After being on a roll with a biweekly cadence, it’s been almost 4 months since I last posted on my blog. Even though I didn’t say anything about it, that was a conscious decision. I love to write and this avenue of communication is important to me. But for the last 4 months, it wasn’t essential, so I let it go.
This clear choice was inspired by one of the most impactful books I read in 2021: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown. The title says it all. After several decades of the disciplined pursuit, this book helped me marry the goal achieving technique of The 12-Week Year (my most impactful book of 2020) with the soul-saving act of making clear choices around what really matters at any one particular time.
Why are so many people so tired? Why is burnout so pervasive? Yes, there are very real systemic and societal issues contributing to this—the most clear example of course is parenting in North America. I won’t get into the weeds here, but the lack of systemic support in this endeavor, particularly in the USA, is the primary reason I feel no regrets at not becoming a mother in this lifetime. Yet, those of us that aren’t parents also experience immense degrees of exhaustion, pressure, burnout, and a persistent nagging dissatisfaction with all the doing.
What I’ve discovered, and continue to explore, is that for me personally, and perhaps for you too, the key is having the ability, and taking the time to consider, what really matters to you in this particular period of time in your life? This is not a question that can be answered once and applied forever. Life happens in seasons, and what is essential in one season might be radically different the next. It’s important to take deliberate time to evaluate where you are expending your energy, and make conscious choices around what will occupy your time, and what will not. Period.
In late August, I plunged into a goal that had been on my bucket list for some time—to complete a life coach certification course at an inspiring institution led by wise and admirable teachers. This may seem odd as I’ve been coaching for several years. I’ve worked with incredible mentors and taken valuable courses. However, I wanted that official certification. I did the research, I found my spot, and I went for it.
The program was 14-weeks long, and a couple other major events were taking place over this time. I started leading a new team at work, and I was planning a move. I decided those three things—school, work, and moving—were my essentials until the end of the year. This meant there were some difficult no’s along the way. I didn’t have much social time with friends. I even said no to an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii (!!!) for a work-related event. That was a tough one indeed. But I know myself, and I knew that squeezing in that trip in the midst of everything might feel good for a blip of time, but would have long-lasting ramifications. So I stuck with what was essential and said no.
It is now almost the end of December and I can happily report that the transition at work was a smashing success, I’m pleasantly situated in a beautiful new apartment, and I am a proud graduate of The Leadership and Transformative Life Coach Certification Course at Sofia University. I will also say that those three things together was still a lot! Moving in the midst of school and full-time work was a bit much, but I have no regrets about it. Just making a mental note for the future.
I plan to rest and regroup over the holidays, and spend some time considering Q1 and what is essential to me over that time. I plan to be kind and loving to myself, and to ensure that one of those essentials involves some form of elevated self-care (I foresee massages in my future).
What really matters to you right now? If you have to narrow it down to 5 things, what are they? If you then have to pick 3 of those 5, what would stay and would go? If you feel like sharing in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!