When did it become popular to strive for sleepless nights and burnt-out days as a badge for being successful? I’ve often questioned if it’s even possible for me to achieve a goal that’s not motivated and driven by stress!
I’ve always struggled with the feeling that if I’m not doing 1000 things that are useful with my time then I’m failing; that I’m better off predicting my future than going to bed at a decent hour; that if I have trouble sleeping it means I didn’t do enough that day and I need to get up and do more. Sometimes I feel like I’m competing with everyone around me to be the busiest… and then it hits me- why am I striving to be busy?!?!
I’m starting to think that it’s okay to get some sleep and manage my stress and still be successful. I’m starting to think that I can earn my success and enjoy myself too. I’m slowly coming to terms with my need to be busy to feel like I’m achieving something worthwhile. In this slow and ongoing realization I have stumbled upon three life lessons that I have completely ignored, but I’m done with ignoring them now. I want to share with you the lessons I’m learning and how they’ve changed my outlook immeasurably:
Lesson 1: Cherish the journey
My mom has been telling me to do this for 20 years but I’ve had a lot of trouble hearing it. She even made me a t-shirt with the saying written on the front when I was freaking out about naturopathic medical school! If that’s not obvious ignorance then I don’t know what is. I’m always so focused on the end goal and rushing to get there, that I don’t notice the individual steps I take to achieve the goal. I truly have no recollection of anything that has happened in my life besides the ending of everything! Since I’ve started switching my focus to the journey instead of the conclusion, I’m finding I’m enjoying the process so much more. I’m even starting to appreciate the mistakes I make. Can you believe that? When I wasn’t cherishing the journey, every mistake I made just took me that much further away from the end goal. But now when I cherish the journey, I learn from every mistake I make and somehow it makes the end goal that much better.
Lesson 2: Comparing yourself to others is poisonous
If you’re only focused on big accomplishments and achieving success that other people can see, then you’re still preoccupied by the end goal and not the journey. In a world where our self-worth comes from likes, shares, and views it’s just way too easy to compare yourself to others. I mean you don’t even have to ask if people like you, it’s represented in thumbs! If you take the first lesson to heart and enjoy the ups and downs of your journey, then there’s no comparing yourself to others because your journey is completely unique. It has never been walked before! Next time you feel down about yourself because someone is doing it better than you, remember that no one can do what you’re supposed to do, in the way that you do it, but you!
Lesson 3: Put your mind at ease
Impossible right? I often let my restless thoughts control everything that I do. I have this habit where I twirl my hair incessantly as a way of getting a hold of my thoughts, it never really works but I do it all of the time. Instead of giving in to my nervous thinking, my new lesson is to do whatever it takes to put my mind at ease. When I can’t sleep at night and everything I have to do is racing through my head, instead of letting it force me out of bed I try to breathe. I breathe and I picture a place that makes me feel calm. During the day when I’m feeling so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to begin, instead of re-writing my to-do list a million times I do a few yoga poses and have a cup of tea to put my mind at ease. I can’t get anything done when I’m burnt-out and I’m slowly learning that being burnt-out is not to be admired. Peace of mind is to be admired.
Sometimes I lose focus of the lessons I’ve been trying to learn, but the more I remind myself of them (like writing this blog) the easier they come to me. I still forget to cherish the journey, I still compare myself to people who seemingly have it all together, and I still go to bed way too late but it’s all part of the process and I’m recognizing that every day. I hope this blog can give you the insight to slowly recognize these things too.