Drop the Deadlines. What's The Rush?

2016: A Year in Review

This year was trying for many of us... For me, life moved in cycles - patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that repeated themselves over and over again. I went from feeling energized and inspired, to feeling depleted and exhausted. I went through periods of curiousity and contemplation, to darker periods of doubt and fear. I experienced moments of connection and courage, that then led me to wanting to shrink myself and hide.

Now 16 months into building Halifax Paper Hearts, I have been asked a lot publicly for opinions and thoughts on side hustles, youth entrepreneurship, the local economy, and what it's like to start a small business. The sudden interest in my little craft business brought to life a very strange and vulnerable dichotomy of feelings for me.

Sure I have learned lots of lessons along the way, and I was getting so many of the same questions from makers and new entrepreneurs privately - which made it so much simpler to provide honest responses in interviews, but I felt torn.

Part of me felt really energized about sharing my experiences openly. I felt truly connected to a community of people wanting to explore entrepreneurship. However, the other part of me was making up stories about why I should just say no. At one point this year, I actually felt myself physically shrinking myself, hunching, hiding, crossing my arms to protect my heart.

No meant safety. No meant I could be invisible.

I experienced so many moments of sitting myself down and saying, "Okay self - it's time to have just a little bit more courage in this situation. Yes, you have no idea what you're doing. Fear & shame, I hear you loud and clear, and even though you haven't climbed this mini-mountain before, you climbed the last one (with help), and now it is time to scale this one."

This year was overcome one mini victory at a time, and what I learned was:

1. Creativity. Productivity. Life: They Move in Cycles. Be Gentle. 

2. You Have to Say No, Even Though It's Not Natural.

3. Self Care is Not Selfish.

4. Drop the Deadlines. What's the Rush? 

Ease up on your expectations of yourself, you cannot (and should not be expected to) do it all in 2017. Earlier this year, I was working as a Marketing Director full-time, volunteering with 5 organizations, running a side business and trying my best to remain actively engaged in all my relationships. I had taken on too much and tried to accomplish it all myself. I didn't know how to say no (so I didn't). I had over-committed myself to a huge vision for the next 6 months that just wasn't jiving with the way I wanted to feel inside. The truth is, I became a shell of my former self from pure and total exhaustion. I was burnt out. Done. Exhausted. Going through the motions. And feeling totally and completely empty.

No one can be in a mode of outputting all of the time. We have to make space, and take time to experience the integration of what we have learned, experienced and taken in. We need to sleep, to explore, to play, to eat delicious food, to be adventurous, and to feel connected to the people that we love. When we constantly push, and push, and push - inspiration suffocates, we have nothing left to give anyone, and our curiousity drowns in a sea of busy-ness. 

Tony Robbins said recently to Oprah that, "people underestimate what they can do in a decade, and overestimate what they can do in a year", how true is that.

What's the rush?

I would so much rather stay focused on being a functioning human, and an inspired and curious maker, and a giving and loving friend and daughter - that has the time and space to feel moments of joy (and in fact, to notice them), and that makes making memories - a top priority.

A long time ago, I decided to lose the "check-all-of-the-boxes-accomplishments-list", after reading a piece from Danielle LaPorte that asked me if I really needed another check mark, or if I just needed to take better care of myself... I now set goals that are always focused first on the way that I want to feel...

But now, I am also done with the deadlines.  

What I might have tried to take on in 12 months might take me 2 years, or 5 years, or whatever the heck I decide feels right - for me, and for those around me. 

As you make your resolutions this year, as you set your intentions, or as you simply reflect on the year ahead of you, I encourage you ease up on the expectations.

Please do chase after your wildest dreams, but don't tear yourself back down again. Say yes to things that get you excited, and say no to things that don't. Take care of yourself first, so that you can give more of yourself to others, and understand that this year will move in cycles, just like last year - and the year before that.

Love & Hugs from the East Coast of Canada,

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