The Problem with Should - Inspired Income

The Problem of SHOULD

If you've been following what's going on with SARK & her partner John, then it will come as no surprise that there is a lot of life evaluation going on over here, with me personally, and within my business, Inspired Income.

It's a shame in some ways that it takes something so dramatic to be a catalyst for taking stock. At the same time, there's a simple pleasure in simply enjoying the life "as it is" also that keeps us from looking too hard, when everything seems "fine."  We humans are physiologically programmed to focus on surviving - not thriving. It takes cause & intention to keep the "aliveness" in life.

I want to be perfectly clear that I know that I have a wonderful life.  I believe that I do experience aliveness and full self-expression far more often than the average human.  I wake up most mornings truly happy and content.

Something wonderful happened in my life - and it was also the source of something negative that had gone unseen until recently... 

I moved in with my fiance about a year ago - into his big, expensive home in a neighborhood where we are far, far, far from the "most successful," or "most financially well off" family.

I recently realized that I've been looking at these other people - what they have, what they've accomplished - and judging myself & them.  Me for being not enough, and them for being too much.  

All this judgement has created a long list of "shoulds" that are robbing me of aliveness!!!

Here are some of my shoulds:

  • I should have a book written and published by now
  • I should have more money saved and in the bank
  • I should have a bigger business
  • I should be more well-known
  • I should have more friends
  • I should weigh less

Those are just a few... there are more, I promise!

Seeing them is one thing, but getting the impact is where one gets real power. And I realized that these shoulds have cost me much of the joy in my business.  They've caused me to go in directions not in alignment with my truth & integrity.

I started my business so that I could have the freedom to only work with people that I wanted too - and to have a LIFE that was more than work (after having been in the corporate world and working 70-80 hours a week!).  Not to make a million dollars, nor to even be "famous."

Through this self-evaluation period, I've come to realize - or maybe remember - that I don't judge my personal success my how much money I'm making.  I judge my personal success by how much HAPPINESS and FULFILLMENT I experience daily.

And an interesting realization arose: I do want to be known - I do want to make a bigger impact that the one I have been making with my business. One bigger than the one my original reason for creating this business makes possible. 

Since I'm not prone to regret, I won't say that I regret any part of this journey.    I'm grateful to have the personal power to see these shoulds and to take 100% Responsibility for shifting my life.  

And that's what I want for you.  The personal power to create exactly the kind of life that you truly desire - a life full of  ALIVENESS, not just survival. My particular gifts & talents are to empower you to experience Aliveness in your vocation, your career, your business, and I'm grateful that I have these talents and that you allow me to share them with you.

My Invitation To You

I invite you to take a minute now to explore what shoulds are at work in your life.

If there is an area of life where you are dissatisfied or unfulfilled, there is some underlying SHOULD happening there...
Just imagine for one moment if everything were absolutely perfect exactly as it is (including YOU!) and you shouldn't do or be anything other than you are right now, how would that change your experience of life? What would you do differently? What would you stop chasing - or start taking on?

I'd love to hear from you in the comments below, and I can guarantee you that this is not the last you will hear from me on this topic. I'm realizing just how important it is to our success - in life and in business.

With MUCH LOVE for your perfect, exactly as you are, Self!

  • Kellita says:

    Thank You for this share, Dori! It is a beautiful reminder for me to receive this morning that my conscious choice is where it’s at on how I wish to create & experience my life, including my business (which can feel like such a large part of life for a Creative Entrepreneur.

    Without clear choices, my physiology will choose surviving — in the most ridiculous ways! — over thriving.

    I’m so grateful for your reminder to be grace-filled with myself as I make the conscious choices — and make the accompanying conscious actions — to be truly in alignment with an even more Joyful, Radiant, Powerful & Presnce-filled life ; )

    Thanks for being such an important guide on my path!

    • Dori Etter says:

      Thank you Kellita!

      Your connection to spirit is beautiful to witness, and I see you making these choices for thriving consistently.

      We are all on the path, and there is an opportunity to connect moment by moment to Intention and the present.



  • jeanette says:

    Dear Dori,

    I love how you focus on how much happiness and fulfilment you get from your business/life as opposed to how much income!
    That for me is what it’s all about, I know that’s not always the norm in the business world, but so important to take the time for our Selves first, and then we have the energy to help to empower others, get them inspired and achieving their ideal life/business.
    I want joy, happiness, fulfilment and satisfaction for my Self, and then I can share that with my clients/family and friends. The horrible ‘shoulds’ rob you of this, make life a drudge and give us guilt and self criticism as our slave drivers.
    Ban that word I say!! ;-)

    • Dori Etter says:

      I agree, Jeanette – let’s ban “should!”

      Incredibly, I’m so good about never actually using the word in my communications, and it’s very taboo for me with my clients. But when I explored what has been going on with me, those pervasive “shoulds” were there under the surface!

      Glad to hear that you are taking time for yourself!!



  • Lori says:

    I stood in my kitchen just yesterday and ticked off all the *shoulds* for myself and my husband. We should have a bigger house, more money, live in a place we love, be happier, should, should, should. My husband pointed out the detours not of our own making–2008 financial meltdown which decimated our retirement, lost jobs, family crisis, etc, that have slowed us down in our rush towards our goals/shoulds.

    It made me realize how much we have accomplished on our road to recovery and creating a more fulfilled, joyful, love-filled life. And how we need to remind ourselves of the abundance that is in our lives that we take for granted. We live in a nice house, in a beautiful, safe neighborhood, we have friends and family, we are healthy loving people who care for others. We are living most of what we said were our goals. But now we just need more things! And vacations lol! AND dinners out, etc, etc. It’s just easy to get down on ourselves for not having EVERYTHING we want right now!

    I am always comparing my current situation to my many past successes and wondering what is taking so long this time. Then I realize that those past successes took a long time too–if I am honest–and I am only remembering the last couple steps on the journey. I believe when I was younger I was also more patient, joyful and in the flow–and less results-oriented than I am now.

    As a result of my frustration and serious lack of serendipity lately I have started to meditate on guidance and connecting to source. I am working to let go of striving, anger, resentment all the things that keep me stuck, so I can connect to source and my higher self. I have really started listening to that guidance and it is helping me to grow and move forward.

    I want to thank you again Dori because listening to guidance led me to you and your guidance has been hugely beneficial to me and my business. I look forward to working with you again in the future.

    • Dori Etter says:

      That’s beautiful Lori! And so true that we are so often chasing “something” that we lose sight of the fact that we almost always can already have what we truly want, if we decide to take it.

      Like the parable of the American Tourist & Mexican Fisherman (you can Google it), where the whole point of 20 years of work is just to get right back to where the Fisherman is today! We do this to ourselves all the time – “I’ll be happy when,” when we could be happy now.

      I’m learning on so many fronts that there isn’t a “when” coming – we only have RIGHT NOW!

      And I think, Lori, that we are more patient when we are younger – we don’t know the difference like we do at this stage. And there’s SO MUCH LESS comparison & expectation – I think the external expectations make it very difficult to be happy with what you have if it isn’t what is “standard.”

      I’m glad you are meditating – I believe it is the very best thing we can do for our mental & physical health – and for the growth of our businesses!!

      I’m so happy to support you and encourage you to keep making the connection to guidance!!

      XOXO Dori

  • Dori, you hit the nail on the head. A welcome realization that not everything has to be perfect. Yes, believe me, I’d love to lose a “few” (ha ha) pounds, I would LOVE to see my business picking-up (it’s only been a month) and I would love to stop being frustrated. I do have a good life, happy home, great husband and a wonderful & loving family and friends. But yes, there are those times I want more. But you know what, to be happy, healthy and safe (my life mantra) is all that I need. I need to let go of those insecurities that are “beating” me down and remember, LIFE IS GOOD!

    You are always inspiring and you seem to know what we need to do; take a break, look around and be happy. Thank you for your Should’s! And thank you for making us, me, realize that we are not perfect. We’ve chosen to create a life worth living, our life, no one else’s.

    Keep inspiring and thank you!

    • Dori Etter says:

      Beautifully said Tiphenie! We are creating OUR lives, and no one elses.

      It’s so easy to look at others and judge them and ourselves – and not even realize we are doing it!

      I’m currently examining why I hold the judgements I do and to release them.

      Here’s the thing – I LOVE to make money! It’s not a “bad” thing to me at all. I just want to do it WHILE I am inspired, rather than in spite of being un-inspired! That’s really my core belief and central to what I teach. AND – as I uncover what’s going on under the surface here, I can see that I also have some hidden limitations…

      See, in my family, $35K a year is a good living – so that I’ve always been in the 6-figures has meant that I’m “successful,” and I’ve been free to “be inspired.” But living among those who make millions a year – well, it puts a different spin on the thoughts and starts triggering some deeply buried beliefs…

      Anyway – I’m still exploring it all and will follow-up with more realizations that I think could be beneficial!

      I appreciate the comment Tiphenie!

      XOXO Dori

  • Dearest Dori,
    Your open honesty and “confessions” are so profound, primarily because you are so in the boat with many of us. I feel what you are expressing as my own heart is overflowing with goodness, happiness, and love. My husband’s illness has saved my life! I just realized this today. The only thing that has been powerful enough to stop me in my racing, go-go-go tracks. I am now cherishing every moment. Tears flow down my face frequently from pure joy and happiness. I found out today that my bees have left. This made me very sad as they were happy and busy at the beginning of the summer. Then it rained. A glorious, life-sustaining, huge droplet rain. Then I felt hope.

    What an incredible life to live! How blessed I feel!
    P.S. I think you are amazingly talented and gifted and brilliant and although I have never actually seen you in person, you are the most perfect size! much love!

    • Dori Etter says:

      Thank you Shari! I welled up with tears at your sharing and your P.S.

      We never see ourselves as others see us, and I’m grateful for you sharing your perceptions – I choose that reality in this very present moment!

      Bless your husband’s illness – bless the rain – and bless the bees where ever they may be now.

      XOXOX Dori

  • darlia says:

    Hi Dori,
    miss you so much! I do a lot of comparing myself to others….I constantly catch myself doing it….here’s the thing though, instead of believing the mis-truths i am telling myself, I am now aware that it is my sqewed thinking that has manifested these thoughts that are causing me to feel bad about myself. When i come to a place of awareness, it’s like seeing the finish line…i know i am halfway there.
    love to you,

    • Dori Etter says:

      Darlia! You are beautiful and amazing beyond measure – it’s my pleasure to know you!

      Yes – awareness is half the effort, and I think we never see the finish line, so I work to be happy with just awareness, knowing that in the next moment I’ll get to – well, just another awareness!

      Sending LOVE! Dori

  • Christi says:

    I am right there with you Dori! I have a lot of self evaluation going on right now. I am thrilled to have connected with amazing, wonderful you. I love your willingness to be real. I love how that vulnerability strategically shifts into some great empowerment! Your gifting for sure!

    In my caregiving experience, I learned the best thing one caregiver can say to another is, “YOU ARE NOT ALONE.” It is the caregiver’s mantra.

    I had been a full-time family Alzheimer’s caregiver for my beloved mother over the past three years. Not long ago she made her journey to heaven. Beyond grief and looking at life after caregiving,, I could fill a notebook of shoulds. I probably already have in my journals. Shoulding not only myself but others! YIKES!

    I have one huge should that stands out above them all. I SHOUlD HAVE BEEN A BETTER DAUGHTER! I look back at all those lost years between being a selfish teenager and then going off to live my life!

    I think the problem with shoulds is that they can lead to regret. I know I did all I could to care for my mother. I know I was a very loving daughter. I know I was a good caregiver. And yet, I find myself going to that place of “was it enough?”

    YES it was enough!

    I remember a time when mother was having great difficulty with her breathing. An insightful home health nurse came to our rescue by teaching us a breathing technique. I goes like this:
    SMELL THE ROSES (inhale), BLOW OUT THE CANDLES ( exhale) 3x
    It was the first time I had learned this method and it worked beyond measure. We were both breathing! We were laughing! We were both filled with aliveness. There was joy with every breath.

    There is a subtle sentimental humor in this. With Alzheimer’s, the brain sometimes misfires, disconnects, scrambles and forgets. I would say, “Mommy, smell the roses” and she would pretend to pick a flower and put it in her hair. (We had a rose trellis at our childhood home and together we picked fragrant roses and put them in our hair.) Then I would say, “Mommy, blow out the candles. She would begin to giggle like a little girl and say with excitement ” It’s my birthday!!!?” I would say, “YES! It’s your birthday!” and she would make a wish ever time.

    Thank you for the invitation to explore what shoulds are at work in my life. I discovered on my journey today that I SHOULD say YES more often. By saying YES out loud today, I declared I have no regrets.

    Smell the roses, blow out the candles….inhale gratitude, exhale love!

    Even now I had the thought…should I send this reply?

    • Dori Etter says:

      Christi, this is so beautiful. I’m so grateful you chose to reply!

      You have a wonderful writing style and your story is touching and inspiring at the same time!

      I’m glad that you can declare no regrets – I think that’s a powerful place to stand, and it’s a choice we have in any given moment… even when it doesn’t seem like it.

      I believe your mother was so lucky to have you as her daughter, and I love the vision of inhaling gratitude & exhaling Love (BTW – my morning meditation include exhaling Love on every out breath!).



  • Emma French says:

    Hello lovely Dori
    What an inspiring blog – like you said, it’s so easy to submerge our “shoulds” so we don’t realise they are there!
    My most chronic “should”ing over the years has been about resisting earning money, but I have recently realised that my quite extreme fear of feeling trapped through work stems from a fundamental sense of never having felt safe. I was ongoingly terrorised by my mother as a toddler and was scared for my life. So instead of feeling frustrated with myself, I now try to focus on how amazing I am to have survived that – not to mention over 45 years of post-traumatic stress – without ever resorting to medication, developing addictions, accruing debts or allowing abusive relationships into my life. I realise how incredibly strong, resourceful, independent and creative I am in so many ways, and how much I have to offer precisely because I have always insisted on doing things my own way.
    Some dictation I took from my Inner Wise Self today:
    “Spring is in the air, and with it comes resurrection. Be with the tender seed deep under the ground. Everything is in place, and yet nothing is required. The process of becoming that which you already are requires neither action nor effort – you are the exquisite sculpture that divinity shapes with the tool of vicissitude, the weather of life.”

    • Dori Etter says:

      So beautiful Emma! You have a wonderful way with words, and you are a true MIRACLE in every way.

      It’s my great honor to inspire such a fellow inspiring being!



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