The Time I Chose Chaos - Responsibly.
11.22.22 | Conscious Conversations
How steady do you feel in your own energy?
Are you grounded in your values and clear about your priorities?
Do you feel that way with anyone, at any time, under any circumstance?
Realistically, these things can and naturally do evolve over the course of our lives. We might be more connected to them on certain days and in certain contexts.
My invitation is to check in with where you're at today, in this moment.
Are you showing up in alignment with your most authentic self? Do you feel free to adapt and dance through every conversation, or are you feeling more rigid and wanting greater security in your connections at this time?
There's no right answer. But for me, right now, I get to witness how I'm shifting to a more secure space within myself, regardless of how secure I feel with a particular person, and that feels like a pretty big win. Recently, I had a conversation that couldn't have been more than a minute or two long, and after reflecting on it today, I realized that - in that conversation I chose chaos, but responsibly. And acknowledging that feels f*cking great TBH.
Let me explain.
Pam and I attended the wedding of a couple friends. I had been pretty close with the family of the bride growing up and at the wedding I met a few of the children I had seen at family parties who were now all grown up.
I ran into one of these kids (who's now probably in their late teens / early 20s - about to finish college) in the bathroom line. Very friendly but very 'on brand' shall we say?
If you grew up in a Jewish family in the US (this probably applies to many cultures, but I'll just speak to my own experience), it's likely you have experienced some *encouragement* around becoming a lawyer, or a doctor, or at least working in the financial industry, etc.
This makes perfect sense to me by the way, and I have no problem with our families wanting the security and stability that they believe comes with that type of career path. Especially those of us who are first gen, they just want us to eat well and have walls with a roof, okay?
ANYWAY, BACK TO THE BATHROOM LINE.
I decided to be polite and make small talk, so I asked what this person is studying in school. I learned that my lovely new Gen Z friend is following one of the 'secure' paths I mentioned earlier. Great. Good for them. Mazel-tov, as they say. Not particularly surprising or interesting to me but that's neither here nor there. They seem happy about it, so cool.
So they're sharing about their college major and the job they have lined up, and then they decide to throw in (with a bit of snark and a smirk on their face), "so I don't need a life coach, sorry."
Hello trigger, my old friend...
Is this kid's opinion important to me? No, absolutely not. But did his comment push a button filled with lots of cultural and familiar baggage. You bet.
You see, the way I describe my work to Boomers is that I do life coaching but I specialize in relationships, it's just easier than leading with 'relationship coach' and getting more confused looks. At this point, they've heard of life coaches, at least. And I hadn't shared with this person directly about what I do, so that means the 'elders' shared it with them in the past hour and either relayed a negative opinion or they formed their own.
Anyway, this person's comment and tone could have sent me into a spiral of questioning myself or trying to validate what I do, or explain the stature of who I work with, or even give a snarky comment to protect myself like, 'what makes you think I'd agree to coach you?'
Which lets be honest, I wouldn't. But no, instead, I was able to receive that comment with all its snark and not get thrown off balance. In fact, I was able to be playful and give that energy right back.
WHAT?! Unheard of.
I didn't engage with or respond to their comment. Instead, I (energetically) said, okay - game on. We're poking at each other? Let's have some fun.
I admit, they were not an intimidating person to spar with, but sometimes it helps to practice and build our muscles in a low-stakes environment. 😂
I asked WHY they're studying what they're studying.
They gave me some bland interview response that felt like a copy-pasted sound bite. Something about 'being client facing' and how that excites them.
I asked why again.
They told me they get to help people build wealth and something else that really didn't seem genuine.
I said, 'ah, okay,' and paused.
They immediately started telling me (without me asking) how they'll eventually be able to do x, y, z in their field and make more money, and how they feel lucky because they're way ahead of all of their friends who don't have jobs lined up yet.
THEY STARTED SCRAMBLING. THEY WERE VALIDATING THEMSELVES TO ME AND EXPLAINING THEMSELVES EVEN AFTER I STOPPED ASKING QUESTIONS.
It was amazing.
And to be clear, I totally get why at that stage in life, with all the information and influence they have had up to this point, they would feel happy about where they're at. Totally valid and great for them.
And whatever their intention was with their comment, I could have easily started to tear them down as well, but I only chose a level of chaos that I felt good about. The level that did make them a bit uncomfortable, but wasn't intended to cause harm.
I mean, maybe I'm the only person who has asked them, why without any vested interest in their answer. Why are you doing this with your life? Why are you excited about what you say you're excited about? Maybe I'm the first person who wasn't immediately impressed and giving them a pat on the head for the their culturally accepted accomplishments. And I'm cool with that. I feel good about it. Even if they sat with those questions and then decided they're on the right path. Even if they never gave the convo a second thought. As a recovering people pleaser and validation-seeker, I stood my ground and shook up theirs a bit. I did not shrink down and it was fun. I feel accomplished.
Because although it may feel good in the moment to throw a jab at someone, we all know it doesn't do anything to solve whatever issue you're having.
In fact, it tends to distract from the issue itself and open up the flood gates for you both to try and hurt each other. Not the most productive approach.
Somewhat unrelated side note, we had a great time at that wedding. We were so glad we got to see our friends tie the knot!
Some questions for you to reflect on:
How often do you choose chaos? Is it chaos for chaos-sake or are you being responsible for the impact if you're choosing to shake things up?
Do you avoid chaos and chaos-causing people at all costs? Are you present to both the benefits and costs of this approach? (this has historically been me by the way, lol)
Do you show up more consciously in conversations with certain people in certain contexts? With who and when?
Are you able to notice before or when you could start responding from a wounded place? Do you notice it afterwards?
What's a safe low-stakes environment you could start to strengthen your self-expression and stay grounded in your own energy, while still having a playful exchange around a topic that might feel a bit loaded or risky?
Hi, I'm Michelle,
I help seekers and creatives lean into their magic(k) — so they can have aligned relationships full of support, growth, and conscious communication.
"Working with Michelle was a very transformational experience for me. I really enjoyed her coaching style of probing questions, expansive exercises and keen listening. She helped me release attachments that were no longer serving me, as well as confront fears and limiting beliefs. I am living out a lot of what I had originally slated as a 5-year plan right now as a result, and it all feels a bit like a dream!" - Aruna Paramasivam