“I already have too much on my plate … there is simply no room for me to take on anything else – especially something that is purely for myself …”
This is one of the sentences I hear the most when I start working with a new client. I get it – I’ve been there.
That belief used to underpin everything in my life. In fact, I took this belief so far that I gave everything I had to everyone else and I ended up driving myself to a breakdown.
One minute I was an award-winning executive … the next, I was on the floor, crying and unable to get myself back up again.
I can tell you this: when you’re on the floor crying, shattered into a million pieces, it’s very difficult to work out which way to turn to get your life back on track again.
I can also tell you that after three long, hard, daunting and confronting years of work to get myself back to a ‘normal’ life, the one lesson that stands out the most for me is that there is nothing I have now that wasn’t completely, easily and readily accessible to me before I created my own Armageddon.
Understanding this opened the door for me to start looking at what I was doing, and more importantly why I was doing it.
I started this process by listing down the things I was doing, and then honestly looking at whether or not I liked doing them.
Initially it was really challenging for me to see that almost everything I was doing in my life was something I really didn’t like. But then I allowed myself to examine the feelings that I was experiencing, having my life full of things that didn’t work for me. Complete honesty was the only course here, and when I gave myself permission to really see what my life was like, I discovered that I felt weighed down, exhausted, sad and lonely.
No wonder it felt like I needed another three ‘copies’ of myself, just to get everything done. I was desperate to share the load, but at the same time I didn’t want to put this situation on anyone else, so I kept it close in an effort to make sure no one else was impacted by my burden.
Of course, the most powerful part of this process was experiencing the lightbulb moment – that moment when I had a clear line of sight to what my life was really like. There was no cover-up, no pushing of thoughts into deep dark places never to be seen again. It was the simplicity of looking at what it was really like that gave me the clarity to take my next steps.
I wasn’t used to allowing myself to want things for myself, let alone taking steps that ensured I had them, so the next step for me was perhaps the most difficult in the early stages.
I took a few moments to write down the things I would love to have in my life every day. They ranged from simple things like outside time, wholesome food, exercise, meditation and laughter to larger things like adventure, learning, growth and love.
I came to realise that it didn’t really matter what these things were – the most important thing for me was to recognise the importance of making sure I had something every day that made my heart sing.
Through this process I came to understand the absolutely critical element in my life: understanding why I am doing something. Understanding the why behind my choices means I can much more easily say ‘No’ to things that don’t work for me and more naturally turn towards the things that support, nurture and re-energise me. It also means that I will always have a clear and conscious connection to everything I am doing.
Does this mean I won’t ever do things I don’t much like anymore? No – there are times when I will do something for others that I wouldn’t do as a first choice. But what it does mean is that I am always making a conscious choice about the things that I do and don’t do.
Taking the first step is always the hardest … mainly because we’ve been taught that doing things differently is hard. Once you get going, you’ll find that understanding what you’re doing and why you’re doing it will be easy. You simply build one small step onto the next and before you know it your life will be full of the things you love doing!
You can find more great ideas on thinking and living differently in my free email series that is full of articles and videos that will help you to begin your journey – simply click here to start you on your way. There are also loads of practical and simple tips and activities in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ (including an entire chapter on being busy!) – you can buy a copy from my website.
Want to chat? Email me on [email protected] or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!
Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the internationally renowned author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. You can follow her at her website; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.