While I’m attending the Midwest Regional Coaches Conference in Pittsburgh this week, I’ve taken some time to reflect and open myself to new possibilities. So I’m going with my gut for now and sharing with you some personal challenges and life events that have influenced me greatly over the last 6-8 months. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something inspiring, so here goes…..
Many of you may know I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer last November. The good news is that I’m done with all of my treatments and the prognosis is excellent. My doctor says that my risk of reoccurrence is the same as any woman in the general population.
This event in my life gave me a huge PAUSE. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. Suddenly I was asking myself what is most important, what do I eliminate, and what do I embrace? I’m pretty quick to perform all of the research to understand my health situation, develop a plan and get down to executing it as efficiently as possible. That part was easy. Deciding how to reorganize my life was not. I was going to have to say no to some things and disappoint some people.
First: How am I using my time?
The first thing I did was to look at my calendar. I needed to understand where I was designating my precious time.
1. Many work projects
2. Writing newsletter and blog posts
3. Board position ending in December
4. Board position (just started in June 2017)
5. President Board position (in the 6thyear)
9. Extended family
Although the list didn’t seem long with all work projects lumped into one category, I noticed there were things missing which I wished were on the list.
Second: What’s Missing List
1. Time with parents and family
2. Attending live musicals for which we already had tickets (we’d been missing them)
3. Slowing down and meditating, generating more peace in my life
4. Reading books
5. Spending time with friends
6. Getting involved in my community
I realized that I hadn’t been making the time for many things, which were important to me. I guess I assumed I’d get around to it eventually, but I wasn’t being intentional about it.
Once I had my lists compiled, I looked for what brought me joy, what was fun, what caused me stress and what things I was doing out of obligation. That was eye opening! I quickly decided to resign from three boards (2 were causing me stress and 1 was out of obligation). This allowed me to open up a lot more time for new things. Some of the time would be utilized for doctor’s appointments, treatments and recovery temporarily. But I was excited about the possibility of how I could use this new time in the future.
In parallel, I wanted to embrace some extreme self-care for myself, increase time spent with family, and accept only new work projects that really excited me. Why hadn’t I done this before? This was brilliant!
Was it tough to disappoint people and tell them I could no longer fulfill a commitment I made previously? Sure. But it was necessary in order to put myself first, and enable me to continue being the best person I could be.
I also had the realization that I’d been stepping on the accelerator for far too long in my life. It was time to slow down. What was I racing to anyway?
So where am I now?
I’ll admit that I’m playing a little ‘catch up’ with my work because I had to take some time off in the first 3 months of the year. Because I have so much more free time due to the board resignations, I’ve been able to adjust for this fairly easily and even more time should be freed up in July. I still find myself pushing the accelerator at times and have to remind myself to slow it down (it’s so hard to break habits) but I keep trying. I’m celebrating the family time I’ve spent this month:
- attending my daughter’s show (she’s in a band called Saviore Adore in NYC),
- taking my 15 year old niece to NYC for a long weekend, and
- spending time with coach friends at the coaching conference.
- In addition, I’ll be traveling with my family and parents to Alaska in July to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday.
I know it’s going to be hard not to fall into old habits and hit the accelerator again. Change is never quick and easy, like a light switch we can just shut off. I think of it more as a dimmer switch that needs to be adjusted every now and again. I encourage you to take a look at your accelerator level, and your dimmer switch to make sure they are where you want them to be at this point in your life. If this exercise appeals to you, ask yourself these three questions:
What brings you joy?
What do you need to let go of?
What do you want to embrace?