To Office or Not to Office? Shedding Limitation by Default

For about six months, I have been getting the intuition that I no longer need an office. It has come as intuition often does for me with this springy, teasing voice that counters some idea that springs to mind. The idea in this case was that I wanted a new office, one with more soul, more energy, that felt more “me.” That was when the voice laughed and told me that I didn’t need an office at all. But, being me, I sat on this info for a while to see what it might mean—and I looked for another office with more soul, but nothing panned out with it.

I had a lot of competing feeling about having no office—a visceral thrill at bucking what I had thought of was a marker of “success”; terror at casting myself away from the place that I had anchored my income to; and distress at wondering what that meant, how I was going to serve my clients, make money, run my business. And a biggie, how wise was it to step away from the known of an office-based business to the unknown of what was to come next especially when the “voice” had laid out no grand plan about what was coming next. However, the biggest “biggie” I found myself butting up against, was a decision that I had made that having an office and seeing clients face to face was the accepted picture of success, or if not actual success, then at least a recognizable and socially sanctioned form of business. Since I haven’t had this office for all that long, I didn’t realize how entrenched this equivalent of office and legitimacy were for me, until I was faced with letting go of my office. And I found myself running all sorts of interference about how I needed that office in order to be successful, about how much I like face-to-face clients and how I did not want to give that up, about how I was going to make money to transition my business to the next phase, all that. But what all those arguments really revolved around was the decision I made that having an actual office (not just a home office) was pivotal to success.

That kind of decision is called a “default choice,” which means that it is sort of like a sun around which all the planets and moons of your more surface decisions revolve. An example would be having a deep, default choice that you will not end up like a particular parent (sound familiar?) Yet, like my visceral thrill at bucking my ideal of having an office and my simultaneous terror at being without it, a core default choice like not wanting to turn out like your dad, has you reacting in two ways: 1) that since everything your dad did was “wrong” you automatically choose the opposite, even if it is not in your best interest, in order to prove how wrong he was; and 2) and yet, weirdly, you end up much more like your dad than you would even admit or recognize because you are blind to the model of living—the invisible beliefs and values—instilled in you. An unconscious default choice leaves you boomeranging between these two reactions, and it can make you crazy, just like my 6 months of boomeranging between the innate wisdom of not having an office and the freedom that could bring to my life, and the belief that I needed an office in order to survive professionally.

Once I realized that choice, and then, after working with it a while, was able to let it go, not having an office became a no-brainer. After all, I have a great way of working with people over the phone that is quicker and in may ways more effective than face-to-face work; those sort of process will attract more of the clients I really want to work with, namely, those who are interested in expanding their lives and themselves and accessing deeper and deeper levels of personal wisdom; and I could work with clients all over the country and world, and not just those close to Asheville; and the freedom of movement and time it gives me fits much better in the reality of my current life. It really is a win-win, but I couldn’t see that as long as that default choice/belief was standing in the way.

We all have hundreds, if not thousands, of default beliefs and choices that drive our lives from the shadows until we bring them to awareness and remove them so that the orbit of our choices becomes the values and beliefs that we choose consciously, rather than the ones instilled by default.

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