Busy vs. Important

Too many times we sacrifice the latter for the former.

It’s easy to mistake, busy. Busy masquerades as important; it carries urgency, an air of significance.

busy, rushing, walking, fast, commuting

Busy often parades itself around as productive. Busy gives us a false sense of status.

Busy is glorified, sensationalized and held on a pedestal. My rote response to “How have you been?” is typically “Good. Busy.”

Busy is expected. The ability to be in the constant state of busy will never subside.

The problem with busyness, however, is that it distracts and robs us of what’s important. There are countless ways to be busy; there are numbered ways to do what’s important.

Busy makes life blurry.

Busy carries no purpose. Busy is easy, busy is comfortable, busy is familiar. Busy is understood.

“How have you been?” “Good. Busy.” And we all nod in understanding.

We have made busy a way of life.

Important, however; important is a challenge. Important is doing the hard work, and it can be uncomfortable. Important is an investment.

Busy is easier, but busy is shallow. Busy adds stress, but never value.

If you find that you’re in the rut of busy, take a few minutes and think about those things that would encourage you, and your family, to thrive.

Write it down. Contemplate it. Work focusing on those key ingredients into actions on your daily To Do list. Be intentional about chasing important.

For me, important includes things like connection, gratitude, passion, growth, movement, self-care, and being outdoors.

Find some clarity in this blurry, fast-paced, ever-evolving life. Downgrade busy. Remove its mask and look at it in the eye for what it is.

Let’s bring emphasis back to important.

This is Your Ride

I’ve seen this message pop up on the stationary bike at the gym dozens of times. It was there again today, reminding me…

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This ride is yours, and yours alone. Sure, there are plenty of people riding along with you, but what happens in your head is yours. What you chase, the effort you put in, the thrill of the accomplishment or the weight of defeat when you come up short is yours.

Some rides may look a lot alike, others may vary in intensity, view and vehicle. The prize is not necessarily the same for all, although we all have our eye on one. It doesn’t matter if your neighbor, your mother, your brother, your sister, your best friend, your competitor or your boss are on the same track; you have to get through your course, on your time, on your own ambition and your own determination. You have to conquer your skill before you can move on to the next level, and that only comes with the work that you’re willing to put in to get there. You have to stay true to the rider that you are, and push towards the one that you want to become.

You’ve got to want to take off the training wheels.

What does the ride look like to you? Are you pushing yourself, getting the most you can out of it, or are you coasting along, not really working at digging any deeper, developing or growing any further? Are you taking the time to listen to your thoughts along the way, or are you consistently drowning them out with the noise? Do you ride the same ride every time you get on the seat, or are you challenging yourself with new and more difficult levels every once in awhile? Are you confident in your awareness of when to push yourself, and when to take the scenic route when you need to? Are you taking the actions necessary to get to the place those riders who are better than you are at? Are you surrounding yourself with riders who will support you, ride along with you and push you to get to that place? And when they’re not looking, are you working just as hard?

Are you taking rides that scare you?

When you fall, do you stay down, or do you hop right back up again? Do you use the scars you earn along the way as fuel, or as a weight that you carry, reminding you of your failures?

Life is just like learning how to ride a bike. And this is your ride.

Hello, 35

“Every year you close a new chapter in your story. Please, please, please don’t write the same one seventy-five times and call it a life.” – Rachel Hollis, Girl, Wash Your Face

Today, I turn 35.

It’s a bit stark and unyielding to see that laid out there. 35 feels like a mile marker of sorts. I’m not someone who holds negative energy for aging, minus my ongoing battle with unruly gray hairs, but it feels as though there is something more commemorative about this year than say 32 or 33.

A tip of the hat, though, to my 34th year.

34 was the year I decided I didn’t want to drown any longer; it was the year I decided I needed to get intentional and to put myself first. I set out to find things that set my soul on fire. 34 was the year I really started digging in; I chased development and growth. I challenged myself. I went after things I didn’t know I wanted – this blog for instance. And I walked away from things – commitments, attitudes, and behaviors, that didn’t benefit me in getting to where I was hoping to get to.

I have the opportunity this week to create some space in a beautiful piece of this country to spend some time with myself. I’m traveling solo for the first time ever, and am spending this birthday, also for the first time ever, away from my family. This trip has forced me to step out of my comfort zone in a number of ways, but there is always something to be gained from discomfort. I spent Sunday wandering through airports and driving west on I70 in Colorado with just the thoughts in my head. I have a cozy hotel room with access to walking trails that follow a beautiful mountain creek that are postcard perfect for wandering and reflecting. I’m attending a conference and have had to overcome my fear of introducing myself to and holding conversation with strangers. I’ve had to reinforce positive thoughts and show the confidence that I’m trying to build, none of which comes easily to me just yet.

The timing of this solo travel, the space to connect introspectively, the arrival of this significant year and even the simple fact that this birthday falls on a Tuesday where I get to reach out and connect with you all are not lost on me.

I’m working on working out what I want in my 35th year, which means that I have to decide what small things I am going to commit to in order to build the bigger things upon. I am continuing to work through conscious decisions around who I am and the woman I want to be; how I spend my time and energy in the ways that are the most beneficial regardless of comparison, self-doubt, fear, self-consciousness or perfectionism. I have a long way to go to achieve “regardless”; it’s a daily, if not hourly, practice.

There are goals that I want to achieve this year. Hell, there are things that I want to set up that I want to achieve by my 40th year that need to be started now in order to ensure success. And, I’m getting comfortable with knowing that it’s entirely possible that these things might change, evolve or become irrelevant at 36, 37, or even in the next 6 months. It’s all a part of the process and none of that can be achieved without applying selectivity and curating on a consistent basis.

I embrace 34 as it quietly exits stage left and welcome in 35; I’m anxious and ready to write the most unique chapter yet.

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Holding the Applause

It can be really easy to get addicted to achieving. There is always more to accomplish.

Checked off a box in one area? Great, there’s six more things over here that need doing too.

Typically, when something gets checked off one of my lists (because of course there are multiple) I go back and add more things. Or, when I accomplish a particularly large or scary goal, I get a bit of an adrenaline rush and before I can reflect on my success, I start thinking bigger.

Whether it’s finishing a creative project, washing everyone’s bedding in a weekend, taking another step toward or even launching your own business, our personal accomplishments are typically ours and ours alone. However, rather than acknowledge or celebrate them, we simply turn and say “OK, what’s next?”

We need to hold space for the pause. Time to reflect, acknowledge what we’ve taken on, completed or overcome. We need to be less stingy about giving ourselves a pat on the back.

Recognize your accomplishments. Celebrate them.

There will be days where you’re the only one standing in the audience. There will be other times when you are fortunate enough to have others supporting your efforts along the way.

There’s only one voice cheering that should matter, that should be the loudest, that should last the longest, and that will carry you through on the days where success falls just out of reach.

Your own.

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Spring Cleaning

I wanted to do a quarterly check-in on my progress with my YearCompass goals. That didn’t happen; life gets busy, other things take precedence, I “didn’t have time” – you know how the excuse song goes.

BUT, it’s the first day of my birthday month and so I decided that yesterday, on the last day of April, I would give myself a gut-check on where I am versus where I wanted to be when I sat down in December/January and got intentional about my year ahead (what would this be, a thirdly?) .

I want to make sure that while the hours and days tick by, and when life is filled with the urgency of the moment, I am still taking the time to make space for the future.

Growing my writing was one of the biggest goals that I set for myself, and is probably the greatest success I have had yet this year. I took a chance and applied to be a contributing writer for a blog site; it was scary, it was thrilling, and it has not been without its challenges, but I was accepted and am really enjoying pushing my writing outside of my own personal blog. Coupled with that, I have maintained my posting consistency (another goal) and am enjoying putting worthwhile content out each week.

Travel was something I wanted to be more committed to, thanks to the inspiring travels of one of my dear friends, and I’m actively working on this; I accomplished a trip with my husband, and we’re planning our next family vacation, as well as a few smaller summer travels and experiences.

Oh, and I’m traveling alone for the first time ever at the end of this month, so look forward to that chronicling.

I’ll be honest though; there are a few things that have fallen to the wayside.

Here’s the thing about goals; sometimes they change, and that is OK. When your goals change, it means that you’re actively working on what works best for you and, even more importantly, discarding what doesn’t. Something might feel right, worth pursuing and could be this really great thing, but it turns out to not be all that you wanted it to be. Or, you might get led down a completely different path that you never expected. All of this is OK – if we’re doing our best to cultivate growth in our lives, there are going to be dead ends. Discovering what is not meant for you is part of your development, and gives you space in your life to pursue other, more relevant things. Sometimes we need to step back and gut-check what we’re chasing; just because you’ve chosen to chase something that ends up not being your thing doesn’t mean that you have to chase it anymore.

We don’t need permission to stop or start anything that no longer serves us, ever.

So, there are a few things that I’m leaving be, and a few things that I am going to start refocusing on.

planner, coffee, journaling

I was inspired by a podcast that I’m a frequent listener of to create a list of the three things that I want to focus on this month; I have a really great planner which I have been neglecting that I will be using to help get intentionally consistent with the following three themes throughout the month. Considering that we’re eyeballs-deep in two concurrent softball seasons, I’m going to need all the reminders I can get that there are personal accomplishments that I want to attain outside of being pulled in different directions five nights a week.

So, my three things for May are:

  • Be Intentional
    • This goes back to my word for 2018; I need to be intentional in all things. From what I’m listening to, to what I’m doing in my precious moments of spare time; from my relationships, to what I’m reading.
  • Create Quiet Space
    • I enrolled in a mediation program in January that I benefited immensely from. I am going to make a conscious effort this month, even if it’s once a week, to carve out a time to get quiet. I’ve been filling empty space with a lot of noise lately.
  • Connect in Real-Time
    • I’m addicted to my phone. I’m not ashamed to admit this, but I am sad about what I’m giving up outside of its 3×4” screen. Disconnecting was one of my YearCompass points that I haven’t been nearly intentional enough about.

Where are you at with your personal progress, and what three things could you be focusing on this month?

Power Source

 

 

 

Power

pow·er/pou(ə)r/

  1. The ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality.
  2. The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.

We all have it, the ability, the capability; power.

There are those who use and abuse it. Those who seek it, would do anything to have what they perceive it is. Some of us readily, many times unconsciously, hand it over to others. What most of us ignore is how we operate in it; we just aren’t aware of what it is, much less how to harness it.

My three year old fully believes in her power. At one time we all did, but we lost it along the way. Power – the right kind of power – is a practice; it’s not given or taken, but developed.

Power comes to us in how we frame our thoughts, how we respond (not react) to a given situation. We can operate in our power from a position of lack, or we can operate in our power from a position of abundance. We can wield our power from a mindset of limitations, or we can work with our power in possibility.

Where is your power coming from?