Updated: Feb 10, 2020
This particular lesson has been tough for me. It seems like ever since I was old enough to work, I have been constantly re-learning what it means to actually SLOW DOWN. Why? Well, I was raised in a family where having a strong work ethic was a high core value. I had my first job when I was 16, which quickly accumulated into multiple jobs, because I was always loved and respected for doing MORE than doing less. So, I quickly learned that in order to get other people's praise, be a good kid and stay out of trouble (sort of), I needed to work my ass off. Now, let me be clear... I don't regret basically being a workaholic for many years, because it taught me how to be independent, pay my bills, put myself through an undergraduate and graduate degree and not necessarily depend on anyone else. However, while I strongly associated a focused work ethic with success, I have also come to realize that working too much is a surefire way to burn out instantly. And this past year, I quickly learned that some changes needed to be made in my schedule or I was going to be a completely burnt out 28 year old with not much motivation for my future. And that was sure as hell not the way my life was going to turn out.
Now that I've become an entrepreneur, I've learned that you can actually accomplish more when you do less. I cannot tell you how many times in my life, that my schedule has been jam-packed, with no room to have fun, take a break or even to breathe. I can remember an actual time, when I was 20, where I worked 7 days a week, with no days off and no more than a few hours in the morning to eat breakfast and get myself out the door. All while living in one of the most beautiful places on the east coast, Martha's Vineyard, with no time to enjoy the scenery, for an entire summer.
Reflecting back on that experience several years ago, I've had to seriously ask myself: "what the hell kind of life is that?" This has been a particularly important question for me, since those "workaholic" tendencies have followed me right up until this year, when I was forced to slow down due to getting sick, becoming stressed out far too easily and just overall not feeling in alignment with how I know I COULD be feeling daily. So, I've decided to change my priorities and get back to the things that matter the most. And I'm doing that consistently by listening to my intuition more regularly and learning how to say NO to the things that don't serve me anymore. I'm finally being forced to truly slow down.
Because of this, I have scaled back my schedule QUITE A BIT in order to accomplish more in the areas that are truly meaningful to me. I've quit one of my jobs, I've taken full days off to frolic around my community, taking myself out to lunch and leisurely noticing my surroundings. I've given myself multiple hours to just be in a creative space-- whether I'm writing, or sharing on social media or sometimes just doing nothing. Yup, NOTHING. And for a while, I felt guilty about this. Guilty about not working so hard and not putting so much pressure on myself, like I normally would. But since I've been able to work through the guilt a bit, I've also been able to start enjoying my new spacious schedule... like A LOT. So much so, that I've really started to lean into my new way of living and have become so appreciative of my time off, that I don't think I'll ever go back to my old "work my ass off" lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I know there will be busy phases of my life in the future, but I also know now, how important it is to stop filling my schedule just to fill it. I've been conditioned (as many of us have), to think that life is supposed to be constantly BUSY and that if it's not, then we're clearly not doing "enough." This idea today actually makes me cringe. Because lately, I've become much more comfortable with leaving open space for "whatever" to happen in my life and while it's been scary, its also been the most liberating thing I've ever done for myself.
This lesson has made me understand that I am such a happier, more calm, more present version of myself when I have SPACE to just BE. When I'm not jam-packing my schedule with a million tasks, I feel lighter, more free, less anxiety and less depression (and yes, even coaches experience anxiety and depression). I also feel more productive during the hours that I AM working, which makes the work I'm putting out much more productive, focused and heart felt. Creating space in my life has allowed me to feel more inspired to share upcoming content with all of you, to show up in the world as the best version of myself and to simply just ENJOY LIFE. Because, isn't that the whole damn point?!
So if you're at all feeling overwhelmed in your life right now, or you're just getting a mental download that you need to start saying no to something, in order to start saying yes to yourself more... I am here to encourage you to pay attention to that feeling. Because there is truth in that awareness. And when we listen to our intuition, we find freedom there. Being forced to slow down has been a difficult, scary and emotionally exhausting lesson I've had to learn over and over again. However, I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. I'm humbled that I've come to this place in my life where I trust that things are going to work out so much, that I am willing to significantly cut back my work hours in order to gain back my sanity and start enjoying my life. And even more importantly, creating the space to truly take care of myself. That means having time to cook and eat healthy, meditate, exercise, take deep breaths, pamper myself and be with my loved ones. Because when I get to do all of those things, I am the ultimate happiest version of myself and that's where my power lives. The only way I can help others in this world is if I am re-charging my batteries constantly, in order to keep giving. But it's the recharging that is often so overlooked in our society. It's a shame that we value working more than we value laughter, or connection or stillness.
This has largely been one of the most profound lessons I've learned so far in my life, which is why it seemed like the best one to start off this new little series of "What The Universe is Teaching me Right Now," with. I hope this has sparked something inside of you. I hope you'll look at your own schedule and start to assess what can stay and what needs to go. I hope you'll start to value yourself more than you have been. I hope you'll cherish your time off and truly appreciate the simple things in life-- because I've been forced to slow down and now that I'm in the midst of living a less chaotic lifestyle, I'm much more connected to my own sense of gratitude, to my own needs, to my own body and what it's trying to tell me, to my loved ones and to my goals, wishes and desires. No, my life is far from perfect. But I can genuinely say, that I am happier now than I have been in a long time. I'm learning to constantly put myself first, because taking care of ourselves is nothing to joke about. If we don't have our health, we don't have anything. And if we don't make time to keep our health in tact (that means physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health) then we are no good to anyone around us, especially our jobs. Think about it.
As always, sending you all so much love. Until next time, keep striving to step into your personal power and to get your mind organized.