Walking through the airport this morning, I remembered the old me. The busy me. Even at 5:30 a.m., on the way to a faraway city, I was on. Coffee in one hand, phone in the other, I felt important because I was busy. Adrenaline coursing through my veins, walking to my gate, I was infallible. I was sure that anyone who saw me thought, “Wow! She is something. How does she do it?”
But the busyness masked the unhappiness I felt in my life.
I appeared to have it together, I wanted to hold it together, but the harder I squeezed, the more I felt my control slipping away. My marriage wasn’t fulfilling me, my kids were underachieving, and my employees’ experience of me was not how I meant to show up every day. I didn’t know how to fix it, as hard as I tried.
Then, a health event meant I had to stay silent for three weeks. I had to step back from being busy. That meant no phone calls. No meetings. No workshops or trainings. In the end, this period of quiet taught me lessons I wish I’d learned long ago.
You don't have to wait for a health crisis to break the cycle of busy. Break the cycle of busy by changing your mindset.
These five practices can help you find freedom from busyness:
1. The more you feel the need for control, the more you need to let go.
I was pecking my husband (and our marriage) to death. Once I let go of my expectations of what my marriage should be, everything turned around.
2. Let go of perfection and embrace vulnerability.
No one is perfect -- and perfection is a form of control. Mistakes are good because they help us grow. Perfection alienates us from others because we’re not being real.
3. Vulnerability is good once you get used to it.
Other people are attracted to your vulnerability because they can relate. People get closer and relationships become more authentic.
4. Try being quiet.
Not everyone is impressed by your noise and distraction. Being the life of the party is only one way to be. Being quiet and not trying to impress gives you the power to see yourself and situations as they really are, as opposed to being swept up in them.
5. Employees, especially Millennials, want real leaders, not perfect ones.
My team members told me they couldn’t relate if I didn’t show them my underbelly. It wasn’t until I got really real and spoke from my heart about my vision for our business that they could fully tap into their own courage and experiences to bring their best selves and their best ideas to work.
Walking away from busy feels counter-cultural. But it’s the surest way to reenergize your work life.
I no longer have a coffee cup in my hand, and I walk at a normal pace to my gate now. I watch as others escape to their cell phones knowing that I’ll get to my emails when I’m ready. I remember my daily intention and do a quick inventory of my body to keep track of how I’m feeling. I sit quiet and unemotional, ready for a great day, knowing I’m more relevant now than I ever was when busyness was my identity.
Learn how to take charge of your work life and break free from busyness. 15Be offers training for teams and professional associations, including workshops on Boundary Setting, Energy Management, and Owning Your Career.