It’s the total opposite of what I used to do. I used to wholeheartedly believe that to get a lot done, I had to make myself work more more more—and then some more. No rest. No downtime. Do more to be more. I was exhausted. Ok, to be totally frank, some days I still am. Some days I still force my way through yet another 12 or 13-hour day—despite the fact that I have about as much energy as a sloth on Ambian. And nobody is asking me to. At the end of those days I fall into bed, having gotten a whole lot DONE but feeling like I completely missed the point of it all. I still do this! I’m going to hang a sign around my neck that says ‘I’m a work in progress.’
Do you ever feel like you just can’t muster the energy to go somewhere, do that thing, play that role? And then when you give yourself permission NOT to do it, all of a sudden you’ve got the energy? You kinda actually want to go?
Me too. What’s up with that? I’m learning that to honor that part of me that simply wants permission to rest gives me more energy. Imagine that! Sometimes me and snails have a lot in common when it comes their travel pace and the pace I learn at. Ok, but hear this: it’s totally counter-intuitive to me and a lot of Triple A folks like me—not just Type A; we’re Triple A—to take a break and rest or do something fun and totally not related to work and responsibilities in order to get more done. It just doesn’t make sense to us.
But I’ve been taking turtle steps towards trying out this new way of living—because I don’t want to feel like death run over at the end of my day. And it’s actually working. I’m getting tons done and my daily life is becoming a kind of walking, breathing, working meditation. I feel ‘in the zone’: present, mindful, aware, calm and strong.
Here it is: The one big lesson I’ve learned that is not only helping me feel stronger, calmer, healthier and happier but is ALSO enabling me to get more done.
Admitting that I don’t actually HAVE to do anything. Not anything—not even pay my bills. Seriously. It’s my choice to live a lifestyle that generates bills that need to be paid. I don’t have to do it; I choose to. How I make the money to pay them is also my choice. And when that little fear-filled voice inside me comes up to squeak about its imaginings of an empty future where I live in a cardboard box on the sidewalk? I give it a pat on the head and a cookie. Then I go back to what I really want to do in that moment.
The best part is: When I do this, what I really want to do in the moment is usually something that will generate abundance in my life—finances, love, friends, and fun activities. I write guest blog posts, I call business connections, I send ‘thank you’ cards, I meet my heart-felt networking connections for tea. All of this abundance-generating activity is ‘work’ but it doesn’t feel like it. Because I give myself permission to only do it if I feel like it. And when something comes up that feels better, I do that. Somehow, everything I decide I need to do gets done. And everything that gets done leads to more and more abundance. Those days when I force myself to work more more more despite not having the energy? They don’t lead to very much abundance.
I give myself permission to rest by admitting I don’t HAVE to do anything, and then a whole ton gets done. Maybe this is what the Zen masters mean when they talk about ‘doing without doing.’
And on the days I don’t manage this? I’ll put my ‘I’m a work in progress’ sign back on.