A couple of years ago when I had adrenal fatigue, a good friend of mine gave me some sage advice: “Give yourself more breathing room than you think you need.” As soon as I healed my adrenal fatigue, I promptly forgot her words of wisdom.
As I ended my Spring and Summer semesters sick and exhausted a few weeks ago, I saw her quote I had printed out and put on my wall 2 years ago. It has become my mantra once again: Give yourself more breathing room than you think you need.
More importantly, I’ve been trying to figure out why I keep forgetting to give myself breathing room. I think it comes down to this: I, like many, at some level define my sense of self-worth by my accomplishments. To be successful, I was taught, you have to work hard, skip vacation days, and work some more. That’s how you succeed in life. There’s a fundamental flaw in that logic though: if you run yourself ragged 24-7, 365 days a year, you may accomplish things, but you will also likely burn yourself out.
I recently read a blog post by my friend and fellow Everyday Goddess Jodi Chapman about success. In it, Jodi discusses how her current definition of success has more to do with how she feels (e.g., happy, calm) and how she prioritizes her time doing things she loves (traveling, spending quality time with loved ones, etc.) than more tradition financial- or promotion-based definitions of success.
Her words inspired me to think about my own definition of success. I, too, got caught up in defining success through accolades, promotions, and financial gains. But that hasn’t made me happy. It’s left me exhausted.
When I finished my semester, my friend Paula texted me: You need to get back to you. She’s right. I do need to get back to me. Moreover, I need to figure out what I want.
As I write this, it is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the perfect day to really reflect on how my year is going. I plan to spend the afternoon revisiting the intentions I set for myself in January, to first determine if these goals and aspirations still even apply, and then to ascertain where I am in the process. But using Jodi’s definition of success as a new guidepost, I plan to also set some intentions for the rest of the year – not productivity goals, per se, but rather, aspirations focused on feeling and intention.
Let me explain. I was watching the opening session of Woman Unleashed Season 4 with Amber Bonnici and she said something that really resonated with me. She asked us to set our intention for the retreat as to how we want to feel as we go on this retreat together. I think this is a wonderful idea and that we should set not just our intentions for Women Unleashed 4, but for our lives each day.
Danielle LaPorte talks about how she sets her New Year's Resolutions. She decides how she wants to feel each year and then takes aligned actions to make sure she feels that way. Amber's statement about setting intentions reminded me of that.
But I want to take this one step further. My intention for the rest of the summer is to practice feeling-based intention setting every day. When I wake up, I will to set an intention for the day. I will then periodically check in with myself and my intention as I go throughout my day to make sure that, as often as possible, I am acting in alignment with my intention for the day.
and periodically throughout the day asked ourselves if we were acting in alignment with that intention? I get that not every day is a day of yours to craft 100% on your own – we have jobs, children, etc. But wouldn't it be nice if we could spend at least some time each day going back to the intentions we set for ourselves for that day? Checking in with how we want to feel and it taking action steps to make ourselves feel that way?
I think it'll be an interesting experiment for myself and for anyone who wants to join me. Are you in?