Figure It Out Fridays: Free-Spirit Or Power-Suit?

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‘Figure It Out Fridays’ is a new blog series happening every week where you submit questions about figuring out what the hell you should do with your life – and I give you brilliant, Uncaged answers.

This week’s question comes from a reader who describes herself as being in “analysis paralysis”. She’s stressing SO much over her two options that she can’t seem to decide what to do (anyone relate to this?). Here’s what she asked:


I am on maternity leave with my first child and don’t know where to go from here. A HUGE part of me wants to stay home and raise my daughter and use my free time to read (namely your rad blog), cook, write, do yoga, hike, and live by the guidance of my inner voice, my spirit. And the other part of me (equally persuasive) wants to nail down a good job, take in a steady pay cheque, earn the respect of my family and peers and achieve more in the professional world.

So, the free spirit or the power suit?


First thing’s first – you have narrowed down your options BIG TIME if you are only seeing these two choices.There are NEVER only two options. It’s never that black and white. Never. Don’t believe me? Poll 100 people and ask them “What would be another option to this situation”, and guaranteed you’d get a lot of really cool answers. It’s just hard to see the other options when you’re right in the middle of it.

So start with asking yourself – what are the other options here? What if I didn’t have to choose? There might be a sweet mix of both that is possible.

The next place I would look at is what is driving the desire for each one. How does each outcome align with your longterm vision?

But more importantly than all that – what is drawing you to each option? What values are you honoring with each option? If you were to step back and re-read your question as if it wasn’t your situation – what stands out to you?

Here’s what I’m seeing: With the free-spirit option, you’d be “following the guidance of your inner voice”. My guess is that this same “inner guidance” that you are longing to follow is actually guiding you right now… But you’re not listening to it! What’s up with that?

Now look at the second option, which would allow you to “earn the respect of family and peers”.  What is driving this decision, really? Is is your “inner guidance” (the one you’re so keen to take the time to listen to?) or is it other people’s values?

Let’s be honest here – there is no way that I can tell you what to do. Nada. I have no idea what is best for you. But, what I can do is help you to see where your decisions are coming from and help you take a step back from your life to you can see it more objectively. And my best piece of advice right now is to ask yourself what you are REALLY feeling called to do. Without worrying about anyone else (because I know you said that financially and otherwise, your husband supports you in either situation) – what do you really want? You’re reading a website called The Uncaged Life – so what do you need to Uncage?

And yes I knowwwww – It’s often hard to actually hear this answer, because it requires that you immediately shut down all the nasty voices in your head telling you that you’re making the wrong decision. The same voices that make these kinds of decisions more complicated than they need to be. But the ONLY way that you will ever make the “right” decision is to tell those voices to go to hell, and get really honest with yourself about what you want.

And then that’s what you should do.

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