How I missed the picture (personal story)

Today, I’m departing from the types of topics I usually write about to dive into more of the “inner “ side to building a business.

While many people speak to the importance of enjoying the journey towards your destination, today we’re going to talk about the destination.

If you’re like me, you’ve painted a picture about how you want your life and your business to be.

I’ve written out my vision countless times over the last few years.  One of the recurring desires that’s come up in the last three or four visioning exercises I’ve done is wanting to spend more time with my daughters.

Then a funny thing happened.

When my older daughter started first grade at end of August, I decided I was going to be the one to get her ready for school in the morning and walk her to school. I decided that I would pause my work day and walk to pick her up from school most days of the week. I also switched places with my husband and started reading to her before bed every night.

Once I made these changes in our routine, I loved it.  It felt right.

Despite being sleep deprived, it was really special to get up at 6am and have some quiet alone time with my daughter.  I loved walking with her to and from school.  It meant I got extra movement and fresh air, but more importantly, it was also a great time for fun conversation with my daughter. (She’s especially chatty when we’re walking.)

And reading to her before bed was the perfect way to wind down from the day and get some snuggle time.

But while I was enjoying all of this, I was overwhelmed with guilt.

The voice in my head was yelling “you’re not working enough!”  It was yelling “You didn’t get enough done today!”

I spent weeks feeling like I was failing.

I was in a fairly constant state of tension.  I wanted to continue making time for my daughters, but I also wanted to make sure I was working enough…whatever that means!

But then something shifted.

I realized that I was so focused on the guilt of “not working enough,” that it was impossible for me to see that I had actually arrived at my destination.

I had arrived at a place where I could work less.

I could start working later in the morning.

I could step away from my desk for an hour in the middle of the afternoon.

I was able to spend more time with my both of my daughters, while running a successful business that I love.

I couldn’t see that I had arrived, because the new sense of normal felt uncomfortable. It felt uncomfortable simply because it was new and different.  It didn’t feel the way I thought it would – all perfect and tidy.

I couldn’t see that I had arrived, because I was focused on what I was lacking. In this case, I didn’t have eight hour work days, like I was accustomed to.

I couldn’t see that I had arrived, because I was more focused on where I wanted to go NEXT.  It’s natural that when we reach an achievement that we immediately set the bar higher.  Continuing to raise the bar is a good thing.  It’s part of how we grow and evolve – and how our businesses grow and evolve.

The real shame is that I wasn’t able to enjoy being at the place I had strived for. I couldn’t feel it in my body.

I’m sharing this personal story with you, because I know how easy it is, when you’re building a business, to naturally focus on what isn’t working or how you’re not where you want to be.

Exercise for you…

Close your eyes, take a step back for a moment and think back to where you were two years ago.

What was your vision for where you wanted to be, both personally and professionally?

Now think about where are you today.

I have a feeling you’re going to realize that you’ve come farther than you think.

One note of caution: Don’t use this as an exercise to beat yourself up.  Use this exercise to tap into how far you’ve come and how good life is.

The last, but most important part of this exercise:  I want you to breathe it in.  I want you to FEEL it in your heart and your body.  I want you to be able to go through your day able to embody and enjoy where you’re at right now.

I’m sure, over the last two years, you’ve continually set the bar higher. You have new goals you want to reach and changes you want to make in your life.  That’s great. I don’t want you to stop reaching for the stars.  At the same time, I don’t want you to miss that you landed on the moon.

I’d love to hear from you.
In this week, when we focus on giving thanks, take a moment to feel gratitude towards yourself and reaching (or taking a baby step towards) your destination.   Below, please share something that was part of the vision for your future that has become a reality.

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