Pull up a chair. Let’s talk.
Listen, you’re doing too much.
I know you want to tell me all the things you’re not doing, or not doing right.
Listen to me. Really, you are doing too much.
Let’s be clear. This is not a cheer you on, rest is for the weak, keep going session. You are doing too much and you need to put something down, or you’re going to fall down. You are missing out on your life.
You have to think of how you invest your time as a balance sheet. I know you have much you want to do, have to do, need to do. But, before you pick up one more thing, first ask yourself:
Who is it benefiting?
What is your purpose in doing it?
What is the cost: when you add something new—what are you taking off?
For the record, I’m not selling you the “work/life balance” bit. As a mom of two—one in first grade and one who is a year-old —‘tis tough. My husband and I both have challenging careers. We also don’t have family nearby. As fulfilled and thankful as we are for our work – it can be alot. Thanks to this pandemic, we’ve been without support for most of the year—remote learning, becoming full-time childcare providers while working full-time, all of it. This year, I got promoted, planted a garden, painted a bedroom, started our oldest in extra curricular activities, laid the groundwork for a new business idea—oh, and this blog was born. Go girl! Uh-huh.
Now that you have some receipts, read this next part carefully. Work/life balance implies acrobatics of which I am not capable. When I hear the phrase, I imagine people like us who are already carrying too much, walking a tightrope across an abyss of failure – while juggling! How is this really supposed to work? For whom? For what? What are we balancing? For how long? The tension of it makes my stomach hurt.
What we do need to talk about are the tradeoffs. No one likes to say it, but there are tradeoffs. Now more than ever, you have to be clear—very clear—of what you need. Tradeoffs are part of every season and we should embrace them. Wearing your best winter coat in summer is foolish. The beauty becomes your burden and you are not served. You’re going to hurt yourself and suffer in the heat walking around in a coat in summer, no matter how good you look. Trade your coat for your cut-offs and you’ll feel better. You can put on the coat when it’s time to. So what season are you in now? What is centering your heart now? What are you really supposed to be doing? Not all that you’re currently doing, right?
Now before you go clucking at me (pulls receipts), I’m not saying you shouldn’t be doing anything. There is still good in this time, and this is a great time to invest your talents. Be decisive with your commitments, be generous with your gifts, but selective of your audience—discerning of your season. This can be tough and I struggle with this. Doing everything is hedging the bets a little, right? Just in case? Doing less and being selective means making some choices, and well, suppose you don’t get those choices again? Scary stuff. But can we at least consider if you want all those choices? Most times, we don’t. We feel obligated to them because of many things—everything from perceived financial security, to family expectations, to ego. There is not a right answer. You are the answer. So as easy and complex as that is, how do you know?
- Stop. Drop. And Roll – Now you know, right now, there are some things you don’t need to be doing. They don’t add value, they don’t bring joy, and you’re punishing yourself and probably some folks around you with the charade. Just stop, please. Moving on.
- Chase the good fun – Spend time tracking what you are really enjoying. When do you feel most excited? Who are you with? What are you doing? What geeky joy-inducing thing are you happy to give extra time to? The places of ease and enjoyment that we often overlook or diminish are tied to our gifts and purpose. When I was contemplating a career change a few years ago, I kept a journal next to my desk and marked when I felt most excited. Those things came together in my next role in ways I never expected.
- What are others saying about you? What feedback are you getting where you’re at now? I’m not saying to follow the noise of the market, but oftentimes those closest to us can see things we can’t. Start listening. Also, even if you are moving on, you have your integrity. Do the best you can and always have work to show which you are proud of. You’re building your legacy now.
- Rest and recharge – I’ve heard so many messages about this lately. The truth is you can’t make your best decisions distracted and tired. You wouldn’t pick your best snack tired, why are you trying to force-fit a big decision?
- What was the last passion project that you didn’t finish and why? Hey, no judgment. Look at some of the things you’ve tried. There are lessons in every season, make sure you are taking all of those gems forward as wisdom.
- Make the best decision for you. There’s a win-win here. I hold this as a core value: The best you is best for everyone around you. The best real you, not what you think you ought to be. Making decisions for your authentic self will lead to harmony in your life. Where do you want to live? What are you really passionate about? What is important to you? What’s not? It’s time to give yourself permission to live YOUR life.
- Go small and stay at home! I said it: pilot and experiment. You don’t have to do everything all at once. That leads to paralysis of analysis. And it’s terrifying. Can you take on projects at work that are more inline with what you want to do? Can you volunteer in a new area to make sure it’s what you want? What can you do less of? These trials help refine your next step and build great experience along the way.
I would love to hear how this goes for you. Coming closer to what is important and meaningful for you is the only way to really build a life that is really yours. Anything that is not serving you is not serving you. So go on and please put some of all that other stuff down. Go, have a nap. Call a girlfriend and fill up. Take some time to refresh and rebuild and recenter. Do it now. Preaching to myself, too! ‘Tis the season.
Liking this content? Cheer, share, repeat. We’re building something great together!