Every day you see many different little lists on Social Media, blogs, in the newspaper … They seem to pop up everywhere. This morning I came across a list telling me how to live minimalist, in five steps, and also one about how I could get my paperwork under control in 10 steps. There was also a blog with 9 tips on LinkedIn Marketing, one about healthy weight loss, and one about interior design. And of course, you also have the “to do” lists that you write for yourself and your team. Lists are hype.
Do you sometimes lose courage?
Is your office also scattered with lists? To do lists, where new items constantly appear so that they can be crossed out by you and your team? Lists that are ‘good for you’?
Sometimes it seems that your life is built up off lists, and that you will only be able to live fully once you have done all your tasks. Does it feel like you’re only OK when you’ve finished everything? That your life is only good if your lists are ‘empty’?
When you experience stress, you try to solve this by organising everything in your life with lists. My guess is that your employees feel the same! And if you are tired or feel rushed, there is always a list on the Internet that offers the solution for that too.
Are lists the solution?
Do not get me wrong; I do not doubt the usefulness of lists. They can provide overview in our lives and they are fun and useful! But the problem is that we sometimes depend too much on lists. Because really, how often do you finish off all the items on your list? I’ll be honest: I almost never do.
The danger of lists is that you get the feeling that you are lagging and so that something is wrong with you. By putting everything on a list, you create the illusion that your life can be made and that everything will work out if you just finish your list.
Do you want to get to work differently?
Remember that there are some things in your life that cannot be made into lists. Precisely those things are what make you alive. Your lists often stand in the way of spontaneity and all the things that enrich your life. Do you feel like all those lists don’t feel good anymore, and do you want to work with your team in a different way? Then Transactional Analysis (TA) can help you.
Transactional Analysis in 3 Steps 😉
I’m joking of course. I’m not really going to make this into a list. However, I want to explain something about how TA can give you a different framework to understand and influence everyday life. For this we can use, for example, the model of the Ego states. This model is about the way you position yourself towards others and towards life.
There are three positions you can take: The Parent, the Adult, and the Child. In this blog, “How do you find the Pipi Longstockings in yourself?” I go more profoundly into the theory behind it. If you have not read this blog yet, it’s definitely worth looking at.
Your reaction to lists
Let’s see how the three different positions respond to lists.
In your Child position, you relive different feelings and thoughts that you also had as a young child. Often you will behave accordingly. There are three different variations of the Child:
- Free Child
In your Free Child you are spontaneous and are you aware of what you really need. Your feelings are used as signals for these needs. If you see a list of three steps explaining how to make a chocolate cake and you feel like doing so, you will use that list with enthusiasm. If you do not feel like chocolate cake, get rid of the list and do something you do want to do. Maybe just eat the chocolate instead?
- Adapted Child
In your Adapted Child, you are less concerned with what you like and more about what is expected of you. Then you would like to beat all the lists that across your path, and you go beyond what your own needs are.
- Rebellious Child
When you’re in your Rebellious Child, you prefer to do the opposite of what is expected of you. You throw all the lists in the trash and thus miss out on the useful aspects of lists. That’s not helping anyone either!
When you are in your Parent position, you repeat what you have learned from your own parents. You think, feel and behave in the way your parents behaved. This also applies to how you think about lists: Deep in your heart you think everything should be right and hope that lists can help you with that. ‘To do lists’ fit into the standards and values you have previously been given.
In your Adult position, you are very able to think about your life and make decisions that are good for you. You consider the needs you have as a Free Child, you try to draw out your own standards and values, and then you make a choice based on that. From your Adult, you aren’t only considering your obligations, but also your dreams and desires.
What can you learn from this?
It makes a very big difference if we look at the world from a powerless position where it seems like lists are constantly being fired at us, or that we completely trust lists to shape our everyday life. We can position ourselves in different ways. The way you think, feel and behave has a big influence on your communication and relationships. Our positioning determines for a large part how our daily lives go on, and what our future will look like for you and your team members.
Hey, stop scrolling! This is important!
Did you scroll on because you do not really have time to read this blog completely? Is there an other to do list waiting for you? Please read this at least:
My wish and hope for you is:
- that you use those lists that help you in your life, and that you leave the useless ones to the side.
- that you feel deep inside that you are OK, even if you don’t manage to see to all your lists and also if everything goes wrong. And that you can give that same feeling to your team members.
- that you can lovingly look at your “mistakes” and “shortcomings” and that you can see that they have all contributed to where you and your team are now.
- that you will continue to feel from your Child what you really need, and that you remain loyal to your own values and norms.
- that you can call upon you Adult position to shape your life wilfully and personally.
You’re OK, even without finishing all your lists
One of TA’s most beautiful starting points is that everyone is OK. You do not have to do anything to earn it, you already are, even if you don’t always manage to get everything on your list done. Isn’t that great?
Do you want to know more about TA and how it can help you in your daily life and at work as a female leader? Then the International Female Leadership Course might be for you. This is a live online course that helps you to empower yourself as a female leader. You can find more information on this page.
My advice for you is: See if you can spend a day without lists. Take a moment today to think about what you really need and what’s important to you. Tomorrow you may just go back to your lists, or maybe you’ll have thrown away or made new ones!
I hope you have a nice list-free day!