My clients are my greatest teachers. Here are some of the invaluable lessons they have taught me this week and all before Wednesday coffee break.
One of my mentors once taught me the expression “delay is increasingly expensive” and he was right. But expressions like that can just as easily be countered by other circumstances.
I spoke to a woman I’ve known for four years who is starting to create a business she’s had in her heart for far longer. And although you could apply that phrase to these circumstances, I am not. I am just delighted that now seems like the right time to her to go for it, to start doing what she has always known she would love.
Strange circumstances both real and imagined conspire to persuade us we can’t start now to do what we love. Our job is to find a way anyway, to give the lie to that nonsense or put it under the microscope to see if that’s right. You might ask yourself the Byron Katie questions:
1. Is that true?
2. Is that absolutely true?
Other lessons came from two women who are becoming increasingly aware of their propensity to keep heaping more stuff to do on their own backs by being either nice, or busy, or habitually high-achieving. We get a nasty feeling of overwhelm that there is always so much to do, when in reality we may have created it. We have a feeling that it is better to keep busy and to keep moving but it can become empty and exhausting.
There are times to say yes to the requests of others, but not always. There are times to take on special projects of our own which will add to our workload and reward us with a sense of enjoying a busy and fruitful day or week or month or year, but not always.
Let us remember our opportunity is to receive invitations and opportunities to take part in stuff like that and then buy some time to give them due consideration, especially how they will fit in with existing commitments and/or our desire for more time in our lives spent doing less or very little, our desire to create space and meaning.
I told one client about another I knew. I said it rather in hushed tones because the story was somewhat shocking to me. I told her about a woman who several years ago had just stopped doing emails whereas I have to be at inbox zero every night before bedtime. I felt some envy of the first woman. My client said she had pretty much done the same thing a year ago and the sky hadn’t fallen in. All important messages had still found their way to her, and if they had not then they simply were not meant to be.
If we can make a step change like that, then we can do anything. We can do what we love and stop doing anything which doesn’t bring us joy, although I know full well that even things we love have a little bit of hard or difficult or unpleasant attached. Our choice then is to find another way of getting those bits taken care of if they need doing at all.
I have a creeping desire right now (or it might be an intuitive nudge) to stop marketing altogether though probably not this newsletter because… guess what? I LOVE it whether or not it comes out on the right date! I love creating it for you.
My final lesson for today came from a conversation with a client who was making up her mind about something she COULD do, alongside all the other things which are important to her and the work and personal things which are flourishing. Would this thing reduce her quality of life? Would it overwhelm her, or involve things she didn’t want to do or people she didn’t want to be beholden to? And while we were at it, what about X, Y and Z?
As luck would have it, I had a copy of my own book at my elbow as I reminded her that it was her business and she could do it her way, do it differently, do what she loved or not at all. If you can’t find a way to create it which you would love, then don’t do it. We don’t have to, no-one’s got us in an arm lock despite appearances at times.
We can do anything we want to stop wasting our time with mind-numbing chores or whatever, just because we’ve always done them.
I don’t feel any sense of regret about having wasted time in my life, but I also recognise that I don’t have to go on using it and spending it without increasing thoughtfulness about how to invest my most precious resource, my time, into the things and people that love.
Now, idling away time pleasantly is another thing altogether and carries no risk to me of waste.
How could you love what you do even more?