As a full-time business owner my work goes beyond the Monday to Friday 9-5 time frame.
For me being an entrepreneur also means being a solopreneur and though I have virtual assistant’s, partners who work with me on projects and contractors employed for temporary consults I am still very much a one-woman show.
If there is one thing I crave more than anything else in the world (more than vacation, shopping sprees and the occasional glass of wine) it is the opportunity and chance to do less. Nothing gets me more relaxed or at ease then seeing a day in my calendar that is free and clear of all tasks.
With a schedule so chocked full of action items, personal events, social media work, networking opportunities, mastermind calls, plans for a social life and the world that comes with having a home, being a wife and the weekly chores of laundry, cooking meals and still trying to have a time for ME my calendar, in all its color coded glory, looks like a christmas tree most days with very little space.
Thus on my days off, I like to do what I know a lot of other entrepreneurs like to do which is NOT A SINGLE F*CKING THING. Seriously. No schedule to follow, no place I have to be and no THING I have to do.
I will load up various days of the week with calls and lists so that I can have an afternoon off or morning free so I can enjoy my world of nothingness.
However as much as I claim I want this I recently realized that I am actually addicted to doing.
That in fact my sense of doing was not based on a busy schedule but rather on suboptimal habits, old brain patterns and an addiction to DOING.
This was only revealed to me recently when I moved a few weeks ago.
The last time I moved was over 5 years ago (before I became an entrepreneur) and in the past I would solicit help from friends and family to come on down and lend a hand. It was back breaking labor for all involved and and though it was a great opportunity to get people together and connect it was a lot of work.
Fast forward to me now and this time I decided to hire movers.
Other than packing my personal items, the day of the big move came and all I had to do was lean back and watch as 3 hired men did all the work without me.
Now this idea seemed like a dream come true. My big move day, a day historically wrought with organizing, lifting, maneuvering, helping and supporting was not necessary. I could literally lean back, relax and know it was all happening without me. I wasn’t just paying them to move my stuff I was paying for me to give me peace of mind and the permission to NOT help.
But do you think that is what happened? Not by a long shot.
I was so uncomfortable with the lack of work that I kept wanting to make conversation with the movers, as if some part of me felt bad for sitting around doing nothing and so made sure I was still hosting in some way. When it came time to off-load instead of allowing the movers to read the box labels and put them in the right rooms I wanted to be sure I directed them and sometimes even followed them up the stairs to show them exactly where in the room to place the box. I even went so far to offer to ask them if I could help offload the truck!
What the f*ck was wrong with me? Here I had this perfect opportunity to really use that day to enjoy myself and relax, I could have easily used it to highlight how far I’ve come in my degree of self care and income, it could have been a day that was easy and graceful but instead I manufactured things to do, tasks to act on and stress to deal with.
I actually remember a distinct moment as I stood outside in the cold with the movers (because if they were suffering in the cold so should I) and I was watching the movers carry all my stuff and I could feel the tension in me and the discomfort in my body at being served in such a way. I could actually feel my resistance to relax. Like a smoker learning to quit I could feel the physically and psychological pangs discomfort while trying not to reach for that box.
It was almost an anxious state caused by too much space, free time and freedom.
Upon looking at this deeper I saw just how much I look forward to opportunities to do nothing yet still create stress and work for myself. I could see that when I host dinners and my friends try to help me with the dishes I either fight them to stay out of the kitchen or opt for drying the dishes while they wash. I let them help, but I am still along side them, rarely do I allow myself to relax.
When going for a massage or getting my nails done I strike up conversation with my masseuse or esthetician so as to engage them or entertain them. Rarely do I really surrender and embrace the space of Nothingness.
And this is a problem not only for myself but one I see so many other women make. So many of us rarely lean back and allow for the space that we created to be enjoyed and thus instead opt for a milder version of doing and think that because we are doing less it means we are doing nothing. But doing less is not the same as taking rest, it is all still ‘doing’.
It is almost an epidemic among us women.
A lot of it has to do the with pressure we as women put on ourselves to get it all done, keep it all together and be superstars in the process.
You may be reading this and nodding your head right now not only recognizing yourself in this but maybe someone you know.
It is easy to pint to our culture, upbringing or put the blame somewhere else. Wherever it seems from, the truth is that this is where we are now and the work for us to do is two fold:
First we need to learn how to sit with our own discomfort with receiving and and embrace the space that is being offered. To breathe through our hesitance to jump up and act and learn the skill and art of leaning back and allowing. (I mean this both literally and figuratively).
Second is to recognize that we deserve this and we are worth it. That in fact this opportunity to receive is a perfect match for what we give to the world every day and this is our chance to reap the rewards.
(For a bit more on this topic check this article out on the importance of receiving)
I am not an expert in these two areas yet, but boy am I looking forward to the day that I am. Then again, I may never fully be at a place where these two things are mastered but I am darn sure going to practice getting close.
They say ‘awareness causes disappearance’ so simply noticing when we’re stuck in the trap of ‘doing’ is the first step in impacting it.
Look through our life and notice where you may be addicted to action even when it is superfluous? How are you manufacturing ‘work’ unnecessarily?
It won’t always be something you get right the first time. The day I moved was a perfect example of that, but there’s always next time.
More ‘being’ and less ‘doing’ is what I am aiming for.
Next time I hire movers, I will notice my desire to jump-up and help-out and instead of acting on that impulse I will sit there, breathing through the discomfort and remember that I’m worth it. I will sit there feet up on the couch with a good book and cup of tea in hand as I lean back and enjoy the scurry of movers in front of me.
And the only thing I will be lifting that day is the warm cup to my lips as I sip the sweet taste of surrender.
Next time I’ll get it right.