I’ve just come out of what is probably the best summer I can remember in my life. Not because of anything in particular I did or saw, but more from what I did NOT do.
Let me explain.
Like most entrepreneurs, I pride myself on getting a lot done, which means of course I constantly have a long list of projects to get done and things to complete. Somewhere along the way, most entrepreneurs adopt this unspoken rule that says the more you do and get done, the more successful you become.
I’ve operated that way for as long as I can remember, and admittedly it has generated good results for me.
But there’s a hidden cost in operating this way — you get tired.
You can only operate at full tilt for so long before you begin to wear down .. physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually .. or all of the above.
Going into this summer, that’s how I felt — accomplished, busy, ambitious, and exhausted.
So I decided to consciously take more time off, and take as many things off my list to get done as possible. A bit of a social experiment on myself.
We also made some big decisions in our business to reflect this shift — the most significant being that we decided to suspend all of our coaching programs starting in July, since we came to realize how much time and mind space the programs consumed.
That was a tough decision since I get so much juice out of helping entrepreneurs fly and succeed, but it was time for us to make decisions for ourselves.
In some ways, I felt a little bit selfish for making decisions that were about me as opposed to those I served. But I also recognized that if you’re not taking care of yourself first and foremost, you’re not going to be able to help others.
This summer, we took not just one trip to the in-laws’ cabin, but two. We took a few long weekends to spend with family, and Cooper experienced his first camping trip in a tent (which he loved). We spent some time in Canmore, and to top my summer off, I went to Ireland for about 10 days to participate in a retreat with my friend and brilliant coach Philip McKernan.
And it was in Ireland that I really discovered the power of creating space for yourself, and what can happen when you do it.
Like many people, I’ve been told enough times how important it is to “create space” and take time for yourself. Meditate, go on a long quiet hike, spend some down time and just reflect.
I put that on my to do list and did it.
Problem was, most times I did this, I was thinking about all the things I had to get done, writing notes about what new content or programs I should develop, and never disengaging my brain from all the “stuff” going in my real world.
Ireland was really the first time I’ve done this that I can ever remember.
We went on some incredible hikes, taking on the incredible beauty of the West coast of Ireland. With Philip’s help, I was able to really start to ask some powerful questions and what amazed me was that I spent zero time thinking about my business or what needed to be done.
It was the first time I’ve ever created space for myself, and I came home a better man as a result.
I’ve emerged from this summer with the most clarity I’ve ever had about my true priorities and intentions with my life, and what really matters. I’ve made some significant decisions about what I want in my life, and what I won’t tolerate.
I realized there were things that I had not said to important people in my life that needed to be said. Those things are now said, and the peace that’s come to me as a result is profound.
Along with Kourosh my business partner, we’ve made some strategic decisions that will shift our business in a way that aligns it even more with who we are and where we want to go.
Without having physically removed myself from my busy life and surrounding myself with a group that was all committed to exploring their personal truths, I don’t think I would have ever had some of the realizations that came to me in Ireland.
Not only am I grateful for the experience and what it will mean to my life and the important people in it, I’m extremely grateful for having a friend like Philip who has the wisdom and courage to pursue his own passion and authenticity, and to help others realize their own.
I can truly say that I am the most grateful today that I’ve ever been in my life, and that gratitude continues to grow every day as I learn more about myself and the world around me.
Philip has a great mantra that I can now say I truly get:
“Success is manufactured in the mind,
while happiness is cultivated in the soul.”
And now, with the summer behind us and more clarity that I’ve had in a very long time, I’m excited to put some of the plans we have into motion, and continue the journey that I felt really started this summer.
What I would hope for you is that if you’re feeling stressed out, tired, overwhelmed, exhausted — or all of those — that you decide that you are important enough to actually take some time out for yourself, and create some space. Don’t fall for the lie that you “don’t have the time”.
The problem is that until you really connect with yourself and what matters, you’ll continue to do things that not only move you away from your real goals and dreams, but keep you tired and exhausted.
Creating space is one of the most difficult things to do as an entrepreneur, but I guarantee there is nothing you can do more important for yourself.
So that’s what I’ve been up to the past couple of months!
Let me know what you think about this post, and if you enjoyed it. If I get enough interest on this topic with comments, I’ll do a follow up article talking about some of the specific steps and questions that you can use to help focus your mind and really start to create powerful realizations for yourself.
So please, post a comment and let me know your thoughts!