The cool, soft early morning air wafted in through the tent and caressed my face. The sun warmed my skin, as I looked up through the open tent flap, to the blue sky and white cotton wool clouds.
A bellbird and native Tui created a beautiful choral chorus that was deserving of a standing ovation. I stretched out in my sleeping bag after a restful night’s sleep and thought about what I was grateful for and smiled.
I got up and stretched, blissfully relaxed and in no hurry to go anywhere. While eating my porridge at an outside picnic table, I spent time thinking about the limestone arches I wanted to see, and the walks I could go on to experience the natural beauty of Karamea.
I was refreshed, energized, relaxed and happy. I opened my computer and sat out on a chair in the sunshine by an old red phone box. I connected to the internet in the holiday park just in time to introduce my friend who was hosting a webinar to my community.
I answered some important emails, checked on my digital product sales, updated my social networks and scheduled out a blog post I’d written. Then I logged off, less than 2 hours later and set off on my hike.
What exactly is going on here?
After an entire year of working my ass off, of creating and producing and launching new products and programs and initiatives I had a new perspective. I was the master of my own destiny. I could create my own systems to create the maximum amount of goodness in my world, and that of others, in the minimum amount of time. It was entirely up to me, all I had to do was shift my mindset and make it a reality.
After continually working for hours on end, in the early morning, late at night and on one too many weekends, I realized the error in my ways. As much as I like to think I’m organized, productive, creative and focused, I have not been managing the processes in my life.
I was making more but not working less. I was flying through my day, managing minor issues as they came up and reacting to everything as quickly as I could, instead of getting perspective and prioritizing what was important and what wasn’t.
It struck me when, on more than one occasion, friends and clients would say `Look I know you’re really really busy but could you just…”.
Why was I so busy? Was being `busy’ a great state to be in or did it just mean I was disorganized? Was I just being busy for the sake of being busy and feeling like I was `doing stuff’?
I had a community that counted on me, that I wanted to inspire through my own actions of creating freedom in business and adventure in life.
I had emails to answer, questions to respond to, guest blog posts to write, opportunities to say yes to, partners to work, books to review with, videos to produce, podcasts interviews to conduct…… I am tired just writing about it.
And while I’m proud of what I’ve achieved this year, and the countries I’ve travelled to and the experiences I’ve had, and the business that I’ve grown, it’s not been how I envisioned it. Too much hard work in reality and not enough fun – well not enough for my liking!
I’ve had too many moment of being stressed out, feeling overwhelmed and taking on far too much in a timeframe that not even superwoman could manage.
Change how you work and change your life
Yet there have been several times during the year where I’ve achieved a state of flow. It’s been beautiful. I’ve written blog posts that have just flowed from my heart and head. I’ve run coaching sessions with clients where they walk away feeling focused and empowered and I feel so happy to have made a difference.
I’ve answered all my emails in the most efficient and effective way and in no time at all. I’ve created a piece of brilliant content for a product program. I’ve connected with fantastic people on Twitter and Facebook who are living a life of travel and adventure and I’ve launched an amazing mastermind with a truly awesome lady and raised $1500 to support OneGirl.
When this state of flow happened I had a strong sense of purpose and I was focused. I had goals to meet and tactics to achieve them.
“Any goal worthy of forming a life around will likely involve a determined focus. To keep the focus, it helps to turn the goal into a series of manageable actions as you go along, with stepping stones of accomplishment you can enjoy along the way.“~ Chris Guillebeau, The Tower Manifesto
Why couldn’t it always be this way? Why can’t you always feel like your in control of your life, like you’re working towards the legacy you’ve created, that you are prioritizing?
To read more on getting into a state of flow, read this article: How to Get into a State of Flow like Niagara Falls and Be Way More Productive.
You’re Free to Choose Freedom
It’s as simple as saying no and yes. Let me explain. Say yes to the life you have always talked about having. The one you continue to write on your list of things to achieve every single New Year. The one you have visualized in your painted picture or vision board.
Say no to the things that just don’t matter. It was only after I spent a whole day driving and sightseeing, and enjoying myself, my thoughts and the beauty of my surroundings, that I realized how lucky I am to be alive in this world.
I also realized that 10 hour days in front of my laptop were a complete waste if I was missing out on actually living. No amount of connecting online can make up for connecting in person in the real world. I no longer need to be`that connected’. Disconnecting can actually make you more connected, as I wrote on Jonathan Field’s blog.
Life goes on without me, and you, if we don’t check in on Facebook or Twitter or our never-ending emails. One status update does not a legacy make!
What’s more, it makes perfect sense. I’ve realized that now I am packing my entire day’s work into 1-4 hours, and I am so much more efficient. I only do the work that matters and is necessary.
It shouldn’t take a holiday to make you think like this everyday. In ‘Work The System – The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less‘ by Sam Carpenter, he suggests we ask the question:
What exactly is going on here?
Carry that question around with you everywhere. By dispassionately dealing with stone-cold reality, the odds of getting what you want are infinitely higher than waiting for a horoscope or tarot card to predict a prosperous future, or a multi-million dollar lottery winning to land in your lap.
“Be mechanical. Can you imagine how you will feel as you watch yourself get a grip on life and create what you want due to your own actions, not because of improbable fate, magic or dumb luck.” ~ Sam Carpenter.
Imagine waking up in the morning with an immediate focus on what is most important for the day ahead. The day’s tasks will be one-time, creative efforts, each aimed at carrying you closer to the objectives and goals you’ve set yourself.
So, what one action are you going to take today to build the business and life you’ve always wanted?
What one thing are you going to say no to in favour of creating some time out for you that leaves you energized and fulfilled?