step closer to answering that question we forgot to ask ourselves for so long… ’What do I really need for me to believe that my life is exactly what I want
it be?’

I know I might lose you here, if I start talking about the importance of values and vision, but when was the last time you really thought about what these words mean for you? What are your values? I’ve noticed that mine change frequently. The things that mattered most to me five even three years ago, no longer matter to me now. I’m growing and evolving and the more I listen to what it is that I need, the better connected I am becoming to my values in my career, in my relationships and in myself.

Similarly with my vision. When was the last time you sat down with a blank page and asked yourself what is the vision I want for myself or put another, simpler way, who do I want to become? What does she look like, think like, feel like? I’m guessing it’s been years, if at all?!

Take back control

We spend the first part of our lives trying to blend in, wanting and needing to belong. We do everything we can to make sure that happens well into our twenties and our thirties. It is during this time that we really start to disconnect with ourselves, with our hearts and our souls. We live only from our heads because it is here we feel most in control and feel most capable of responding to the needs of others first.

Then, slowly at first, something happens and we start to awaken to a feeling of being dissatisfied and are left wondering is this it? Throw a pandemic into the equation and we simply go into blind panic.

So this is me giving you the permission you’re searching for, so that you can and will take back control of who you are, of the direction you want your life to move and to think about what matters to you right now including WHO matters to you.

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Ask yourself honestly ‘who is the person I want to become?’ Start right there at that point. Stop wasting time looking back. Focus on where you are going now and begin creating the path you need to follow to get you there.

Identify just what has been holding you back and blocking you. Acknowledge what that is, but don’t let it keep getting in your way. You are taking control now. You are stepping out of your own way. Reach out and ask for help, if you need it, along the way but just promise yourself that what you are going to do from this point on, is to start listening to what it is that YOU want and then just do that. Keep your end destination in your sights always and you will get there.

I have no doubt. And nor should you.

There’s still plenty of time for you to rescue your 2020 if you just get out of your own way.

Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Change and Transformation Specialist and Founder of The RESET for Change 3 Month 1:1 Private Coaching Programme. If you’re looking for clarity through journaling, download your own FREE Journal for Greater Clarity PDF with prompts to get you started or visit niamhennis.com

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