"Do not hurry, do not hurry, trust the process." ~ Alexandra Stoddard
Listen to offices all over America …
"I'm so busy and I do not have time!"
"How is it already 2019 already?!"
"I will sleep when I die …"
We are so focused on the next deadline, taking the next offer, with the approval of our directors and peers, that we push, push, push all the time.
Oh, how can I relate? I worked in corporate America I arrived in New York (two hours in every direction!) As vice president of marketing to a major media company. And I was working … very much.
When I was not in the job, I ran, checking things out of my long list, pretending to be Martha Stewart and always trying to finish the "next thing".
I knew that my sense of self-esteem was very wrapped in how much I could check my catalog and do anything for the approval of my colleagues. but I did not know otherwise. Although I did a lot of things and made the recognition I felt, I was not so happy. In fact, I was unhappy.
Then the tragedy struck – not once but twice.
In 1998, my sister, Jenny, had an aneurysm in the brain and suddenly died. It was eighteen. It was a hit like nothing I had never experienced before. The day after her funeral, she felt that the energy and effort she needed to brush my teeth was tantamount to conducting a marathon.
But somehow I got back to the saddle. I managed to abusive to do what I knew best: working and pleasant people. Getting the train at 6am to go to New York and not come home until 10pm was my day. My need to be Martha Stewart went to overdrive. Let's just say that Christmas meant thousands (indeed, thousands!) Of homemade biscuits. And no one complains about it!
Then it happened again.
In 2008, my brother Scott went into a cardiac arrest by playing basketball and died. This phone call is something I can never erase from my mind. She was thirty-three and married within a month. I was the one who canceled all the wedding plans. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life.
I do not have to tell you that I was destroyed. But I was really annoyed. Actually, I have to do this again?! And so, while it really got it (devaluations!), As I had gone through it once before, I thought it was an opportunity to do it differently.
I was always a super target, but after Scott's death, my only goal was to have no goals. Somewhat crazy, right? But my soul needed the time and the opportunity in kind to wander unnecessarily to heal. I realized that I wanted to make my job more meaningful, to have time to relax and have fun.
Slowly, I started to make sense of all that.
I went out on the other side to swear to live my life to the fullest – something my sister and brother would never have the chance to do. This meant laughing, a lot, having some great adventures (Paris! Skydiving!) And doing something important with my life.
The first thing I did was get out of work at a reasonable time. I realized that I was working those long hours because I felt I had to get to the front to get to the classes. Can you relate? If I left while everyone else was still in their offices would they call me a relaxed one? I decided not to care.
I was naturally organized and productive, but now I really set up these skills so I can make a ton of hard work during the day. When I got out of the door I was able to detach myself a lot from the office. Not all the time, but most of the time.
I stopped baking all these cookies.
Hiring a life coach helped me reach the depths of what was really important to me (surrounded by beauty, doing things with passion, and laughing, a lot). While I still love to bake, these days you are more likely to catch me in the oven.
Life is too small to be too busy. I learned this in the hard way.
You may think, "I know, I know … I have to slow down and record what's really important to me, but not until I finish this next project."
It's so easy to take time for granted, it's true that we can not do more than that, but it always seems to be there for us. Until it is not.
So how can you get started?
1. Understand where you spend most of your time and most importantly, why.
You may work long hours because you need money, and this is a valid point, but if you look a little deeper maybe the money is going to support a lifestyle you really do not want.
Without a doubt, this is the hard work, so be curious and explore. It is the discovery of oneself, not self-discipline.
2. Begin dreaming what you would do if you had all the time in the world.
Get specific. What do they look like in those days? What is so great about them? Why they make you happy. Add visualization, dreams and magazine so you can really see it.
3. Understand how you can put more of your ideal day into your day of reality starting now.
Can you leave the office earlier one or two nights a week? Register for a dance class? Say not to a big project or committee? I used to start my week with a fresh bouquet of flowers for my office. He made a difference.
What I realized after I did it through the dark days and nights and I came out from under the covers to the light is that our tragedies are what brings us to places that we would never go by ourselves. Their gift makes our lives more meaningful and more prosperous.
But you do not have to do this kind of tragedy to understand how you really want to spend your time. You have a choice here, now. Make it count.