Tag Archives: Doing too much

Set Boundaries. Be Happy.

Photo Credit: stephen boisvert on Flickr

“Well, I sent that email…,” she grinned.

She had a client who was absolutely draining her energy, and finally did something about it.

As an exceptionally intuitive and skillful healer, she poured everything into her work. And she knew she had to protect herself for her business to last. We developed strategies for protecting her energy – but she still had a hard time saying no.

One client required more than most, and left her exhausted. To make matters worse, his appointments were usually in the evening, adding a difficult session to an already long day.

So she sent out an email announcing a decision to change a few things, including an end to appointments after 5 p.m.

And she felt instant relief.

It took her weeks to get to that decision. And depending on your own work style, that may seem rather silly. After all, you’re the boss, right? If you don’t want to see people in the evening, then don’t!

But many of you will totally get it – because you see people at crazy hours, too. And if your cash flow is down it’s even worse.

When you are a heart-centered entrepreneur, you’re driven by the satisfaction of serving your clients. You care deeply about their results, and will go the extra mile to help them in any way you can.

And you hate saying no. :) 

Sooner or later, that will get you in trouble. Continue reading

What is your One Thing?

Drop of Leaves - Abdul Rahman

It’s a brand new day.

And some of you are practically giddy with possibilities so bright and early in this beautiful New Year.

If you’re like many people I know – especially business owners – you’ve spent time over the last few days setting new goals, mapping out plans, dreaming about all the good things you are determined to do in 2015.

I hope you took time to Celebrate what you accomplished last year too.

But goodness – it is soooo easy to get ramped up about new beginnings, isn’t it? Each new year feels like a giant reset, a brand new chance to wipe the slate clean, take a deep breath, and try again.

I get that. Heck. I have my calendar for the year laid out in full-fledged technicolor. Spent an entire day doing it, and loved every minute.

So yes, there’s a lot to be said for taking the time to sit still, think things through, and map out our plans.

But it’s also really, really easy to get overwhelmed. So many Have-To’s, Should-Do’s Need-To’s and Want-To’s. Where in the world do you start?

Here’s the problem.

One of our unique skills as women is our ability to multitask.

We see everything at once – the Legos in the living room that need to be picked up, the last box that needs to go to the attic, the roses out back that still need trimming for the winter.

And we do the same thing in our business. We’re painfully aware of the follow-up calls we haven’t made, the content we still need to write, AND all the super-cool ideas we could be working on if we could Just. Find. The. Time.

Sometimes, that ability to see everything at once can get away from us.

Men, on the other hand, have a uniquely irritating ability to focus like a laser beam on one thing at a time. You know what I’m talking about. They step right over those Legos on their way to the TV for a 10-hour football binge.

But there are times when that ability to be super clear, to be hyper focused on one target, can actually be kind of handy.

So just for a moment, let’s try this.
Continue reading

How to Keep Your Head Above Water: Hire Some Help

Help, by Banspy on Flickr

 

It’s almost Friday.
And you’re drowning in your To-Do list.

Your newsletter’s due tomorrow, a new client needs paperwork this afternoon, and you have a networking event at lunch today.

You’re behind on the report you promised, you haven’t touched your social media outlets in two weeks, and your website has an outdated page that really needs to come down.

Somehow, you need to plan the launch for the new class that starts next month.

Oh – and both kids have Christmas programs this week. No way are you missing those, but someone’s got to cook dinner. And get to the grocery store.

What’s an entrepreneur to do?

You hire help – but not because you can’t keep up.

You can.

The truth is we wouldn’t have gotten this far if we couldn’t keep all those plates in the air. I don’t know any women who aren’t managing ten things at once from sunrise to moonrise every day. Do you?

You build a team to build your business – and protect your profitability.

We won’t even talk about saving your sanity. :))

Here’s how.
Continue reading

How to Be a (Really Tired but) Very Good Girl

Little ShoesI’ve had a lot of clients lately who have been Very Good Girls.

And frankly, they’re a little tired of it.

(Thank heavens.)

I do a lot of different things in my work – guiding women through everything from how to grow their business to how to take better care of themselves to how to get through a zip-line tour.

But through it all, what I’m really doing is teaching them to believe in who they are, to  realize they have a right to be happy, and to treat themselves with as much respect as they treat others.

Sounds easy. Usually isn’t.

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a Good Girl.

Here’s a few things that seem to fit, based partly on my own experience, and partly on what I see soooooo often in my coaching and counseling practice.

See what you think.

Here’s 29 Ways to Be a (Really Tired but) Very Good Girl

1. Help take care of your little brothers and sisters.

2. Help them get dressed in the mornings, get their teeth brushed and their school supplies ready.

3. In the evening, help them finish their homework and get ready for bed

4. Help your mom with the dishes, the laundry, and the housecleaning.

5. Do your homework every night.

6. Make very good grades.

7. Always do as you’re told by your parents, teachers, or any other authority figure.

8. Never question what they say. Never complain.

9. Get a part time job as soon as you’re old enough to do so.

10. If money is tight, give some of what you earn to your mom.

11. When arguments break out among your family or friends, do your best to smooth them over.

12. Pay very close attention to the feelings of everyone around you.

13. When you sense someone’s upset, do your best to calm them, make them feel better.

14. Make the men and boys in your life feel especially important, because you know they really need that.

15. Never question them. Never show them up. Never be better at something than they are.

16. Never get mad.

17. If someone mistreats you, try to be better, so they’ll be better.

18. Do your best to earn scholarships, so you can go to a good school and make your parents proud.

19. Volunteer at your church, the Red Cross, the local shelter, and the food pantry.

20. Hide your own feelings, no matter how strong they are. Always hold them in.

21. Never make anyone else uncomfortable.

22. Work harder than anyone around you. Make every minute count.

23. Be happy with a pay check that’s 20% less than the men you work with, because after all, you love your job, right?

24. Don’t worry when one of those men takes credit for your idea. Remember #14.

25. Always put your husband first, your children first, your church first, the elderly couple down the street first.

26. Never, ever, under any circumstances, put your Self first.

27. Never, ever, under any circumstances, ask for what you want, much less insist. That could be seen as selfish.

28. Remember that Good Girls are never Self-ish, because to do something for themselves might violate #21.

29. And always, always follow #16.

Does any of this fit for you? What did I miss?

Let me know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: by Moyan Brennan on Flickr

Soothing Our Spirits: Southern Women, Sin and Self Care

Leaves on Water

An Installment in Our Series on Building a (Courageous Woman’s) Life

Sometimes, I call it the Southern Women’s Syndrome.

This serious and often debilitating condition commonly affects women all across the southern U.S.. It’s a condition marked by an inability to care for one’s self, and severe and unrelenting symptoms of Chronic Guilt and Exhaustion.

It’s a condition that is completely familiar to most women I know.

I don’t know about other parts of the country, but here in the South there seems to be an unwritten expectation that we Good Girls put everyone else first in our lives – our spouse, our children, our church, the sweet elderly couple down the street, you name it. To do something for our Selves, really at all, is considered the height of selfishness.

And in Southern culture, selfishness – among women anyway – feels like sin.

I once gave a talk on depression to a large local chapter of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). It was a fairly basic presentation about how to recognize clinical depression and when to get help, a talk I’d given many times before. But the response afterwards, when I was swarmed by individual women seeking help, surprised even me.

After that, I began to joke that mothers of preschoolers were the most depressed group I knew. It wasn’t much of a joke of course. Mothers of pre-schoolers are smack-dab in the middle of 24-hour care-for-others mode, and they’re just exhausted.

But it’s not just moms, is it? No. And we know this.

This is a universal issue common to women everywhere.

I don’t know where it comes from. It’s part biological, part cultural, part who knows what. But we do have this thing about caring for other people – in every part of our daily lives. And that’s a good thing. Really. Sometimes I think the world could use a little more of what we bring to the table.

But we don’t stop at caring for our families. We worry about our coworker and her problems with her husband. We parent neighborhood kids who aren’t even ours. We shore up flagging spirits among our friends (and they, ours, thank goodness). We say yes when asked to help with vacation bible school, AND the charity gala, AND the post-prom party, and….


Well, you get my drift.

Caring for others in an active, engaged way, day after day, is both one of the most exhausting AND most fulfilling things women do. And yet, to survive in the face of all that giving, we have to watch it. If we’re not careful, we’ll give away so much of our Selves, there’s no “us” left.

In short, you can’t give something away that you don’t have. Constant caring for others (not just children) will leave you feeling depleted, used up, done. And I see this all the time.

Self care is a CRITICAL element of healthy parenting, for sure. But self care is also one of the first principles of Building a (Courageous Woman’s) Life. I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating.

“You cannot pour from an empty pitcher.”

I heard that quote when my children were small, and the imagery of that phrase has stayed with me ever since.

Many times, even if a woman tries to set aside time for herself, the world around her will pressure her to ‘take it back’. She’ll have trouble getting child care, her partner or spouse will complain, her mother will give her “the look”, the preacher will talk about the holiness of a mother’s sacrifice in church that week…. You name it.

The messages may be subtle or overt, but they’ll be there.

And she’ll get the hint. And usually, she’ll back down.

Give up.

Cancel her plans.

Drag herself back inside.

Hang the keys back up.

Go put on another load of laundry.

She’ll feel guilty. Again. She’ll wonder why she’s so ridiculously tired all the time. And she’ll blame herself. “What’s wrong with me?” She’ll ask.

I’ll tell you what’s wrong.

Her cells are depleted. Her soul is depleted. But her laundry’s done, by darn.

Listen.

When you put off time for your Self, restorative activities for your Self, SPACE in your LIFE for your Self, and you do this over and over and over again, year after year after year, after a while you’ll have no Self left.

And do you know where this will lead, in the end?

You’ll get sick.

It may happen quickly, or it may take a few years to develop – but it will happen. Over time, as body and spirit becomes frazzled, worn out, dried out, used up – women are prone to developing any number of physical or emotional illnesses. Those might include severe anxiety, panic attacks, or painful depression, or autoimmune disorders like fibromyalgia, lupus or chronic fatigue.

You can’t give everything you have away for ever, and survive, my friends.

And there’s more.

Other consequences to a chronic lack of healthy Self Care include:

  • suffering relationships (it’s hard to be a vibrant partner in a marriage or long term relationship when you have nothing left to give),
  • a lack of satisfying friendships (same thing)
  • difficulty at work (it’s hard to be productive, creative, organized or successful when you’re running on fumes) and…
  • sending the really wrong message for your children. 

If you truly want to give your best to your children, or to anyone else in your life that you care about, you’d better take care of your Self – first. That’s not self-ish. It’s self-nurturing.   That’s good for you. And it’s good for your family.

So what’s a woman to do?

How much “me-time” do you need?

And what do you do with it when you get it?

That varies widely depending on the level of stress in your life, and your particular circumstances. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a BIG DEAL or a little one. The critical element is that it HAPPENS, and happens on some kind of regular basis.

Need a few ideas to get started? No problem.

I’ll share a batch of ideas in my next post.

But HERE’s the good news.

When you come home refreshed and filled back up, you have that much more to give to others. And you’ll be giving from a place of love and strength. Not guilt and exhaustion.

So the first step towards Building a (Courageous Woman’s) Life – is to CARE for the life you already have.

Are you doing that? What’s working? What isn’t?

And how can I help?
Talk to me, on Facebook, or in comments below!

Photo Credits: by Miyukiutada on Flickr