The Contingency Myth

life integration

My blog, Are you a Time Thriver or Time Survivor? generated a great deal of responses that ran the gamut from recognizing oneself as one or the other, to wanting to learn more about the “how to”.


Those of you who are primarily interested in tactics and strategies would be better served reaching out to a Time Management Coach. But if you are willing to dig deeper into your mindset and understand your unique beliefs around time - and really, around life - and the deeper beliefs that are causing your experience of being a Time Survivor, I can help.


We all want to believe that we are unique and special. I agree that each of us have special gifts and talents, but when it comes to mindset, thought traps, and limiting beliefs, we are surprisingly similar. I’m sorry to inform you we're not all a special snowflake when it comes to the things that aren’t working in our life. But that’s good news, because it means we can get to the root cause of a problem by simply focusing some time and attention to our self-growth, rather than gaining more “information” - something most of us have mastered. To rush towards the instant gratification of the “how to” without slowing down to remove the things that have been getting in the way, is setting ourselves up for failure and the accompanying feelings of guilt, shame and disappointment. Thankfully, there’s a way to leave the land of “how to”.

There are a number of mind traps that get in the way of being a Time Survivor, and I dare say that the most insidious and harmful one is buying into The Contingency Myth - the belief that we will do X when Y occurs.


The reason this mind trap is so difficult for many to overcome is because the event our new action is contingent upon, is real. I’ll take care of my body, when my divorce is over - I’ll leave this job when I feel financially set - I’ll invest in myself when my kids go to college - I’ll spend quality time with my spouse when work is not so busy. Yes, the spouse, and the kids, and the job, and the divorce, are all real. But our mindset and deeper fears that are fueling our Contingency Myth, are not. And while we play this game of mental and emotional hide and seek with our precious lives, time passes. And that’s very, very real.


The Contingency Myth is difficult to even recognize, let alone dismantle, without an outside perspective. When it shows up in a session with a client, I realize we’re dealing with a many-headed monster that can only be obliterated with an extraordinary level of patience, skillfulness, and tact on my part as a Coach. This is not the case with every limiting belief, as some can come crashing down in a moment, and we immediately see our world through a different lens. Once that insight happens, the “how to” is easy because we see the steps and are immediately excited about taking them.


But The Contingency Myth is the Mt. Everest of limiting beliefs. We will fight to death with anyone who questions them. We will say things like, “Yeah, but you have no idea what my - divorce, marriage, boss, work, body, kids… (take your pick) is like!” And often, we don’t even voice that belief, we simply double down on it internally and add another spoonful of resentment to the boiling hot brew we’ve been cooking up for a long time.


It would be so much easier if I offered you 10 time management hacks, but I’m in the service business, and hacks don’t serve, not for long anyway. Having the courage to ask ourselves, “Where in my life am I believing in and emboldening The Contingency Myth?”, would be a great place to start if you deeply desire a transformation - and not just this year’s distraction.


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