This is more of an intimate, personal post, but I felt it was worth sharing with you.. As most of you know I started my own business just under a year ago, and although things started off slowly, in the past 2 months I have watched in awe as my client list quadrupled, my ideas flourished and basically things just took off, well, at the expense of other things…
I love coaching. I love inspiring others to live out their potential.
I love helping people dig into their deeply rooted dreams and make them a reality. I love walking alongside people as they discover a career path that truly makes them come alive. I love all these things. But what I had failed to realize, is that I love all these things…in moderation.
When you first start your own business, you throw your life and soul into it. It’s normal to work long hours, get huge set-backs, shed many a tear, and then of course revel in the joy of creating a project that actually takes off. I have been through the motions, but being a worker bee at heart, I thought it made perfect sense to take on as much work as was given to me, to remove the words “tired”, “no” and “failure” from my vocabulary and to work as hard as I can, towards my dreams. Now this is all good and well, except that I forgot one thing, NO ONE was created to work a 7 day week, with little ‘me time’ fitted in there somewhere.
And so, as one does, I hit a little wobbly last week. I got home at 5pm after a long day at school and so desperately wanted to cry, but ‘Caitlyn in work-mode’ doesn’t cry…and so instead of collapsing on my bed in a heap, I did what most people would do (right?), I opened my laptop and continued working through my to-do list for the week. At 6:30pm, I suddenly looked up and couldn’t believe, as always, how quickly time had flown by. I quickly changed into more casual attire and walked the 2km stretch to our local shopping area where I was meeting my husband for dinner. Upon seeing him, brave little me, let it all out and with puffy tear-stained cheeks, I announced, “I need a holiday from my mind.”
It’s ‘normal’ I know, to burn out. Most of you are probably nodding your heads now, in agreement, thinking “Sho, I’ve been there”. The thing is that I don’t want to be ‘normal’. I’ve never wanted to be ‘normal’.
And so, instead of sobbing on my hubby’s shoulder, I pulled myself together and decided it was time to make a change. I refuse to be that girl who works like mad and then has a little break down every few months, before getting back on track. No, I wanted to deal with this right then and there. So I put on my coaching hat and over a delicious meal, I chatted it all through with my patient husband.
He asked what I would tell a client who came to me with this very problem. The first thing I knew that I’d ask them, is “What makes you come alive?”, this would be in an attempt to get them thinking about the things they love doing in life. Tears began forming in the corners of my eyes again, as I choked out the answer to my question, “The things that make me come alive are the very things that are currently suffocating me.” We both giggled, me with tears running down my cheeks, at the irony of this. I mean how can the things you love doing most in the world, be the things that are causing you to burn out?
With the first question having been a classic fail, I turned to my second question,
“What do you do for fun?”
And this is when it hit me.
You see when you’re working so hard, you forget about things like ‘having fun’. As I’ve said before, I LOVE my career, my clients and my daily schedule. I have still been fitting in morning runs before school and my school kids make me laugh every day…If anything I’m happier than I’ve been in years…but even happy people reach their limits, and I’d just reached mine.
The fun that I needed, that my mind craved and called ‘a holiday’, wasn’t our usual travelling weekends, or weekend long runs (things that do bring me so much joy). No, what I was needing was to do an activity that would make my heart pump.
What am I talking about?
Fun looks different to all of us. I have my ‘daily/ weekly’ fun activities and then I have those special things that only happen every so often, but literally allow me to escape my mind and to embrace the activity full force.
Fun, for me, is captured in any activity that produces in me a HUGE adrenalin rush…
– Amusement park rides
– Bungee jumping, sky diving, the works
– Body-surfing a big break at back-line
– White river rafting
– Skiing (water or snow)
– Fast boat rides at sea
– Watching a live sport match
You see, I was emotionally and mentally drained, but physically I was OK. And so I didn’t need a massage or coffee with a close friend, to chat/think further about all that’s already racing around my mind, no I needed a break from it all.
For each of us, this would look different. But I can guarantee you that a little ‘fun’ will be the one thing that genuinely gives your mind a holiday!
Don’t wait until you reach breaking point before acknowledging what’s really going on.
Make it your mission to set yourself personal boundaries. Boundaries that allow you to not only fit in your career, exercise, the kids, your spouse, friends….but boundaries that every so often, give you the opportunity to do something that will give your ‘mind’ a holiday.