Freedom To Be Fulfilled
As we in the United States celebrate our independence on July 4th, I pause to appreciate all the freedoms we enjoy in this country: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom to pursue our version of happiness to name a few. Compared to many other women throughout the world, we have so much to give thanks for in the freedoms with which we lead our daily lives and pursue our dreams. Yet, I've noticed that many women in business rarely feel free to experience joy and feel fulfilled. We put ourselves last on our To Do List, if we are there at all, and we give much of our time, energy, and talent to others without asking for anything in return.
Perhaps it's the Puritan work ethic and the frenetic pace of life in this country, but having permission to enjoy your work and your life seems to elude many women. I've certainly suffered from this with a business to run along with an aging mother and dog to care for. Many women I know have an even heavier load with children, a spouse, and/or grandchildren to support and help.
The Hamster Wheel spins faster and faster, threatening to sling you off if you don't keep up. Lack of self-focus and self-care has some serious consequences:
- High levels of stress, leading to weight gain and health problems including serious ones like cancer or heart attack
- Mental exhaustion leading to poor decision-making and functioning at work and home
- Emotional burnout leading to impaired relationships with clients, colleagues, and loved ones
- A sense of being cut off spiritually from guidance and connection leading to depression or a sense of emptiness and resignation
Many women tell me that something is missing in their life, but they don't know how to address it. They want to have more energy and enthusiasm for work and more love at home, but they don't know where to start.
A simple way to begin is to ask yourself what you want in this way:
- If I could have anything at all, what do I want right now? (HINT: If it's an ice cream sundae or a new pair of shoes when you already have too many, this may not be really what you want.)
- Is what I want a thing, a feeling, a gift, a state of being? (HINT: Maybe instead of a sundae or shoes, you really want comfort or nurturing or attention.)
- What would it feel like if you had what you want?
- What difference would having what you want make for you?
- What could you do differently or better if you have what you want?
- What are you willing to do to have more of what you want right now? (HINT: Are you willing to communicate clearly about a boundary? Say "no" when you mean "no"? Take 15 minutes to listen to a guided meditation instead of pouncing on your To Do List?)
Take a few minutes to ask yourself these questions and then choose a SMALL action to do in the next 48 hours to move you closer to what you really want.
It can be as simple as asking, "What do I want now?" and be curious about what comes up or telling your co-worker that "No, I won't do your work for you today", or asking your teenager to do an errand that you don't have time to do.
A small action often demands courage because it is a change in the way you've been doing things before. And other people may not like that change at first.
Here's the truth:
You matter. What you want matters. What you do matters. And how you treat yourself matters.
You are in charge of you. I invite you to take a simple step and acknowledge that you and your desires matter.
Choose an action and do it. Take the step. I believe you can and am taking a step right along with you. I know you'll be happier, healthier, and more prosperous when you include you in the equation of your life.
And celebrate your freedom to be fulfilled!