In my past, I’ve had this history of doubting that my energy level will last and that’s led me to go to bed very, very early, skipping parties or going home early from a great party that maybe I wanted to stay at as I was having fun.
I would get this panic feeling that if I didn’t get enough sleep some disaster would strike the next day and I can’t even fully explain how dire this would feel. I’ve felt like this for most of my life.
I’ve been almost guarding myself against exhaustion and what happens when you do that, you don’t go all the way. There will be days that you just exhaust yourself there. Crunch times in my business are exhausting.
But something happened some time ago actually where I got to be there for a family member that’s going through a tough time. t I was up in the night with this person and talking to him, just being there for him.
And I was thinking ̈wow …. ̈ I reflected on it. This might be one of the first times that I’m not panicking about this. I’m not worried about tomorrow. Tomorrow will be fine at some point. I’ll catch up on sleep or rest or what have you. Sometimes we have to go all the way.
Sometimes we have to show up just as much as we need to for someone and sometimes also for ourselves, but I think it was much more about what I was willing to do and how far I was willing to go… and don’t hear this like I’m promoting exhausting yourself. Not at all. In fact, we live in a culture that tends to do that and I’m not saying that at all, but I’m just sharing this hang up.
I had this extreme hang up of having to have eight hours to sleep or else this Boogeyman was just hovering over me
and then I reflected on it from the experience last night, but I think it’s been happening for a while and I don’t know when this shifted but here’s what I do know. There are things that I have done that probably have broken up this
pattern. In fact, I know it’s broken up, this pattern.
Like any professional, I have to be steps ahead. As a coach, I always keep my mental hygiene and my skills up to date.
Had I got stuck in my old ways, I would have abandoned that person that night. I would have not stayed up. I would have not listened. And I think that deep inside I would have disappointed myself because that’s my mission.
That’s why I’m here. That’s what I care about – being there for people all the way and not halfway and certainly not because I’m protecting some pattern.
So I thought about it and I thought ̈what must I have done? ̈
What did I do along the way to break this pattern? I want to give you The How because I want you to look at your own life and see where do YOU have this, frankly? So, let me tell you what I did to break this pattern so that I ended up just feeling limitless.
I think the first thing I did was extreme self-care. Did you read that? Extreme self-care? I think that when women especially those who try to juggle all this don’t feel enough. It’s also because they didn’t fill their bucket. You didn’t fill your bucket. So here’s how I fill my bucket:
I have my Flex Fridays and my Flex Fridays are days when I do work.
I work but I get to choose. I try not to schedule meetings. I try not to schedule client appointments and I
go with it. I flow with it. I listen to myself. I create. If someone invites me to A spent breakfast
or lunch or something, I go. I take long walks. I take baths. I putter. And this frees me up.
I mind my sleep, but I’m no longer obsessive about my sleep which feels good.
I don’t want to be obsessive about anything because I think being obsessive is another thing that’s been lauded in the work culture we’re in and I think if you are obsessive, you become tunnel-visioned, which is another thing that you know celebrated but that makes you lose track of your meta vision and makes you lose track of seeing other people, maybe getting their input so you can be committed, but not obsessive and maybe you can be obsessed, but not obsessive.
Communicate with nature
I commune with nature crazy much. There is this practice in Japan called Shirinyoku, which is forest bathing and it’s actually a therapy method. So I therapeut myself, just like soaking it in and being in nature with trees and plants and truly being there. So that’s another thing I do. I want to recommend this old book The Diamond Cutter by Geshe Michael Roach. He’s an American Buddhist monk and he had a version of Flex Friday’s. His was Golden Wednesdays and maybe that’s what inspired my Flex Fridays. He thought he was going to ruin his company by taking one day off in the middle of the week. But in fact, he set it up in such a way that it worked just fine. If you set the expectation that you won’t be around for a certain day people will step in line. Frankly, most of my American clients talk to me in the morning before work 7 a.m. 8 a.m. I have one person who’s gotten up for me at 5:00 a.m. For at least two years. People get used to it. If there’s value, they will come. Geshe Michael Roach would also do this during his golden Wednesdays: he would strategize, he would think about his big vision, he would check himself and self-correct if there was any place that he noticed that he would have veered left or right off the path he wanted to be on. So that is one thing I really do too.
Clear the table
When I have a task, I clear everything else. I take everything else away around me; task lists, visual disruptions because I think that’s also exhausting which leads to: I try not to consume too much media and definitely, I scan the content. I screen the content heavily for the kind of media I consume because I think we process all of that during the night and it’s exhausting. So that’s another way that you drain your bucket.
Those are a few things. It all comes down to taking care of myself. And if I don’t, I can’t take care of others and I probably didn’t take care of myself in the past in the way that I should have. Now. Why don’t we? Mostly we don’t because it’s an issue of self-worth. I don’t think we’re ̈allowed ̈. We don’t think we deserve it. We think we have to work harder. We work hard for love. We work hard for the money but you cannot give what you don’t have. So fill your bucket. And only when your bucket is full will you naturally feel and experience your own enoughness.