The Lesson You Need To Keep Learning

IMG_5729Do you have a lesson you find yourself having to “learn” over and over?

When you realize where you’re at, you think: Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m here again!

If you have one of those, I feel ya! I’ve just been in one of those places!

My lesson is around how to live through busy times. My old go-to response would be to just push myself harder. That obviously works for the short-term, but is not sustainable for the long-haul and it leaves me totally zapped.

For example, here’s a typical scenario. I had a big presentation to give at the NM Women’s Leadership Conference on July 19. July 19 was also the day I was bringing my son to the airport at 5 am after an amazing 10-day visit together. I had prepared for the workshop and his visit by really pushing to have all my ducks in a row for the presentation before he arrived. I had also work with my clients as much as possible so I would not have many sessions during his visit. I was still working, but not as much.

So before he got here I thought I was doing a good job because I was still doing my normal self care of meditating and exercising daily, and eating well. That was great. Good job, Steph. However, I also really pushed myself to get everything squared away before he got here. I’d stay up late, got very little sleep, maxed my schedule out with all kinds of meetings and to-dos to push, push, push. Kind of like going 100 MPH to then be able to coast.

So, the end results:

  • A great time with my son. We went on an amazing road trip and did all kinds of fun things locally. We had such a great visit. It was a blessing and a joy!
  • An awesome workshop! The presentation went really well and was so fun to do.
  • Everything is great, life is all right-side up, and
  • I’m exhausted.

The weekend after the presentation I took Sunday as a Sabbath day. I did not touch my computer, I silenced my phone and I just relaxed all day.

But what I found is that my exhaustion is deeper than what one day can give me.

I woke up Monday morning still feeling wiped out. All the following week I tried to make sure I got 8 hours of sleep every night and be more gentle with myself. But, a week out, I was still trying to right myself. My throat felt scratchy and I felt like I just didn’t have my normal energy.

As I looked back at why I was feeling the way I did, I thought, “Darn it, I know better!” I know I’m not supposed to push myself at that level. I’m not supposed to just muscle through.

I did a better job than I’ve done in the past. And, I didn’t do as well as I’d like to. I did a great job doing my normal self care, which includes daily meditating, exercising, eating well. Yes, I skimped on sleeping well, which is an area I know I need. I can rectify that.

The big aha! is that I need to actually schedule in blocks of time and space. Yes, literally. I need to make sure that every morning is not full of meetings, no matter how fun or important they might be.

I realized that my elixir is space. I need space in my schedule to feel healthy and whole because that is where I create from. This literally means I don’t schedule more than 3 morning meetings a week.

My next two months have a lot going on. And, I have been careful not to wedge in activities throughout my days and weeks. I am putting off even fun things like coffee dates with friends to make sure I have enough blocks in my schedule.

So, instead of burning my reserves by pushing, I need to do what seems opposite of what I thought I needed: when the going gets tough, become more spacious.

It’s a work in progress, but I’ll keep you posted on how this experiment goes.

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