As a (pseudo) entrepreneur, healthy living blogger, 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 at all.”
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 CNC, DTFN, and NHS – 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.
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.
Now, I marvel at the fact that I have extra time to spend doing what I want – growing CNC by bringing all of the 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 (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!