Last week I found myself questioning my direction and progress, feeling the weight of my own ambitions and desires. I felt stunned and a bit stuck after having a business call that went in a completely unexpected direction – which prompted strong reflection for me.
Discomfort and emotions can bring great gifts.
And – how is it the Summer Solstice already?
Putting together this review gave me a grounded way to identify the lessons I want to fully acknowledge – to integrate them into my current identity. It uplifts me to reflect on progress. To find the evidence in the present. It reinforces positive change. This is a tool I teach my private clients, and today – it’s my turn.
This month, Jason and I celebrate One Year Living In California. I miss Wisconsin, but I do have the best Driver’s License picture ever now. I got lucky. And kept my eyes open.
And May 2016 marks NINE Years as an entrepreneur! Staying power. Tenacity. Passion.
It seems fitting to ride these realizations, and recap my past 6 months.
I hope you enjoy these 5 Lessons I’ve found, and may these adventures inspire your own.
May your body, your spirit and your life be M O V E D. To me, that’s what matters. I’d love to hear your reflections in the comments…what does this blog spark for you?
Lesson #1: Signs of a Slump and Reentry
You may be in a funk if you sleep excessively. Feel dull. Normally love working out and going for a run is happening…weekly, not daily – maybe. Or if you notice your libido has dropped, your facebook scrolling has spiked, and you crave to connect with people with whom you share history like a kid craves sugar. My cat had passed on. I was lonely.
Have you just experienced a massive change? New career or new child? Moved? Someone passed? New medical diagnosis?
Be kind to yourself.
I certainly had moments of self-judgment, like “Why can’t I motivate myself to run? I could be doing more for my business, my health, my husband, our household. What’s wrong with me?” Luckily, I had enough wits about me to know this was a slump and soon, I’d be ready for reentry. Like on movies when the astronauts come back home and it’s intense and the whole rocket ship shakes and they’re scared they won’t make it…
You will make it through. Impermanence is at work.
It might not be super pleasant or comfortable, but trust the process that integration takes. Get quiet. Rest. Move your body in ways that feel good – I took up walking this winter and needed to allow myself to not push. I signed up for and completed a trail half marathon in March in order to keep myself moving forward during those difficult months. Calling girlfriends and reaching out for support became a lifeline. I let go of email marketing for several months in a row when I wasn’t opening a program – I needed to incubate. So much transition called for space to be with myself. To prepare for reentry.
This winter carried me through layers of the atmosphere back to earth and a new embodiment, like reintegrating the layers of me – the koshas – physical, energetic, mental, emotional, spiritual.
During times of massive transition, it may not be wise to embark on a dramatic life shift. For a few, it works – for many of us, it’s too much too fast. You be the judge.
If you need time take it.
Find support along the way.
Lesson #2: Seasons and Rhythms
At the beginning of the year, I signed up for a program called Fierce Fabulous Free with Nisha Moodley. I intended it as business coaching, and found it to be nourishing to me as a woman first and foremost – a necessary shift for me and many women in business. Even if I couldn’t see the need initially.
In her program, she talks about rhythms – each day, week, month has a feel to it. Times where we’re naturally more introspective and thoughtful, needing rest, and other times where we simply must create and move and produce – action! Our energy, creativity and desires as women fluctuate.
Working with ‘seasons’ and ‘rhythms’ is a decidedly feminine approach to time management.
(Another favorite quote from Leonie Dawson – “No amount of pushing can cure burn out.”)
How I played this out in my business was to look at my year-at-a-glance and pare down to the primary projects I want to complete and celebrate at year end – what is most important to me personally, to serve my clients, to my bottom line? I ended up pruning back some of my ambitions and making space to really do great work on a few things, instead of trying to do everything. Relief!
As my 4 Month Embodied Living Immersion Program began a new term in June, I also restructured my week to make space for chunks of creative time. I realized I couldn’t easily switch gears from, say, marketing, to teaching clients, to a creative writing flow or developing new programs. Gone are the days where I say yes to clients whenever they are free – love you all – because I know I’m at my best with a certain rhythm to my day and week. It’s quality control for my energy and goals – and for your investment.
Todd Hermann calls this phenomenon “context switching” and research proves that the more we try to multi-task or switch projects, we lose valuable momentum and time.
Figure out your rhythm and find ways to communicate it to your partner / kids / boss / friends.
You can do whatever you want.
You know that right?
What’s your best rhythm daily, weekly, seasonally?
Lesson #3: Getting Away Brought Me Home
Once we moved here to California (and after traveling over 50% of the first half of 2015) I didn’t want to go ANYWHERE. I focused on supporting Jason and creating a new home here. I wrote. Hired a business coach for the first time. Completely revamped my brand, website, created new online programs and a membership site, and hunkered into my slump before I knew it (see lesson #1). Tunnel vision ensued.
Enter 2016, and I knew it was time to begin venturing out and finding my people here in Orange County and in the entrepreneurial realm.
And somehow, many of my travels and trainings landed in May and June.
That first trip away to San Francisco, I found myself in tears (mostly happy ones) at the gifts of getting away and seeing new land, new faces, meeting women who are becoming good friends. I wandered through parks and cafes and found my Lakshmi statue for my altar at home (which I got stopped at security with a few days later – worth it) and bought 2 albums of Prince music chilling at a record store with a few women I had just met at Live Free.
That was a long sentence.
(Live Free is a retreat for entrepreneurs hosted by Nisha Moodley and Sarah Jenks.)
But there was such a thread of loving, open consciousness that stitched back together my confidence and willingness to meet new women, to travel and find spontaneity again. And coming home to reconnect with Jason? Marvelous, including the pink roses that welcomed me back to my desk.
In the past 8 weeks I’ve also:
- painted and moved into a new apartment with WAY better light, energy – even green space outside our balcony
- completed a wild and intense journey with a 6-day Human Dissection Course with Gil Hedley. Yup.
- flew to Minneapolis and traveled Wisconsin to see friends, clients, parents and in-laws, married off my best friend and attended a baptism for our new niece, Ariana. Whew! 10 days in the homeland of cheese, trees and great people with history (see Lesson #1 again)
- volunteered at and attended the Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research in VA
- and we’re now heading to Yosemite for a week of wilderness and togetherness
It’s been a great 2 weeks back to my desk and ideas – and things are moving in new, exciting ways. I know something is incubating and about to come through creatively – and I’ll be crackin’ away at it when I return with new vigor.
If you’re feeling stuck or ho-hum consider this:
When’s the last time you got away? Like really let yourself GO freely and explore and unplug?
Do you use all of your vacation days and benefits?
How often do you get outside your home / office / state / country?
Some research has shown that vacation and travel is one of the best ways to start new habits. What’s the best thing that could happen if you went away? A client of mine today mentioned how she’d love to take a month or 3 off work – and I asked her “Why not? If that’s what you need, do it.”
“Everything is figureoutable.” Marie Forleo
How would you live if you felt truly free?
Comment below and share which of these lessons feels like medicine to you today and why.
Thanks for reading, friends!
PS: Click here to read more, Part Two.