A few weeks ago I took some time off. Not 100% off, but mostly. I needed a change of scenery as we often do. I had been working on many exciting projects, birthing new ones, pushing existing ones forward and had been keeping a much faster pace than I prefer. All too common scenario for people in this area where I live & work.
With everything I had been doing, I felt like my time was no longer my own. Of course that wasn’t really true. It was all my time. Everything I was doing was my own stuff. But I imagine you know what I mean.
A part of me revolted. My inner child demanded a break. So, I scheduled some beach time before she refused to do anything whatsoever. We got out of town and re-charged with some much welcomed energy from the ocean.
Just to be clear - I know I'm fortunate. I love what I do. It doesn’t feel like “work” at all. It feels mostly like fun and it wasn't always this way.
For years now I’ve often said out loud - “I love my life” and mean it. The recent pace started to feel different though. It was sustainable compared to some paces I kept in the past, but it was no longer enjoyable and not the way I wanted it to be. It had gone on for a little too long already and I didn’t really see an end to it until maybe December - maybe.
There were lots of deadlines and piles of tasks to get through - personal and work. And now many of my personal interests are what I do for work which can blur the boundary a little at times. There were also some external forces at work slowing things down and a learning curve on several new undertakings that I have now moved beyond.
However, much of it was my own doing. I started new projects and I didn’t have to take 3 classes at the same time on top of everything else. But I wanted to. The classes wouldn’t be offered again until sometime next year so, I went for what I wanted and had to deal with the consequences.
As a result, for several weeks prior to leaving, I’d been hanging on to my vacation date as if it were a light in the tunnel that was going to save me. “I’ll finally catch up,” I thought. No, I wouldn't as it turned out, but something even better came out of it.
I relished the time driving to the beach and while Gg rested, I contemplated the last several months and I realized something.
I wasn't unhappy and hadn’t really felt stressed until the past couple weeks. These were all things I wanted to do and enjoy doing. In fact, mostly I felt excited & happy. I did, however, feel rushed and that pressure had been mounting.I had been growing weary and, at times, much less productive than usual. I had more frequently been saying things to myself like “tired” or “need a break.” Did I need to drop some things, post-pone a project? What could I change?
And there it was. AHA.
The method wasn’t working any longer. It wasn’t what or how much I was doing this time, it was how I was doing it. The way I arranged my days and tackled my “to do” items was no longer working for this new level in my business.
It worked fine before, but now it was causing me to feel like I was always working. Relieved that I didn’t have to give up projects or back-burner things I wanted to start. I now had a new way of looking at the issue.
I had let things get out of balance. Funny because restoring balance is what I do. It’s what I practice; what I teach. The imbalance had crept up on me. I remember thinking - just get through this training and things will settle down. Just get the webpage built and then things will slow down. But it didn’t because then it was - just get the new curriculum done and it will slow down. Finish teaching these classes, finish taking that class, finish up this year’s conference. It wasn’t ending. I was in race to meet each next deadline.
It was time for a shift.