Sometimes what is going on in my life feels bigger than me. I am not super into astrology, but it can be illuminating when it just seems like there is “something in the air”—when the challenges I’m experiencing are the very same things that friends and clients say are happening with them, too. Right now it’s that I have way too much on my plate.
Most of us in business for ourselves chose this path in part because we wanted to have the ability to structure our lives to suit our values. Then things get busy, and we forget what those values were. Or we remember, but feel like we “can’t” do what is most important to us because all that other stuff seems so much more pressing in the moment.
Listen: nobody is going to see that you are honoring your values except you. If you don’t want to become totally subsumed in the daily details and “have-to”s of your life and your business, you need to make a stand.
For me, the non-negotiables are my family (including my sweet but needy dog), friends, preparing real food every day, yoga, getting out in nature, and plenty of time alone for contemplation, journaling, etc.
Lately there have been so many demands on my time that it’s clear something has to go…so I am consciously trying to make sure that those things I let go are the things I don’t want, and not the things I do.
This can feel like swimming upstream, but it is the only way. If I go on trying to do it all, conceding to everyone else’s priorities, sacrificing my most sacred ideals for others’ immediate needs, everyone loses. It won’t be long before the bill comes due in the form of illness, family problems, professional meltdowns, or worse. And then what good would I be to anyone?
There is no way I can accomplish my great goals if it is all falling apart in my own little world. Just. No. Way.
If you are feeling the same (and I have a sense you might be, given what I’ve been hearing from, um, everyone), what can you do?
As a start, figure out what are your absolute YES’s, and that will help reveal which are your absolute NO’s. First things first, oxygen mask, and all that. It really is true.
If you haven’t heard of Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have With People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do , find a copy and read it, stat (but skip it if you can’t stomach the f-word). A “practical parody” of Marie Kondo, it is a genius guide to mental decluttering. The basic premise is to:
1. Decide what you don’t give a f*ck about.
2. Don’t give a f*ck about those things.
Let me remind you now, as I am reminding myself, that “No is a complete sentence.” You don’t owe anybody an explanation for why you can’t [do whatever ridiculous thing it is urgent to them that you do for them at your own expense]. #NotSorry
Also, “not giving a f*ck” is an ACTION; it is not passive. Figure out which f*cks you do not have to give, and cut them out of your life. Again, if you don’t do that, nobody else is going to. On the contrary…no doubt there are hordes of people hungry to consume those very same f*cks. Do not allow them to. Become the fierce guardian of your own ideals.
You needn’t be cruel, but do be clear: only you know what it is you must be doing and what you must not. Others can figure out the same for themselves…but that is not your problem.
“Just think about how much better your life would be if you could say no to things you really don’t give a f*ck about and have more time, energy, and money to say yes to the things you do.”
So tally up your f*ck budget— determine exactly how many you currently have, and where you should be giving them (according to you), and let the rest go.
Now is a time when we’ve got to be ruthless. Be very discerning with your ruths. Give zero f*cks about whatever is not of the utmost value to you.
Aaaaaaaah. Doesn’t that feel wonderful? What are you letting go of today?