I know someone very close to me who is feeling stuck. She isn’t unhappy, but she isn’t happy. Nothing seems worth getting excited about or a good enough reason to work hard. Have you ever been there?
For me, it used to show up in the fall. I would work so hard in tax season, pulling long hours and filling every minute on my calendar with client meetings.
Then I would come out of that time with so many hopes for the summer. I would lose weight, put new repeatable processes in place at work, catch up on the financial planning side, travel, relax, and spend more time on my back porch on beautiful days.
When the kids went back to school in the fall, it would hit me like a ton of bricks. I hadn’t used that time to do the things I thought I wanted. Now we had to readjust to the school schedule and kids’ activities, plus start planning the next tax season. It felt so heavy.
Let’s look at my thinking. I believed that I had four months out of the entire year to make all my dreams come true. At the beginning of the year, I would spend four months overworking to make money to “earn” the summertime where I had choices and fewer obligations. Then I would spend four months at the end of the year alternately beating myself up for not achieving in the summer and getting ready for the dreaded grind of tax season. No wonder I felt defeated.
The funny thing is, this is just how I saw the world. It didn’t feel optional. It was just the way it was for a tax advisor.
Guess what? I have since mixed things up a bit. I just decided that I didn’t want to give up that much of my year to inertia. I sensed there was a better way; I just had to find it. I tried so many things over ten years. Sometimes things would be better. Then I would slide back into old thinking and habits, and those feelings would come back, pinning me to my bed in the mornings.
Until I discovered the missing piece was knowing what I wanted. I had drifted from things that excited me, soothed me, and created joy in my life. I was pursuing my schedule, but I had filled it up with things that didn’t light my soul on fire.
So, I decided to go to work later. I wanted time to connect to my head, heart, and body before allowing other people’s agendas to influence me or direct my day. For me, this looks like morning devotion, journaling, and exercise. I spaced my appointments out and scheduled time to do the work that I would need to present in those meetings. I asked my clients to deliver their information to me before the appointment, assuring them this would mean less time for them in my office and higher accuracy in my work product.
Before, I had to work even more hours because I had not scheduled time to prepare for meetings. I just went from one meeting to the next. I figure out what clients needed from me and what they would accept from others, and I stuck to it. Eventually, I transitioned the administration of my practice off me and onto my tax season manager, paraplanner, and assistants. (Please know this wasn’t my starting place, and it was a long process.)
We instituted some family traditions like movie night on the porch and family board game tournaments. I signed up for coach certification just because I wanted to learn more about the process that helped me revolutionize my life, and just because I wanted to do it. I permitted myself to stop doing the dishes every night.
I stopped volunteering at school. I stopped saying yes to things that others wanted from me that I simply did not want to do.
My energy started coming back. Ideas, plans, and creative solutions to issues started coming to me at an astonishing rate. It was invigorating. And it fed on itself.
What lights you up? What makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. What have you put off or moved away from because it isn’t practical? Experiment with putting those things back in your life. Just watch, and see what happens. The transformation is astonishing.
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