Busy As a Badge of Honor

“Busy as a badge of honor.” Have you heard this quote before? Holy cow, I can relate.

As a (pseudo) entrepreneur, healthy living blogger/influencer, and mom, I often receive questions about how I “do it all.” The answer you would expect might include things like:

“I have an assistant!”

“I work on the weekends!”

“I meditate for 10 minutes!”

But the truth is, my response doesn’t include any of the above (although I’m not saying those things don’t work). In fact, when asked how I do it all, all of the time, my answer is:

“I don’t.”

Actually…

“I don’t at all.”

Busy As a Badge of Honor

There was a time, however, when I tried to, and I was miserable. Miserable. I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off, splitting hours between Carrots ‘N’ Cake, Designed to Fit Nutrition, and Nutrition House Software – all while trying to fit in time with family and friends, being a mom, and, you know… sleeping. I was certifiably “busy,” perhaps the busiest I’ve ever been – but despite how “important” I felt, I definitely wasn’t happy. In fact, I was stressed out, anxious, and experiencing adverse health effects, like eczema. WTF? 

Despite knowing something was off, it wasn’t until I started reading “The One Thing” by Keller-Williams founder Gary Keller that a lightbulb went off in my head. The book dives deep into why we should dedicate ourselves to the one thing we REALLY love (our “big purpose”) is what will make the most lasting impact on our lives, and Keller emphasizes that distractions can ultimately destroy our dreams. It inspired me to ask myself: What IS my dream? And am I really making it my focus?

I realized that I was doing too many things at once and wearing my overly “can-do” attitude like a badge of honor. I envisioned myself ten years from now if I kept going down the same path – maybe I would have a fancy title and the cash flow that comes with it, but I would likely be exhausted, worn-out, and perhaps alone from alienating the important people in my life, like my husband. Poor Mal went through so much undeserved crap (from me) during this time, and it was definitely a rocky point in our marriage. We both knew I was not the woman he married during this time. 

Ok, that was a little tangent, but this, my friends, was NOT the way I wanted to live. It was SUCH a wake-up call!

At the time, there was no task too large for me, and I mysteriously found ways to get everything done. Waking up at 3:30 AM to work? Uh, yea, it happened a lot. Though, in reality, I had a constant nagging feeling that I would never be able to get it all done. I was definitely having a hard time saying no. And I found that when I did, it was usually to fun stuff like a night on the couch with a movie or happy hour with friends. I’d come to the realization that I was just far too busy, and my schedule was packed to the brim with activities that mostly just overwhelmed me. My insane schedule was impacting my mental well-being, my health, and my family.

Busy As a Badge of Honor - working at the capital one cafe

I was never a person who wanted to just work, work, and work, but that’s who I was slowly becoming. Was it because work was what truly made me happy? No way, and I think some of it was due to societal pressures to push yourself to achieve career and financial success – no matter what the cost. But what do those things really mean if I can’t even sleep at night due to all the anxious, racing thoughts in my head? It took some seriously self-reflection, but I’ve come to terms that all the money and importance in the world isn’t what I want, and I am ok with a simpler life that allows me to put my efforts into something I am truly passionate about – and that’s my little corner of the internet, right here, and coaching clients one-on-one to find that happy balance between carrots and cake! 

It was hard saying no and eventually goodbye to those projects that I had given my blood, sweat, and tears to. Initially, I didn’t want to step away because doing so meant (in my head) that all of the effort I had put in was a waste because I had ultimately “failed.” Luckily, it took just a few days to see that stepping away allowed me to finally have a little breathing room, and I realized that I’m not a failure – I’m just freaking human.

A new (happier) life

Nowadays, I love that I have extra time to spend doing what I want – growing CNC by bringing all of the nutrition skills I can offer in-house, hanging out with family and friends, or just simply taking a moment to rest and give my mind a break. (This is a luxury I didn’t have when I was constantly busy!) My good ol’ spontaneity has also returned – something I definitely missed when every minute of every day was penciled in on my calendar. And now when Mal or a friend wants to grab a bite to eat or a drink, it’s wonderful to not stress about what work I *should* be doing instead. The reality is that work will always be there, but I still deserve to take breaks and step away even when I haven’t checked all the boxes off of my to-do list.

I am sure that many of you are in or have been in the same place. Women, especially, are pressured to “do more” – take care of our homes and families on top of the expectation that we will also excel professionally. Sometimes, it’s not even society’s pressure – it’s our own standards that are often unrealistically high. (This is SO me.) It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of “busy” and the way it makes us feel – that we are worth something, that we accomplished something. But I hope you hear me when I say that your self-worth doesn’t come from being busy. For me, I want to be the best version of myself and maybe that version doesn’t include the traditional markers of success. I am happy with the simple life and maybe that’s silly of me or means I’m not “ambitious.” But you know what… I’d rather have my health, my sanity, and a happy family than all the money and success in the world.

I talk a lot about balance in living a healthy lifestyle, but that balance extends to work as well. Zooming around from meeting to meeting, from project to project with no downtime is not balance for anyone. So, let’s take a break. We are enough as is, and we are more than the badge of our busyness. It’s ok to step away and say no, to take a break and say I’m sorry, but this is too much for me. Having minutes, hours, even days where you have nothing on the schedule doesn’t mean you are lazy. We just can’t “do it all” all at once. When it comes down to it, there is no joy to be found in always being busy, and it’s not a badge of honor. It’s simply a sign that it’s time to slow down, rest, recharge, and come back to better the next day!

17 Comments

  1. We don’t hear about DTFN much anymore. Are you still working there or is that something you had to let go of in order to find balance?

  2. Have you ever watched, read, or listened to anything by Brene Brown? She talks a lot about topics like this, and her work really resonates with me.

    She says this in one of her books: “Crazy-busy” is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.

    That quote was a gamechanger for me. I’ve listened to her audiobooks and watched her Ted Talks! I so recommend her.

    Have a great weekend!

  3. I read The One Thing too and really liked it. I really resonated with their idea of focusing on the thing that you’re most passionate about and is most important to you too. It sounds like things are definitely better for you now.

  4. What a great post! I was just reading an article about how American culture promotes this overworking stressed way if life and feeling guilty for doing fun relaxing things, while in Europe they have much shorter yet more productive work days and relaxation and family and friends are the goals. And it’s totally true!! Any time I have the chance to have fun I instantly think.of all the things I should be doing instead and it often messes w my chance of.having fun! It’s a big shift in thinking for sure!

  5. I am a Life Coach and I give a Personal Values workshop. We look at what is REALLY important to you and why and are you building your life around those things that we have identified.

    Then we may learn how to set boundaries, how to prioritize, self care…

    It’s an awesome eye opening workshop for women

  6. I missed you on this corner of the internet. Glad to have you back and focusing on your dream. I definitely noticed this positive shift in your writing.

  7. This post really resonates with me. I really appreciate your perspective. Early this year I was in a similar place, over-stretching myself for a career and sacrificing mine and my husband’s sanity for long workdays. I re-evaluated our situation and ended up making some changes. It’s sooo difficult to balance work and family!

  8. Reading your posts in the past about growing all your businesses left me completely exhausted, can’t imagine how it felt for real. That really must have been a tough decision to “walk away” from what you had started. Did your relationship with Kerrie suffer or did you mutually agree to make a change?
    I agree with other comments/ you really seem more at ease with you work/home life. 🙂

  9. This is the best post ever, Tina! I started reading your blog shortly after it launched and observed some of those busier seasons in your life. I feel like I’m the same way with putting huge expectations on myself (I don’t care what society thinks, my drive to “succeed” is all internal) that are so unrealistic, especially with two little kids at home. I am so glad you talked about this and just spoke honestly. I think a lot of us feel the same way so it’s great to hear “it’s OK” to stop trying to do it all and just focus on the ONE thing we know we’re meant to do <3

  10. “More is more” is such an addicting mentality, both in work and mothering—I’m SO guilty and I burn out every.single.time (especially wearing my mom hat bc you also emotionally burn out!)
    Thanks for posting, such a great message!!

  11. Yes!! This is why I love you and your blog. I am taking a year off from teaching next year for similar reasons. It’s scary to give up a steady paycheck, but, as you said, my health, happiness, and sanity are way more valuable!

  12. This is such a great post! I have been with you for many many years and I felt like your voice has been lost lately in all of the “stuff”. It felt like most of your posts were pushing sponsors or your own ventures outside of cnc. But this is so down to earth and relatable. So glad to hear you are stepping back, I am trying to do the same. I love this one big passion approach and I’m def going to check out that book.

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