A few weeks ago I received a text on a Saturday. It said, "My colleague really wants to meet you. I told him you have ZERO time, you're super busy, BUT that I'd see if I could help him get on your schedule."
I wrote back. "Actually, I have all the time in the world to meet with him if there's a clear intention and purpose for the meeting. What's the intention?"
Last week, I had a client tell me they assumed I'd be too "busy" to come lead another session for them. They were super "busy" themselves, and they knew I was wrapping the book, so they assumed I was too busy and didn't ask. BUMMER. I would have loved to. (AND, I had plenty of space and bandwidth to do it.)
This is becoming a fairly common occurrence for me, especially in this last year. It's been interesting to observe. First I had to check myself, was I saying anything or showing up in a way that projected the "energy of busy"? Or was I just on purpose, doing focused work (and not available for things that didn't line up with that focus), being super intentional with my time, and therefore people assumed I was busy?
I landed on the latter.
There are two factors at play here: creating space and staying clear.
Creating Space: I put a hold on "new promises" for December (2018) and Q1 (of this year) while I wrote the new book. This was very intentional. I wanted to give myself the gift of focus and putting everything I had into it. So I created the space. I committed to write the best book I could, fulfill and show up full-heartedly on previously-booked engagements and client agreements, be a good mom, and say "no" to anything "new" for one quarter.
This meant saying, "no thank you, later" to a couple of cool opportunities. It meant letting people down sometimes (I wasn't very much fun socially). And it meant getting extra good at listening to myself and honoring that inner voice that says "look! shiny!" and "this is off path, get back on."
It also meant that the book was better. And, it made ME better. I got so clear and intentional with my time that I found I was triply productive AND felt more spacious than ever. Even though there was a lot going on. This experience and quality of space was so valuable for me that when I finished the book, I decided to keep the practices and habits I'd adopted while writing it. This decision led me to the second thing.
Staying Clear: While I used to be "busier" (or "richly scheduled" as I like to call it), this year I made BIG decisions to clear my space of anything that felt heavy or not productive. I decided to focus in on quality vs. quantity, to take even better care of myself, to do the best work of my life (while feeling great), and to hold "being of service" and an awesome mom/human as my greatest intention. Period. This intention helped me stay clear. Anything that distracted from these intentions: wasting time, non-life-giving activities and relationships, trying to "prove" this work or "get" anyone to do it, dealing with any kind of (chronic) drama, "should" social media, and more -- went buh bye. Fast.
This decision also meant saying "no" to things, protecting my schedule more diligently, restructuring our team and infrastructure, cutting a program that was taking us (and my energy) off path, and opting out of relationships or dynamics that felt unhealthy. It was amazing to me to see how quickly the energy leaks in my life started to clear out, once I was super clear.
So today, when I get a text or a communication saying "you're so busy" -- I'm not. I'm just really clear. And I like my intentional space where I can serve best. While life is full, I have plenty of space for the right things.
Deciding how to spend your time so you are energized, able to serve at your best, and therefore, not "busy."
This experience has helped me get even more connected to my intentions for impact and where and how I feel most energized, best used, and most in service of, which has made me even more discerning in how I spend my time and energy.
How do I decide to spend it?
- being the best human, mom, friend, sister, colleague, advisor, dog rescuer, daughter -- you name it -- I can be (without compromising my well-being)
- doing the things I know that support me in #1 (and the rest of this list): self-care, exercise, "staying in my own lane" (minding my business), holding boundaries, doing meaningful work, having fun, play, support, connection, sleep ;-)
- writing and creating content that serves YOU (to support your impact and well-being)
- speaking on stages to connect with as many humans as possible (mass impact, intimate tone) to serve YOU
- teaching this content (via our private and public sessions) so YOU, and your organization, have the live experience of it and become even more powerfully and positively contagious, effective, and happy together. (And then create more positive impact in the world.)
- working with a small handful of leaders privately who are up to big things, have a lot of impact and responsibility, and want to go further, fuller, and deeper so YOU can do the best work of your life (AND feel awesome doing so -- no burnout).
- providing conversations, tools, and resources YOU can use on your own, without ever even meeting me, so you can integrate the IEP work into your own life and organization (ie. the IEP-Activator Toolkit, our free resources that you receive when opting in on this blog, our online school and programs, our list of articles and podcasts I've done on this work, and more).
Ultimately, my intention at the end of the day, is to be kind and to serve. And in order to be kind and serve, I can't be "busy." I can, however, be absolutely full-heartedly on purpose. This process this last year helped me see how that works for me now. And that's why I'm bringing it to you.
I share this with you for three reasons:
- Inquiry Possibilities for your own Leadership: Do you project busy? Are you busy? And if you are, do you want to clean it up? Where do you make assumptions about others and their busyness? Where is "busy" an easy default? What is the impact "busy" has on your impact and leadership? And where is this all at play in your life?
- Clarity Breadcrumbs to help you Refine: I hope that my experience of this process and sharing my list of YES gives you some breadcrumbs to create your own clarity. For example, what ARE you a "YES" to? What are you a "NO" to? What are you DEVOTED to? This cleans up busy FAST. (Warning: It may tick some people off.)
- Service, from Me to You: For real, if you want to do intentional high quality work together (privately 1:1, with your team/organization in a CONTAGIOUS CULTURE or new CONTAGIOUS YOU session, or have me speak to your people) to make this kind of thinking and clarity real in your own life/org, I am superbly available (especially now before the book drops in November). Just ask. Send me a note. I'd love to help.
Thanks for being here.
To clear space, intention, doing the best work of our lives together, to feeling good and spacious throughout, and to impact...
BIG love, BIG impact, BE kind,