30 Dec The Value in Stopping
My intention is to share this with you in the hope it will resonate, and perhaps inspire you too to just ’stop’, even if only for a little while.
Early last year I made a decision and a promise to myself that things needed to change. I did not want to feel how I had been feeling in five years time. I felt stuck, lost, undervalued and frankly overwhelmed and depressed. So I decided to take charge of my life and make external and internal changes. And my goal was to have these firmly in place by my 40th Birthday.
At the time I made this decision I was fatigued, overwhelmed and in a horrible state of burnout. My son (who was premature and had breathing difficulties at birth) now has a weakness in his chest and as a result is prone to asthma. So he always seems to get bugs worse and more frequently than most, resulting in sleepless nights for us both at a time.
This summer I made good on that promise to myself and gave up the corporate role; the regular income, job security, pension… because I knew to the core of my being that this role did not fulfil or inspire me and that my passion was somehow tied up with helping others and that this misalignment was a huge part of the burnout I was experiencing. One of my core values is integrity, and I was not being honest with myself. I needed to stop.
The last few years have been busy, in the past 16 months alone I have retrained as an accredited and certified life coach, NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist. I have invested time and money in myself via various personal development courses and coaching programmes. Discovered my strengths, weaknesses, triggers, saboteurs, values, learnings styles… I have read, listened to audio books, youtube, anything I can to develop myself and find my self worth and self belief. I have reached out in Facebook groups, and other social media platforms, online and offline, connected with some amazing people who I know will be lifelong friends. I have started going to regular networking events. I realised (finally) that the only approval I need in order to do something is my own. I have walked on broken glass and I am planning a firewalk too! I have learnt to love myself a little bit more each day. This has not been an easy journey, but I have laid an incredibly strong foundation for myself and my business going forward.
Through this process I have discovered that my passion is helping other women figure out their purpose and create a life by design around those passions, and instead of living their lives by default in a job, career, relationship, or whatever other circumstance they find themselves in, they live it aligned to what they believe purpose in life is. No excuses, no apologies. This is what I’ve spent the last 18+ months working towards and have poured my heart and soul into it.
It has been an enlightening process, but one with many highs and lows, and once again I found myself exhausted and needing to stop, and just be.
Recently, once again, I began experiencing those familiar feelings of burnout. My little boy fell ill and the usual feelings of concern and frustration in equal doses arose alongside the usual unhelpful self-talk “oh great, another week of no sleep” – “is this ever going to stop?” – “am I ever going to properly launch this business?” – “how will I ever be able to help anybody else when this constantly happens and everything has to stop?” you get the gist… However, my awareness has grown somewhat in terms of knowing the workings of my own mind and having the knowledge and insight of how I can control my thoughts. For the first time ever I chose to let those thoughts go and to reframe them. So I rebranded the week as time to just be with my son and for me to also rest and reflect. And to just STOP. Stop everything; building my business, stretching myself too thin to keep others happy, saying ‘yes’ when my soul is screaming ‘NO!’.. you get the picture.
‘Stopping’ is a very new thing for me. There have been many times in my life when I should have listened to my mind and body and stopped, but I didn’t. And I have actually really enjoyed it! In ‘stopping’ I have discovered the true meaning of self-care. I feel connected back to my ‘self’ through the mediums of journalling, meditation and just being. I have gone for long walks with the children, stopped to look at the frost covered leaves on the ground, watched the planes land and take off at the airport, found squirrels, noticed again the wonder of nature and watched geese fly south for winter… I have rediscovered my love of cooking – we have been eating wholesome, healthy, home-cooked meals and I feel so nourished and good about myself as a result. I am reading voraciously again and learning LOTS in the process. I have had lots of inspiration about how to take my business forward completely aligned with me and who I am becoming. I feel I am finally discovering my true purpose in this life.
So, what has ‘stopping’ given me?
- I have a sense of inner peace and more prolonged moments of joy than I have had in years.
- I have found the ability to choose to stop the monkey chatter in my head at most given moments – however I realise I am lucky in this respect, as I’ve had amazing training through life coaching and NLP and have also worked with some amazing coaches this past year.
- I have finally found my FLOW something which has eluded me for years, only making an appearance now and again.
- I am more present with my children.
- I have been able to take a more global viewpoint on situations in my life instead of getting bogged down in the drama and the detail.
- I also seem to have lost my desire to control things and I’m quite content to just be and let things flow.
Someone said to me recently, we are not human doings, we are human beings – and that is what I am currently learning to be.