After spending most of this past year working between 60-80 weeks, I found myself reflecting back on how much of the year I had missed. How many opportunities to spend time with my kids – to hike, ski, ride my bike, to relax or work out had I missed?
Turns out quite a bit.
When we moved to Colorado from Chicago, we moved with the intention to find balance and live a healthier, more active life. But when your husband travels and you’re building a business it’s easy to say, “I can’t take time for me. Work has to come first.”
So, for much of the past year that’s what I did – work, work, work. It was only after I attended my Copywriter’s Think Tank retreat this past September, that I finally realized how burned out I was. And how out of integrity I was in the way I was living my life and the way I was telling my clients to live theirs.
As a life coach and brand strategist, I was supposed to be setting the example – but I was so out of whack and even behind on some of my deliverables.
What I realized is that I had it all backwards. Working harder wasn’t going to bring me the success I wanted – I had to learn how to work smarter.
It was after my think tank retreat that I decided that I was going to shift my entire mindset and practice what I tell other clients they must do. I came home and decided to streamline my business, hire copywriters and limit the number of clients I was going to work with and . . . . focus on some self-care – which included travel during Colorado’s off season.
Over the last month and a half, I have taken six trips – a business retreat trip to San Diego, my high school reunion in Chicago, a girl’s trip to NY, a romantic trip to Jamaica with my husband, a trip to see my daughter in Pennsylvania and a weekend in Arizona to hike with friends.
Sounds a little indulgent, right?
Well, for so many of we think others will think we’re spoiled or indulgent, so we don’t act.
Or we assume our businesses will fall apart if we commit to time to ourselves, or we think that spending money in this fashion is just foolish.
To be quite honest, most of the time I fall in one of those three categories and commit to working 6 days a week as a norm so that I can get ahead. The problem with that mentality is that when we focus solely on our business – we lose out on something.
For me, it was my creativity and my focus on what was really important. You see, I love traveling. I love seeing new things and spending quality time with the people I love. For many months I wasn’t doing any of that. I made excuses and hid behind work. In many ways, I was starting to be kind of a nightmare to hang out with since all I had to talk about was work (trust me, my husband got pretty tired of hearing about my latest projects).
When it comes to work, turns out traveling on weekends and taking a few days off here and there hasn’t killed my business.
In fact, I think it’s helped me guide me and grow my business in so many ways.
When you constantly work 60-80 work weeks it gets hard to see the big picture. You’re always in that go-go-go mode and after a while it feels like you don’t even know where it is you’re actually going.
By spending time on travel (and working out and spending time with friends, kids and or your husband husband) you discover you can feel more grounded and clearer.
You also learn how much you’ve wasted time spinning your wheels and living in reaction to everyone’s demands.
Travel also gives you the perspective that how you’re living isn’t exactly mirrored by everyone else out there – when you see that it really doesn’t HAVE to be a certain way, you quickly learn that you can delegate and get back out there and live life.
For me, this experiment of using Colorado’s off-season to travel was my way to shake things up because I know that travel is one of the ways I feed my soul.
Maybe for you it’s something different – the trick is to find something that will help you step out of your current patterns and see what’s really happening in your world.
These days the idea of self-care feels a little like a badge that you get when you’re a girl scout – something you can proudly wear on your sleeve showing the world your latest achievement. But, that’s not really what self-care is about.
Instead, intentional self-care is about helping you recharge and see things in a new way.
In my view, self-care (when done intentionally) is about shifting your perspective and creating a long-term action plan that truly impacts the way you live. Otherwise, it becomes a superficial and temporary bridge until your next personal breaking point.
So, when I committed to traveling over the last month and a half, it was done with the intention of giving myself some perspective and the ability to enjoy why I became an entrepreneur in the first place – balance, joy, creativity, fun and dedication.
This week, as I share my story about my little experiment, I want to encourage you to shake things up a bit and really dive deep into self-care.
No matter how crazy this time of the year feels and no matter how big your demands, I promise that if you try this kind of experiment, you and your business will reap bigger dividends than you might have ever expected.
Xo – Linda
P.S. Let me know how it works out! I would love to hear from you in the comments below!