I’ve been a little panicked about posting this—because I openly discussed a few of my most embarrassing weaknesses, and it’s a little intimidating to broadcast them to the world, but thought that opening up would help other mothers.
Most of you know that I also podcast at LearnDoBecome.com- the website I run with my husband Eric. We offer a lot of productivity tips on the website—because we genuinely want to help people who are drowning to develop simple systems so they can do what matters most. But today’s podcast is a little different- and I wanted to share this here because we’re talking about overcoming mindset issues that prevent us from being who we really are- something that really resonates with mothers at every stage.
Time stamps are below, in case you’d prefer to skim the main points. But if you get a chance to listen, I think our hearts will connect on a deeper level. (Does that sound SO cheesy?)
And please—leave a comment below if you want to be *brave* and share an a-ha moment or an experience of your own!
0:00 – Have you ever found yourself in a rut, and you weren’t sure how to get out?
I recently went through a rough patch–made worse with sleep deprivation. And when we get stuck in these ruts, there is often a dissonance between where we are and where we know we could be. Then we just spin in circles….
3:30 – Finding hope
The words of a song sung by a children’s choir at church kept running through my head, and I started thinking about the people in my life who are so clearly living what they believe.
Rachel, for example, teaches an exercise class I’ve been taking a couple times a week. She is in amazing physical condition and just radiates strength. When I see how clearly she is what she believes, I can see that doing the exercises she is teaching me will make me stronger. It’s fun and exciting to learn from her because she is the evidence that what she teaches actually works.
Here are a few questions that will help us, step-by-step, to not only get out of those ruts, but to live true to our beliefs.
7:45 – What beliefs do you want to live, but you are not currently living?
For example, I truly believe that we each have a unique mission, but lately, I haven’t felt EXCITED about living my mission. (***NOTE: I recorded this over a month ago, and now–when this is posting–I actually AM super excited. It just took some work to get there!)
As I looked around at all the other people living their missions, I said to myself, “If I just decided to stop, it would be fine. The world would go on. People don’t really need me.” And while in some ways that’s true, if I truly believe that we each have a unique mission, it doesn’t make sense for me, in a weak moment, to tell my family that I’m ready to hang it all up.
I also believe that if you’re not always “camera-ready,” that doesn’t need to stop you from living your mission. But too often I shy away from social media and serving/interacting with others because I look “normal.” (Ridiculous. I know. I’m seeing that now.)
12:10 – What beliefs do you have–even subconsciously–that need to go away?
One belief I have that needs to go away is that I can’t teach or interact with MALES. (Ahhh–so embarrassing to write this.) I naturally love speaking with women, but because there are men here at LearnDoBecome, too, I’ve been holding back–worrying that my perspective is too different. (Another post-podcast note… I’m getting over this one, too.)
16:00 – Where is your voice needed?
This might be inside your family. This might be in your workplace. But we need to consider this question deeply because our voices aren’t needed everywhere. I worked at Disneyland right out of high school, for example, and I loved it and seriously considered making my career there. But that’s not where my voice is needed right now.
This is a snippet from a blog post I wrote years ago where I learned how important it is for us not to lose our voices. (I refer to “the adversary” in this post, but if you have a different religious–or non-religious–term for the opposition in your life, please insert your own description/name for it, okay?)
I’ve been sick in bed for the past three days.
I caught what my girls had, and I was down with a fever, and then a cough and body aches.
And I lost my voice.
It became a scratchy, raspy whisper.
When I lost my voice . . .
- I couldn’t teach my class at church.
- I couldn’t sing “Baby Mine” to Grace or read to the children at night.
- I couldn’t carry on after-school conversations around the kitchen table.
- I couldn’t talk on the phone with my mom. (She used to be able to carry the conversation, but she’s been in a bit of a fog lately, and she can’t remember what to say.)…
- I had to cancel our Power of Moms Radio show for the week…
- And a podcast with the lovely Katrina Kenison (who I’m so excited to interview)…
I consider myself to be a pretty strong person, but by the end of last night, I was ready to call it quits…
Eric had no idea what was going on in my head, and I tried to explain it to him, but all that came out was, “I’m just trying to do too much. I can’t do everything. Would it really matter if I just stopped doing all this? I’m just tired of trying to do so many things that might not even make that big of a difference, and sometimes I just want to stop.”
He held me and talked me through this low point–saying all the right things and getting me to settle into a steady breathing pattern.
And then a soft voice came into my mind, reminding me of something I already knew about the adversary–or something I should have known.
April, he wants you to lose your voice.
“But I already have lost my voice,” I thought.
And then it clicked.
We weren’t talking about my literal voice. We were talking about my other voice . . . my real voice.
And this is a war in which every single one of us is a part.
We’ve each been given an ability to express ourselves, to lift others, to offer encouragement, to extend support, to stand up for what we feel is right. And each person uses his or her voice in a unique way.
It happens through music, through quiet conversations, through genuine smiles, through writing, and sometimes just by “being there.”
But the grand plan of the adversary is to convince us all to deliberately lose our voices.
Because then he thinks he wins.
I sat on my bed for a long time and thought about that.
And then I apologized to God for letting myself act like such a quitter.
Of course there’s no need to overdo it, and I need to seriously adjust my expectations when I’m sick, but giving up my voice can no longer be an option.”
When you ask yourself the question, “Where is my voice needed?” I want you to think about the experiences in your life. What have they prepared you to do? What are you able to do with your voice that another person just wouldn’t be able to do in your place?
I love the mission statement that our LearnDoBecome team created recently:
We help people who are drowning in the details of life to develop simple systems within a supportive community so they can do what matters most, both personally and professionally.
This is what I get excited about because I honestly believe that a Command Central on every desk will change the world. The more we get organized, the more we can speak up for marriages and families. As we get rid of the clutter in our lives, we can more fully connect with our Higher Power. There is so much good that each of us can do, and we have the tools all around us. I feel it’s my mission to help people to USE those tools.
I don’t have all the answers, but I know that good answers are available. I believe that a Higher Power can and will help us. Over the last couple weeks, it’s been hard for me to get up each morning. But maybe talking about the challenges I am facing will help you know you’re not alone.
I’m starting to feel excited again. I’ve been clearing a lot of space in my life–emails, computer files, cleaning up Asana, etc. I’ve even ordered my new planner for next year. (I’m so excited!) And I’ve said no to a lot of things. And as I’ve created space, it has helped me feel so much better.
And I’m hopeful that as I help you make these changes in your life, you can start to feel excited again, too!
QUESTION: What is your personal mission and what are you doing to live it?
CHALLENGE: Take some time to consider these three questions:
- What beliefs do you want to live, but you are not currently living?
- What beliefs do you have–even subconsciously–that need to go away?
- Where is your voice needed?
We’d love to see any answers you feel comfortable sharing in the comments below. Sending so much love!!!
If you ever feel like you spend most of your time running around and putting out fires, it probably sounds HEAVENLY to have one day a week (or even part of a day) for yourself. This podcast will hopefully spark some creativity and give you ideas to help you regroup, refocus, and recommit to architecting a life of excellence one day a week. Click here or on the image below to listen!
Are you interested in learning how you can clear space in your life? We would love to have you join our free class, How to Stop Drowning in Piles, to learn four simple steps you can take today to get rid of the overwhelm and start to feel excited again about doing what matters most. Click here or on the image below to learn more!
Dear April. After listening to your podcast today I felt that I had to thank you. I have been tuning in on the Power of Moms radio on a regular basis during this past 1,5 – 2 years now and I want you to know that even if it may sound odd, knowing that we have never met in person (I live in Stockholm, Sweden), you have really become a close friend to me. 🙂
I am so grateful to be able to listen to someone who shares my beliefs and who inspires me to be a better mum, wife and woman. Listening to your beautiful, raw and sincere podcasts, I have learned so much about myself, my (lds) faith and my strenght as a mother. I love your honesty and vulnerability! It is a huge reason why I keep coming back to you for comfort and new inspiration over and over again. So THANK you for not loosing your voice. It is important and so appreciated by me and so, so many others.
Lots of love from Sweden!
April Perry says
Louise, what a gift to receive your kind comment. I love that we can be friends–all the way around the world from each other. Thank you for your kind message!! Sending so much love!
Amanda Powell says
Thank you! I needed this today. I’m going to write those questions down to think over later when the kids are in bed.
April Perry says
Excited for you, Amanda! I feel like I need to review the questions often. It’s so easy to get discouraged or distracted. Thank you for being here and for being part of this community!!
April, you are so sweet and I thank you for your honesty and love to be able to share such personal things. I always turn to you when I’m in a rut, so at least for me, your voice IS needed! I would learn how to go on without you if you needed to take that break for yourself. I don’t want to but I know you are very deserving of that break so if/when you take it, I’ll be happy for you. In the meantime, I’m going to get as much of your wisdom as I can! You have helped me become a better mom, wife, person and you make me realize that it’s ok when I’m not great at all of those things. I’m trying to find my new voice after having kids and eventually getting back to my profession. I’m torn between fitness/wellness which is my former profession and current passion and between serving those in need in some way. I have a lot of questions to ask myself so I’ll start with your suggestions here. Thank you for ALL that you do for ALL of us!
Krista, thank you for your kind words and all your support! (I have been taking a nice break over the holidays, and I’m actually feeling really excited for 2019, so for now, I’m not going anywhere! :)) I love that you are finding your new voice. It is a process, for sure. But one thought that came to mind is that fitness/wellness IS serving those in need. Just something to think about. So, so happy to have you here. Sending a huge hug!