Bettylou

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Structure Is Freedom. Discuss.

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Some people are naturally inclined to rebel against structure, preferring to go with the flow and see how the mood takes them. For others, structure is what grounds them, keeping them calm and focused.

I definitely fall into the latter camp, but the former is equally valid. The key is to find a way of doing things that feels good to you, leaving you confident that the important things will get done. (Note the use of ‘important’ rather than ‘urgent’. There’s a big difference!)

I always ask my mentoring clients how they feel when I say the word ‘structure’. For some it brings a feeling of sweet relief, allowing them to see a way out of the chaos that causes them stress. Others physically recoil at the very word! Again, there’s no right or wrong; just what works for you and what doesn’t.

For now, though, allow me to share why for me, structure is freedom:

  • It allows you to set aside time and space for everything that’s important to you.

  • It gives you the freedom to say ‘yes’ to fun stuff and opportunities without guilt or worry.

  • It helps you set boundaries which allow you to switch off and relax.

  • It minimises decision-making, helping you take action with more ease. (You could have a system that sets out the steps to follow when a new prospect contacts you, for instance, or a structure around how and when you market your business.)

Whenever I notice that emotion is stopping me from doing something, I pause, notice what’s going on and then consider whether I could create a structure to prevent me from procrastinating on that thing in future.

For example, just last week I realised that I’m terrible at doing anything with the testimonials that clients send me. There’s clearly a gremlin at play there, so as well as doing the mindset work I’ve created a checklist to help me take action despite feeling all the uncomfortable feels! (And there are now more testimonials on my website than there were a week ago.)

Structure frees me from my own not-always-helpful whims and blocks, helping me to stay on track with the big picture without distraction. It frees me to say yes to coffee with a friend because I’ve set time aside for that kind of connection. It frees me to say no (or not right now) to an opportunity because I can see that I’m at capacity.

If I need to go off-piste every once in a while, I’m ok with that. Too much rigidity can be stifling even to me, so it’s important to be flexible, taking care that our structure doesn’t drown out our connection with what we need.

Does structure feel like freedom to you? Or does it make you shrivel up inside?! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one, so please do share in the comments below.

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