Every change of season for me, has a mood attached. Fall holds a bit of sadness as the days grow shorter, but fall has also taken on a new meaning for me. It’s an anniversary, or perhaps a celebration of a gift received the first day of fall 2015. This is the day I chose to begin my sabbatical, My Year of No. I celebrate this day because I now see how the choice I made to stop, rest, heal and learn who I am, without associating myself with ‘what I do’ has profoundly impacted how I now walk through the world.
On that first day of fall 2015 an idea came to me to write a manifesto. My manifesto was full of my intention for the year ahead. But as I began writing this, I realized I don’t actually know the official definition of ‘manifesto’. Heck, maybe what I wrote wasn’t a manifesto at all.
When you hear the words ‘human potential’, do you think of Olympic caliber athletes, or someone who has achieved great wealth or perhaps well-known figures who have shaped this world we live in or someone who has managed to harness the full capacity of their mind…such as Einstein?
I learned through a quick google search that the Human Potential Movement (I did not know there was such a thing) was popular from the 1960’s to 1980’s – the very years I grew up in. So perhaps this is the reason why I have had an interest in human behavior dating back to age twelve or so, when I read the book Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. Or maybe it began in my early twenties (also the early 80’s) attending every seminar offered by an organization called Context Training. Or maybe it was sitting in the front row at a Tony Robbin’s seminar back when his events attracted a couple hundred people (these days its thousands).
I had a good laugh at this sentence I read about the Human Potential Movement on RationalWiki, “While mainstream science quickly discredited much of the human-potential movement’s maunderings, many Human-Potential advocates shifted into using a more religious and spiritual tone, and the whole rotten mess was absorbed into the New Age movement of the 1980s…”
The New Age movement – ah, that I remember! I owned various shiny rocks that held powerful energies, I recall meditating under a copper pyramid and I frequented New Age stores and enjoyed (well, not really) daily doses of spirulina!
So why was it then at age 19, I attempted suicide? Why is that I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life struggling with ‘not enough’ syndrome? And why is it that I felt I constantly needed to be striving for more?
My theory is this – the Human Potential Movement was an outward movement that led us to following other people’s ideas for how we should live, behave and who we should be. And even though these ideas may have been great ones, because this movement morphed into the Human Busyness Movement (or perhaps a better name would be the Human Avoidance Movement), we humans never slow down long enough to ask the question, is this for me?
So why not take a moment right now and say to yourself, “Hey [your name], how are you? What’s working in your life? What makes you happy? Are you avoiding something? What’s inspiring you? What’s draining you? What is blocking your full human potential and what is one step you can take today to let your true and authentic light shine?
Back to Spirulina…I followed my High school Commercial Arts teacher. She was beautiful, talented, popular and funny…I wanted to be her. She drank spirulina, so I did too.
Not anymore – now I have a whole lot of fun being me without drinking that nasty green stuff! 😉
Please post your thoughts below! xo
You want to change careers, shift your focus, start your own business, switch things up, scale back, slow down a bit, do something different.
The idea of going at your current pace for another five or ten years (even if you love it) fills you with a sense of dread. And on top of it all, years of ‘busy’ have left you asking yourself “what is it that lights my fire?”
First things first…
#1: Wherever you go, there you are. Your beliefs, thought patterns, habits and behaviors will go with you into your next career creation, next relationship and even the next town. You can’t escape you. So unless the situation you are in is detrimental to your health, hang on…don’t jump ship yet, there are lessons to be learned and there’s a house to tidy up – the house being your emotional landscape.
#2: Take notice of what pushes your buttons, what triggers you, what overwhelms you, what drags you down. Your current situation can be ripe with opportunities to rewire reactive habits. This is a great time to ask for help – hire a therapist, career coach or executive business coach.
#3: You’re busy, but…
A business coach told a friend of mine, “you should only be doing, what only you can do.” Hmm. How are you at asking for what you want, delegating, letting go, not being in control all the time, loosening your grip?
#4: Don’t let the turkeys get you down.
If you want to do something really freeing and liberating, learn how to let the turkeys flutter about without bothering you at all. In other words, don’t let people get under your skin and don’t take things personally. The question to ask? How can I see this differently? The book to read ‘The Dark Side of the Light Chasers’ by Debbie Ford.
#5: Stay out of the what and how.
We humans tend to think we must have it all figured out. It just doesn’t work that way. So, here’s a tip that has helped me tremendously (in addition to tossing my heavily used map out the window) – begin with how you want to feel, not with what you want to do. Trust.
#6: What do you loath, like, love?
Begin a career/life mindfulness practice. Keep a pad on your desk (or use your phone’s note pad) and jot down what you don’t like, what you do like and what you love – the parts of your job that light your fire. What about volunteer outreach you’re involved in – what do you loath, like, love?
#7: What’s your rhythm?
When I sold my nutrition store and stepped out of 35 years of working 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, I had no idea what my personal rhythm was. Today I know that what works best for me is to be ‘on’ moving and grooving and then to step back and rest and rejuvenate. For others, day to day structure is important. What works best for you?
#8: Begin an adventure – without leaving home.
Every morning, before heading out for the day ahead, take a moment to set your intention to discover treasure. The treasure of what makes you tick, what lights your fire, what your zone of genius is and what pearls are needing to be polished.
#9: Do you know how to stop?
I’m not talking about vacation, but every single day. Are you able to carve out time for yourself? Because let me tell you, I couldn’t. Every moment was full of doing something. When I stopped, I felt agitated. When I walked, I walked fast and with purpose. Did you know that small beautiful things grow on the forest floor? I didn’t. I was too busy looking straight ahead walking briskly toward my goal, always mindful of the time and making sure I squeezed in just one more thing.
#10 Launch a thought.
Crazy, but it works. It was 2002, my 13th year working in print media. I was ready for something else and I was clear on two things. #1. It had to be something that helped people. #2. It couldn’t be retail. I launched my thought. Two years later, I became the owner of a nutrition store that helped so many people. I know, I know – it was retail, which leads me to…
#11: You don’t always get what you ask for, but you always get what you need.
I had more lessons to learn. I had yet to learn what I’ve shared here, so the universe compromised – we’ll give you a little, plus the perfect situation for you to learn what you need to learn and then and only then, will you arrive at what you want.
And it goes without saying, that before you take your next step – embrace Sacred Selfishness™. Learn this practice of prioritizing self, unwind from busyness and commit to clearing out what clutters your emotional landscape because, there is no stopping a woman devoted to her own well-being and powered by a well-nourished soul!
Yup. I get it. I had this syndrome something fierce.
I have no scientific data, only ‘Suzy’ data to back this up, but I’m hazarding a guess that ‘one more thing syndrome’ is connected to avoidance, control and programming – at least is was for me.
– Just one more thing before starting that project.
– Just one more thing before heading out the door to that thing you don’t want to go to.
– Just one more thing to calm your nerves.
– Don’t leave any loose ends because loose ends lead to unraveling.
– If I get it all done, if I’m on top of everything, if I do one more thing, I will feel less agitated and I will not fail.
– If I don’t do it now, I might forget (umm, write it down).
– Men have the gift of compartmentalizing. Women have the gift of connecting.
– So in regard to ‘one more thing’ syndrome, women are accessing all compartments of our brains at all times (men have unconnected boxes that open and close).
Having a brain that is so connected can be a bit crazy making as you well know and leads to jumping from one thing to the next thing, to that thing and then over to that other thing…oh wait, “just one more thing and I’m ready to go.”
We’ve programmed our brains to access and search for anything that needs to be done, should be completed, has to be finished, needs to be cared for. This way of thinking has become a habit.
The Cure for ‘One More Thing’ syndrome.
– First step is awareness. Done. I’ve just made you aware!
– Next is to catch yourself and then with conviction say out loud “I’M DONE (or an expletive that rocks your boat).”
Example – I was tidying up the kitchen which is usually a joint effort between my husband and I, but he was outside slinging a sledgehammer into our rock-hard ground. The kitchen is my least favorite place to be (right behind slinging a sledgehammer). I felt my mood sliding, glanced around the kitchen, which wasn’t perfectly tidied and said, “I’m done.”
Did you know it’s okay to not have everything in order?
Even my dog who spends her day curled up next to me, knows the words “I’m done.” She jumps up, I push my chair back, take a deep breath and close the door – figuratively, not literally.
Back to men having the gift of compartmentalizing…ladies take a cue – shut it down, step away, sit on your hands, take a deep breath and move on.
Because, if you don’t, there will always be “one more thing.” Am I right?
If you haven’t watched the 5-minute video, The Tail of Two Brains, by Mike Gungor, you’ve got to! Both illuminating and over-the-top hilarious! Click here to view.
Here’s to doing ‘one less thing’!
(If you liked this, please share and comment below – Thank You!)
When I owned my nutrition store, getting out of town always sent me straight into overwhelm. So, I came up with simple questions to make departing easier, that I thought you might find helpful as well…
~What do I really need NOT to be doing right now?
~What can I let go of?
~What can I simplify?
This week my husband and I are on an annual glamping (camping in comfort) trip to beautiful Cannon Beach Oregon with friends, dogs, kids and loads of sand and unlike years gone past, departure was so much easier than those days when I thought EVERYTHING had to be done before leaving.
My way of simplifying is to share the poem below, that so powerfully describes Sacred Selfishness™, written by Shiloh Sophia the founder of Intentional Creativity®. It’s powerful!