This week I led a small group of women on a hike in the Cleveland Metroparks. We took to the trails for an hour and a half, going deep in conversation and coaching. We had a powerful discussion around things like, “What makes a rich life?”, “What is your inner critic telling you right now? What’s the truth?”, and powerfully setting intentions around what we wanted to receive from the hike and from the nature around us.
It was magical! There’s something so powerful about nature, being outside, raising our heart rate, and tuning in.
By the end of the hike I felt blissful and connected. I felt happy, calm, and free of worries.
And what I’m discovering is that, we think we need to do all the things we “have to” and “should” do FIRST, and THEN do the things we love.
But what if it’s actually the opposite? What if we NEED to and MUST do the things we love FIRST? And then and only then can we have the fuel and energy and clarity to do some of the other important things that might not be as high on our enjoyment list.
This may sound like a novel idea, and it definitely is to me.
I’ve been operating a totally different way for a little while without realizing it. I’ve been thinking about all the things I “need to” do in order to create what I want, many of these things that I’m not truly excited about.
I felt overwhelmed and at the same time, completely halted in my tracks. Perfectionism so easily crept in. So I wasn’t getting any those things that I “had to” do done anyways!
And then I received the message I needed, as they always tend to come in perfect timing. The author and coach Amy Ahlers writes in her book Big Fat Lies Women Tell Themselves:
“Most of the time when we feel overwhelmed, we’re actually underwhelmed.”
These words hit home as true for me. She shares that we feel overwhelmed when we fill our lives with activities and tasks that feel empty, with things that we don’t actually value, or when we’ve lost connection with our inspiration or desires.
When we’re doing things we love, we might feel busy, but not so much overwhelmed in a negative sense of the word.
In fact, living my purpose and doing things I love has been a huge part of the reason I’ve been able to recover from both an eating disorder as well as OCD. Following my purpose has been one of the main reasons I’ve been able to move through these times that felt so scary, torturous, and impossible.
And without realizing it, lately I slipped into a mindset of focusing on all the things I “have to” do that I don’t want to.
As an entrepreneur, I wear so many hats; Marketer, Salesperson, Master of my Profession, Admin, Bookkeeper… It’s a lot of roles to switch into and out of. And it was wearing me down, thinking I had to master all of them, and feeling like I couldn’t go deep into any because I had to go a little bit into all of them.
The task of things ahead of me that I “had to” do in order to create my dreams into reality felt so overwhelming that many days it stopped me in my tracks, and I got almost nothing done.
I felt overwhelmed in the underwhelm of things I didn’t love.
So I went on a hike. It’s something I love to do, and I chose to put that FIRST, and allow it to fuel me, and give me clarity, on this list of things it seemed I “had to” do.
And guess what? The list shifted! I realized a lot of those things just weren’t necessary or worth it. Some of them I saw that with some tweaking either in mindset or in the activity itself, I could find joy in them as well.
So it wasn’t in checking all my to-do’s off the list first that I actually got things done, created what I want, or felt good. It was simply in FIRST doing what I love.
So how can you give yourself more permission to do what you love?
What in your life needs a little tweaking in order for it to be enjoyable for you?
What do you want to let go of that you don’t love doing, and are seeing that maybe you don’t have to?
I’d love to hear! Drop a comment below and let me know 😊