Can you believe that it's time for school to start? Where did the summer go?! I have to admit that I love the transition to fall, as it is my favorite season. In reflecting back over the summer, I notice that I have successfully created more space for those things that matter most to me: family, fitness, and travel. However, it hasn’t been easy. But this summer I’ve been very intentional about doing things differently. Because I’ve had to.
My decades of saying yes took its toll: I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. In a nutshell, this means that I have too much stress. So I had to make some choices to replace “more” with “better.” I am blessed to have an incredibly successful business, and I’ve built a strong and dedicated team to help me. They have been instrumental in helping me redefine my time and restructure my calendar. How? Here are a few things that have helped me, and I hope might help some of you with the same tendency to fill every moment of the day:
1. Take control of your calendar.
We all have the ability to choose
what we want to do with our time. Why not fill your calendar with those things first? That's what I have been working incredibly hard to do. There were so many meetings on my calendar that could have been taken care of via email or online collaboration. I started using the following questions as a litmus test: Is this something that I am passionate about? Is there another way to accomplish what needs to be done other than a meeting? By answering these two questions before making additions to my calendar, I've been able to create space in my calendar.
2. Determine what's essential for you.
You may already know, but this is one of the hardest questions for many people to answer. Many of you have heard me discuss my intention to create more white space in 2015. This is essential for me, and why my questions above are so important when making decisions about what to prioritize. Once you know what is most essential, fill your calendar with those items first
. The time that remains is for anything else you choose to do.
3. Say NO to everything else.
"Gasp!! I can't say no!" Yes you can! Saying “NO” to the non-essential creates the space necessary to say “YES” to the opportunities that will create abundance in your life. I was afraid to say no, but it has allowed me take control of my time and focus on what is essential to me...do you see how this all works together? Here is something important to remember...you don't need a reason to say no but you do need a reason to say yes! So, if it’s not an enthusiastic yes, then it’s a “hell no.”
These may seem like simple actions, but they're not. I am proof of that. It took a lot of reflection on my professional and personal life to determine what is essential and then a lot of discipline (and hard decisions!) to honor those things. I have had to undo decades of habits. If I continued to say yes to everything, I wouldn't have time for my family, meaningful work, or the things that give me personal joy. Worse, my body would continue to send me increasing signals to slow down.
So I ask you, as we enter the fall season, how can you replace more with better? What is essential to you? Where do you need to make “no” the default?
If you are intrigued and want to learn more, join me on Thursday, September 17 at the DreamBank for Create Abundance by Doing Less
where we will be working on answering these questions. The session is currently full, but you can be put on a wait list if more spots open up.