If there's one thing I've learned these last 4 months it's that we all need to stop waiting to catch a break and start giving ourselves breaks. A bad habit we have in our society is waiting until things lighten up before we slow down and take care of ourselves.
I hear this from leaders, entrepreneurs and managers all the time. I'll ask clients what they are doing to take care of themselves and inevitably I hear back some version of, "I don't have time for that now."
The truth is, we are living in a false narrative that the busy will ever end. It will not. There's always more work to be done, the responsibilities we shoulder as leaders are unrelenting. We will always have more projects to see to completion. There will continue to be more tasks to check off our to-do lists.
I feel this in my business. Every time I make significant progress in one area, I uncover a host of new items that need to get done. Sometimes that realization is demoralizing. It can feel like no matter how hard I work, there's always so much more to do.
It's especially demoralizing when I've lived in this false narrative that once I got this one thing figured out in my business I wouldn't have to work so hard. Those are the times I've lost momentum. As long as I held onto the belief that I could coast after tackling one difficult project, I didn't have the reserves to persevere. I was using adrenaline and coffee to keep me going.
Inevitably I would crash. Waiting for my next big break was completely unsustainable. As an entrepreneur and a leader I needed to accept that I'm running a marathon and not a sprint.
When I thought about my work that way, I realized that proactively sustaining myself so I can maintain my momentum is imperative. As a result, self-care became a priority.
Self-care isn't just fluffy, woo woo, feel-good stuff. It's about finding and tapping into sustainable sources of energy (so, not adrenaline and coffee). It's about keeping my mind, body and spirit tuned for the tasks at hand. It's ensuring that I have invested in getting and keeping myself marathon ready.
Above and beyond that it's about changing the narrative. Part of the reason I like running my own business is because I am motivated by a good challenge. But like anyone else, I want instant gratification at times. When I see challenges as a short-term endeavor that'll lead me to the land of easy peasy work I'm doing myself a disservice.
Good self-care habits only get me so far, changing my story is what gets me the rest of the way. My new story is about celebrating wins, restoring myself, and preparing for the next long-haul with eager anticipation of the challenges that await. Instead of my story being, no matter how hard I try, I'm never good enough. My story becomes, I know I am capable of summiting this next mountain because I've overcome similar obstacles before. I just have to gear up, get ready and care for myself along the way.
Leveling up is all about navigating a nuanced dance between taking different actions and changing your thoughts. We all need tools that help us make the invisible visible, revealing the obstacles in the way and illuminating a path forward. Journaling is an exceptional practice for deepening awareness, setting intentions that lead to action, and rewriting the story that makes up your inner reality.
Are you ready to start taking action and stop waiting? Would you like to reveal obstacles and illuminate your path forward? Reinvigorate your spirit, join today's Journal Jam.