If It’s Not Working? Stop. Just Stop Doing It.

Last week I was away for a week’s holiday with my family; my entire extended family. Nearly every year since the mid 80’s we’ve been going to the same spot, and it’s probably the one place where I instantly feel relaxed. The one place where the craziness of 24/7 email accumulation, the ‘need’ to update my life and business constantly on Facebook, and the constant pressure to continually push away at building my business and being more successful just … slip away.

It was also the first holiday I can remember – so I’d say in at least 4 or 5 years – where I had absolutely zero technological connection.

Phone off. Laptop left at home. iPad only used for reading. I even pre-scheduled all of the Facebook and blog updates for Woman Incredible. Which explains why you may have waited a few days for a response from me if you posted on the wall last week 🙂

And here’s the thing.

Normally, I am so hands on with my business that it is my life. I can’t tell where Woman Incredible stops and I begin, and I don’t mean that in an ‘I am Woman Incredible’ sort of way! I mean that I am constantly, always, unceasingly thinking about the next thing I have to do, want to do. And as much as my slogan is ‘Life is Now. Press Play’, I’ll admit it’s an area I still struggle with almost daily. The desire to be present fights the need to be MORE. To do more; to do everything. And therefore, maybe, to not quite really be any of the things I truly want to be.

Which is?

When all is said and done it’s the simple stuff, isn’t it?

Wanting to be able to truly switch off at home, and enjoy quality and engaged time with my family. Fun and different social stuff from time to time, rather than always being so tired or busy that the best I can do is crash out in front of Modern Family late at night and call that my down-time. Wanting to maybe have more than 3 date nights per 2 years with my husband! Wanting to finally write the book I have within me, the ‘big’ writing dream.

Wanting to feel like my life is considered, in control, and focused, rather than wildly out of control as I race from task to task at a million miles an hour.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to shut down Woman Incredible or anything like that 🙂

And it’s not as though I don’t love what I do, much of the time.

When I’m writing a blog for you or presenting a workshop, when I’m working on my VIP mentoring or putting together a new project like the Look Great Naked Eating Plan, or engaging with a reader who has had their life transformed as a result of being part of the Woman Incredible community – these are the things that drive me and make me remember I love what I do. I feel ‘in flow’ when I’m doing this sort of stuff. I know that it’s what I am meant to do.

It’s the in between stuff that occasionally makes me feel like I’m never going to get off the wheel.

The fact that every time I have a teeny bit of space free up, I instantly fill it with a new project or joint venture idea. When I look back, none of these extra things from 2011 are still in my life. They were fluffy things that I just decided to do because they sounded like a good idea at the time. And yet they filled free time that could have been spent playing with Alyssa, going out of the house in the evening instead of crashing on the couch, lying in the sun occasionally rather than being glued to my computer 24/7. Free time that is also often filled with various endless email, social media (often distraction rather than business based), admin and so on.

And I’ve realised something.

For all the things that I’m incredibly proud of from 2011, there are an equal amount of things that simply did not work for me. Quite simply, they didn’t increase my happiness levels in the short term and there’s no indication that they’re going to do so in the long term.

I’m talking personally as well as professionally.

is your happiness increasing or is it always just out of reach?

It’s human nature to put off things that we truly long to do.

“I can’t be a ‘real’ writer and write my dream book until I pay off the credit card, start making enough money online to live on first, answer to everyone who I feel beholden to despite the fact that I may have no idea who they are 5 years from now”

That’s one of my ones, but how about you? Here are some things I commonly hear; several of which I have certainly been guilty of myself over the years –

“I can’t start seriously putting myself out there and looking for my dream relationship until I’m in a bit better shape”

“I can’t quit my job and start my own business until I pull ahead financially”

“I can’t take up dancing/beach volleyball/group classes/name your ideal ‘fun’ or ‘out there’ exercise until I’m not so self-conscious about my body”

“I can’t relax about food or enjoy eating until I lose weight”

“I can’t stop being so busy at the moment; I just have to catch-up/pull ahead”

Really? Really?!

happiness will always remain out of your reach unless you decide to own it now

Do you remember 5 or 10, perhaps 15 or 20 years ago when you thought that by the age you are now you would have it all together?

I remember being in my early twenties and thinking –

man, 30 is OLD. It’s such a grown-up and impressive age that I will certainly be a crazy-wealthy entrepreneur with a super impressive ‘dream’ home and will no doubt walk around in designer suits and heels all day long”.

When 30 was far off, I took for granted that I’d work things out by then. Create my dreams. I’m 32 now. And hey – I am an entrepreneur and I’m certainly a little crazy. So I guess I’m getting there 😉

But you know what? If you’re looking ahead to that mystical age or perhaps even a date later this year when you think you’re going to have it all together? Here’s the truth.

Probably, you won’t.

Oh sure, I don’t mean you personally. Only 99% or so of women reading this. So yeah, I guess I could mean you personally.

Because you know what?

This time last year, we all said the same stuff to ourselves. We promised ourselves we wouldn’t be so busy, we wouldn’t spend so much, we’d stop deviating wildly between restricting food and then eating excessively. We’d take up that new hobby or class or just go on that adventure we’d always dreamed about. We’d be more present for ourselves and our kids, and we’d truly switch off in the evenings and on the weekends. We’d find a way to do what we love and to truly love what we do each day rather than responding to fears and insecurities about losing security by taking such a risk.

We promised, and what did we do?

What did you do?

I’ve been in my own face about a few things over the past few days, and now I’m going to get into yours a little.

What do you really want out of this year? What, when you get to the end of 2012, would make you say ‘WOW! What an awesome year‘? And I don’t just mean say it on Facebook 😉

What, while I’m at it, would make you say that about this month, this week? About today? Stop right now, and ask yourself that; for today I mean.

Because you know what? If you don’t ask that today, and then ruthlessly chase after it, you’re not going to have that WOW at the end of the year.

Did you have it about 2011? If so, you are the 1% and I congratulate you 🙂

If not, you are the 99% and I implore you to value yourself properly this year. NOW is the time to live your dreams.

When you prioritise making money or ‘not being in debt’ over doing what you know you could do, you are simply saying that money is more important; more valuable than you and your dreams. When you prioritise looking or feeling a certain way over trying something new or acting differently, you’re believing that everyone out there who has or does what you want is perfect.

Look around. It’s clearly not so.

And the happiness thing?

It starts with you. But you have to be honest. What in your life is working for you right now, what truly increases your happiness or will have that effect in the coming weeks and years? Does emptying your inbox or staying up to date with social media notifications have that potential? How about never missing an episode of your fave show?

Or, when it comes to 5 or 10 years from now are you going to look back and say

you know what? I am SO glad I stopped worrying so much about being the most organised/productive/busy/successful/well put together person and that I went on that holiday. That I spent a couple of hours each day with my family or loved ones rather than on email or social media. That I just decided enough was enough when it comes to destructive eating habits. That I decided to try falling pregnant even though it didn’t feel like the right time yet. That I valued my worth and believed in abundance rather than constantly watched every penny and focused on lack. That I took a risk, decided to believe in myself, and just gave my dream a go. That I believed it could get better, that I could be one of ‘those’ people and that I just did what I had to do to start making that happen

… are you?

Or are you going to continue to look ahead to ‘when the time is right’?

It’s a choice. Make it.