The Hangover of Overdoing and Undervaluing
It has taken time to unwind from the desire for external validation that's been intrinsic to my hunger for success, accomplishment, and achievement. By far it's this need that has animated the majority of my life and acted as a most powerful motivator for my priorities and decisions. Nevertheless, working for yourself can create a forcing function for release from this hangover if you don't want to be a slave to Instagram likes and the number in your bank account. Which I, in fact, do not.
But I can only just say I’ve begun to recognize and relinquish these old patterns of needing to be acting, moving and do-ing to feel like I have a strong sense of self-worth in the world. We all need purpose, and I believe we all have a specific destiny here on the planet, but it’s essential – truly imperative – that we slow down enough to do the thing with intention and integrity.
The idea of glorifying busy is finally being questioned. But what does that look like in a normal, actually really busy life? How do we create a new value system around aligned accomplishments instead of frenetic busywork?
And why does that even matter? It matters because when we are tuned in to something of value inside ourselves, our innate value and enoughness, we can create from a place of higher good. And because when we create from an authentic source of good, that's the work that's electric. The work that flows and flows and all of a sudden 5 hours have gone by that felt like 20 minutes, leaving you feeling superhuman, vital, and alive.
So I’m declaring to you that I am officially done pushing productivity to prove my worth. In my corporate days, I was labelled a “Maximizer” on the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test, and I can laugh about it now as I consider what that might mean outside of corporate productivity metrics. It's true - I do value efficiency - but these days I’m more concerned with the ability to maximize my spiritual growth, my consciousness, and my self-acceptance. These are the guideposts I want to measure myself by daily.
In the corporate world, and to be honest, even for a large majority of my time in the world of wellness, the external needs and achievements have governed how I spend my time. I've always loved lists (maybe it's my Virgo ascendant?) but I'm finally reaching a point where I can recognize that the meticulously well-organized lists aren't all that helpful and instead are reflecting back daily shortcomings that leave me feeling less than.
So, as I release the death-grip of needing to accomplish a million to dos to feel worthy, I share with you a new process of creating and guiding your day that is still all about effectiveness, and in a way, lists, but ultimately much more concerned with inner alignment and attunement than something from the outside.
So, what does this look like? A few guidelines to try below:
GRATITUDE FIRST | Anyone who has ever worked with me one-on-one is well aware of my love of a daily gratitude practice first. Before ANYTHING else. If this is a struggle, start with obvious, basic things ( I'm grateful for my breath, I'm grateful I can ponder what I'm grateful for, I'm grateful for eyes to read this with...etc.), or go much deeper and profound (I'm grateful for the divine God consciousness that animates the universe). When we start with appreciation, we find we have much more to be appreciative of than we could ever imagine.
CONSIDER HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL | Ok, we all know the gratitude thing, but this one has been a bit of a newer experiment for me....and I LOVE it. Every morning, instead of letting external events dictate your mood, declare first thing what YOU want to feel. I usually pick 3 things. They look like this: Today I want to feel grounded, supported and peaceful. Or, today I want to feel shiny, focused, and healthy. Or even, today I want to feel energized, creative, and professional. You get the picture, right? You pick first, and then come back to these feeling goals throughout the day.
CRAFT A VISION | Once you know how you want to feel, spend just a minute or two visioning how this will play out. How will you walk to the metro? How will you enter into your first meeting of the day? How will you write your emails, talk about yourself, move your body, fuel your body? Set a vision for a day of greatness and lay a pathway - of your choosing - for you to follow.
VALIDATE YOURSELF IN THE EVENING | No matter what happened throughout the day, I am certain there are things to be proud of. Try to end your day with considering a few of these things. Were you kind to yourself at some point during the day? Did you pick up a plastic bottle on the side of the road and recycle it? Did you not flip a desk at work when you really wanted to? Celebrate those small wins and really let yourself feel them.
Now, I know this might seem like quite the list, but all told this process takes under 10 minutes when we get into the flow of it. About 6 or 7 minutes in the morning, and about 3 or 4 minutes in the evening to validate and end on a high note.
And here’s the thing: when we focus on the needs of our hearts and souls as a priority to bookend our days, we receive a nectar of nourishment that can sustain us far longer than anything outside ourselves. Especially when our days our long and busy, and hectic, and important, and all that jazz.
In the hustle of it all, you have a choice. Stay in Maximization mode 2.0 to be an frenzied worker bee, or start with your own self-led design, your own frame of life, and pull your day and your life through that mold.
I know which version I choose.
How about you?
The photo is my own from the Isamu Noguchi show at the Smithsonian American Art Museum this past spring. The work is titled Grey Sun.