I have to, I want to

On a Sunday morning on another hot summer day I get inspired to write this blog on the kitchen floor. I have been crawling on hands and feet for a few hours now, and my body is starting to ache. No, I don’t suffer from severe physical complaints. I’m working in construction, renovating our own house, for months already. Besides delegating a few of the major works, my husband and I do plenty of things ourselves. We are learning, with ups-and-downs, and with a lot of gratification. And of course with blood, sweat and tears. And just this morning my thoughts wander.

We live in beautiful Haspengouw, next to one of the gorgeous bike paths our region has to offer. It’s vacation time for a lot of people, and groups of bicyclists are passing us by in droves. And I’m sitting on my knees on the floor. My job: inserting and waxing the kitchen floor. I growl to myself: I want to bike too! I want to ride to where the road takes me and stop when I want to. I’m super jealous. At the freedom of the bicyclists, who can go wherever they want, at whatever moment they please. And I, I have to put in a floor. And then I have to paint, that’s my next job. I’m feeling discouraged and so I stop for a moment.

What am I doing?, I wonder. And I make a mental shift to coaching sessions where I help others get a grip on stress, or coach them with their career questions. And I realize that I don’t actually want to bike right now (I don’t even really like to). Maybe it’s more a case of wanting to want? Do you know what I mean? You see someone else doing something and you also want to do that. Running 10k for example, I want to run. Or following yoga, I want to want that too. Only, not right now. Because I have to continue working, the floor has to be finished as soon as possible. The pressure is on.

I feel my resistance and it’s not making me happy. I decide to hold myself accountable and confront myself with an important question: Who says I have to do this? Who makes me punt in floors, paint or whatever else?. This question makes me reflect on my own words, there on that floor, my hands covered in cement. It’s a question I often ask in career coaching when my coachee is listing all the things he has to do, has to, has to. Just like me right now.

Admitted, in that moment it’s my job to finish what I started. I want to be able to use the kitchen a week later. So actually I have to finish this and that’s something that I want. I want to continue the renovation, we choose to do this ourselves. And we’re getting along quite nicely.

I’m noticing that I reached a tipping point, I’m correcting myself and change having to by wanting to in my head. Have you ever tried this, choosing to change having to in wanting to? It really works. I do it out loud. And I experience a noticeable difference. For me this correcting thought changes my frustration into re-found diligence. After all, I want to finish this floor beautifully and I want to start using this kitchen soon. Like bicyclists want to bike, I want the gratification of a fully renovated house. And so I keep rooting, stone by stone. Because I want to.

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