So many of the clients I work with are strong, independent women who have been long time students of self-improvement and self-growth. These women are ambitious, responsible (to others, anyway), and determined. They are used to achieving and when they decide on something, nothing gets in their way— except themselves.
You know you’re on the verge of burnout if:
-you wake up and the first thing you do is check your emails.
– you have an opportunity to do something spontaneous and instead you rationalize you don’t have time because you have 20 other things you have to do before your head hits the pillow that night.
– your recent phone calls included clients, customer service, and your hairstylist, without a friend or family member on the list.
Many of the women I see are more familiar with hard work than they are with play. Often, they grew up with more responsibilities than they should have, bypassing a lot of the freedom and playfulness of youth. As adults, much of their life stems upon standards, achievement, and responsibility. Many are used to doing things on their own, without a lot of support, and have developed very independent natures as well.
Independent, responsible, and determined are not bad traits, in fact, they help bring success into our lives. The only problem is that this type of existence alone lacks real joy and fulfillment. And success without fulfillment is really failure.
Many of us who fall into this category (myself included:), have learned “hard work” is the only way to reach our goals. But work only becomes hard when we’re trying to use our own force to fight for what we want or think we have to have.
This type of mentality is really about aggression, and it leaves little room for lightness, joy, and, even, laziness.
Last week, I ran around getting together with clients, going to meetings, and keeping up with everyday things (like clean underwear). From the outside, my life looked like a well oiled machine, but from the inside, I felt sluggish, heavy-hearted, and burdened.
After sitting quietly with this, I realized I hadn’t experienced much fun or laughter lately, and it was registering in my mood and energy. Right then, I said a prayer, “God, help bring more of this into my life.”
Shortly after, it occurred to me change my schedule for the day (doing taxes!) and, instead, ask a friend to go for a walk. Though it wasn’t easy for me to let go of my plan, I did. As soon as I made the phone call, my energy lifted and joy reentered my life.
I used to think that by not working hard, I was being irresponsible. Real irresponsibility, however, is ignoring our life force; the thing that makes life worth living. “Working hard” as a way of life is another way of killing ourselves, only it’s a slow death, one we don’t recognize until we’re too tired or sick or resentful to care.
If we want to experience more flow and freedom in our life, we must become willing to break the rules, which really means breaking restrictions we’ve placed upon ourselves.
Freedom is when we give ourselves permission to become more than just what’s familiar.
If you’re life is lacking real joy and fulfillment, ask what parts of yourself have been dominating lately? What’s missing?
Go into your heart and ask the Universe to bring more of that into your life.
Notice any ideas or impulses.
Dare to experiment, and be willing to act on what you receive.
Then stand back and watch your heart open, leaving room for joy to enter in.