In the last few weeks, my health took a nosedive.
It all started with what I thought was a good ‘ol fashion cold which lasted 5 days. Then, because my immune systems had already taken a bit of a beating, I developed a severe middle ear infection that resulted in almost 10 full days of a fever.
As I took my antibiotics, things kept going up and down. Some days I had a fever all day, and other days I would think I was getting better.
I literally lived in my bed for over 2 weeks. It was brutal.
To be honest it was scary at times, because the fever persisted even though the infection was gone. And, to be ill without knowing what the hell was going on in a foreign country (even as beautiful as Bali) can be unnerving.
Needless to say, I haven’t been able to do much in the last few weeks when it came to my business.
Today is the first day I feel like a normal human.
My first instinct was to get my ass to my home office and catch up on the emails and projects I felt I was so behind on.
I felt super guilty seeing all the unanswered emails and requests in my inbox. I honestly almost felt like I needed to punish myself this weekend to ‘make up’ for all the time I took off.
However, once my monkey mind decided to shut the f*ck up, what felt right to do today (on a beautiful tropical Sunday), was to get back to writing again.
To share something more important with you today.
To share what I experienced when I was forced to slow down. To take my foot off the pedal. To surrender to taking care of myself without the self imposed pressure of ‘maintaining’ my business when I was ill.
As many of you know, I have a long history with being a perfectionist and a Type-A personality. Seeing things pile up and witnessing failed expectations are like nails on a chalkboard for me.
Though being ill is no fun, it helped me to gain some fresh perspective of why it’s so important for us to slow down.
This is what I learned.
Hi, I’m Lydia!
My job is to help you create meaningful work and a life that’s deeply fulfilling
Slowing down gives us the space to see things clearly
You know when your life gets so damn busy and hectic that everything just feels important?
And then you go into full blown hustle mode to tackle all the things, and usually end up getting overwhelmed with your mental wellness taking a toll?
It can be hard to gain perspective on what’s important, when our time, energy, and focus are being consumed by DOING all the time.
There’s no space to catch a breath and reflect. And certainly no space to question whether all the things that’s keeping us so busy, are truly important to us.
When my 2 weeks in bed were filled with reading my Kindle, resting, and spending some alone time with myself, the busy-ness in my head received some space.
And in that space, it allowed me to start thinking about the future without the pressure of an agenda for the day.
It allowed me to see things for what they truly are.
Anxious actions fueled by fear, or inspired action fueled by
an empowered vision.
We all know the difference between the two. You can feel it.
I started to notice that a lot of weight I put on where things were lacking in my business or in my life were, in reality, not as detrimental as I once felt.
When I actually slowed down, I realized there has already been so much insight to what I now want in the next phase of my work and lifestyle. There was no need to re-hash the past or ‘fix things’.
And the easiest way was to move on towards the next chapter that’s going to be exciting and inspiring for me to pursue.
Have you been experiencing the ‘busy-ness’ in your life where you may feel suffocated by doing all the things?
How can you simply decide to slow it down, take that necessary pause, and gain some fresh perspective over the big questions you have with your life?
Slowing down drives us to focus on the right things
One of the most magical effects of slowing down for me was experiencing how ‘less’ is a good thing.
When I was bedridden for over 2 weeks, I had about 2 hours every other day to deal with one or two most urgent things in my business.
This constraint of 2 hours forced me to be clear about what REALLY matters for my goals, and made me prioritize the most important tasks to do.
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It’s similiar to going into a corporate office every day.
If you’re told you have to stay 8 hours each day, you somehow spread your work to fit 8 hours, don’t you?
But let’s say your boss tells you that you can leave anytime if you are able to get your work done. All of a sudden, I’ll bet some motivation comes out of nowhere and you start to ship out work faster so that you can spend time at the beach.
The power of constraints helps us to create boundaries for our time and energy.
This type of focus actually gets us to our goals a hell of a lot faster than doing 10-20 things at the same time (even though this is going to FEEL productive, it isn’t).
As I laid in bed in those 2 weeks, the boundaries I had to set for the 2 hours every other day to be able to work had to be fully focused on the most important things.
It ended up being podcast and press pitches for 2 hours one day (because live interviews have always been my best visibility strategy), and the other day of 2 hours spent on following up with high end private retreat and coaching clients (because I needed to keep my income flow going, and this was the highest return on my time and effort).
The result of working 2 hours every other day?
The right constraint can help you find your focus and achieve your goals faster.
Most importantly, it decreases your chances of being distracted with ‘nice to do’s’ vs. ‘most important to do’s’.
How can the power of constraints help support you to focus on the right things for your goals?
Could you experiment with shortening your hours for your business building project so it forces you to pick one or two things to pay attention to?
Could you simply decide on one idea to double down on and eliminate other tasks so that you can really see things through with the highest quality of your work?
Could you shut off 2 out of 3 social media platforms so you can focus on the best one that lets you share creatively, and build your visibility for your passion project in the most powerful way in just ONE platform?
I think you’ll be surprised how much you may accomplish towards your goals when you create these boundaries of positive constraints.
Get comfortable with the mindset of ‘less is a good thing’
In my last blog post, I talked about how minimalism helped me to gain lifestyle freedom faster than I imagined.
Living with less doesn’t mean scarcity.
In fact, it’s the opposite.
It’s living abundantly with the right things that are really important to you.
When we understand what’s really ‘enough’ to live a good life, or set healthy expectations of what we can accomplish in a new business for example, we are released from self imposed pressures we set for ourselves.
We learn to stay in our own lane.
We stop comparing ourselves to other people’s version of success.
We confidently know and accept what WE want.
What feels right for our own happiness, wellbeing, and how we want to define success on our terms.
Slowing down the hustle, taking that important pause, can help you recalibrate what all this is for, and ‘what’s really important to you’ vs. ‘what I think people will think is important for me to do’.
I certainly am grateful for my forced slow down mode from my illness, and will try to remember not to wait till I’m bedridden again to make this into a practice.
This applies to you if you are doing all the things to launch a business, or trapped in a 9-5 lifestyle you want to get off the treadmill from.
The magical effect of slowing down may bring you more insights and self awareness than all the busy-ness of doing.
I hope you try it 🙂
PS: If you’ve come all the way down here, thank you for reading. I would love to hear what resonated with you, and it makes me happy when you share.
Do leave me a comment below and say hello.
PPS: I’ve received so many touching emails from this community worrying about my health. I’m out of bed and feeling like myself again – I’m so grateful for your love and thoughts 🙂
Til next time,