Recently I had the pleasure of staying home with my nineteen-month-old son when our nanny had to take a week off. At first, I was slightly annoyed and super stressed about the change of schedule. I had so many deadlines with my work that I was not sure how I would make it all happen given the circumstances. I sat down and felt my anxiety rise up. All of this to do and not enough hours to do it in. I let a whole day pass with my crippling anxiety and panic attacks before I realized that I was bringing worry on myself that was not even necessary. I had to let it go. I had to let go the control. The panic. The anxiety. The inability to meet deadlines. The feelings of stress. I had to stop. I had to choose a different approach. Here I was, showing up and sharing with you all just last week about how to stop the busy train before you train wrecked, yet here I was watching myself wreck the train.
Catching yourself as you break bad habits is hard enough. Choosing to change those habits is even harder. As I laid down that night and realized I had wasted a whole day with my son worrying about things I could not even control. I woke up the next day and decided no more. I was going to take back the control of my attitude. I was going to enjoy my day with my son. I was going to relish the time I had to spend with him. We slept in. We watched Disney movies on repeat. We played ball. We went outside for a walk. We had a fun mommy and son day. At the end of the day, my work was still there. The deadlines were still there. Things had not fallen apart even if I felt like they were going to do so. They all were still just waiting for me right there as I had left them that morning. As I watched his curly head go to sleep, I reminded myself…this is what is important. This right here. All the other things that seem so important didn’t hold a light to this moment right here and the memories I created with him that day.
You see, I have two older children. Fourteen and thirteen years old. I am no longer cool to hang out with. They no longer want to really be seen in public with me. They think I am old and that I know nothing. I look back and wonder where the time went. It seems just like yesterday that they were toddlers who ached for my time, but I was too busy doing the “important” things like work and deadlines to see that they needed me more. I worked insane hours. I hardly saw them. When I was home I was on the phone with clients or team members. I never took the time to enjoy the kiddos back then. Now, I regret that. I guess hind sight is always 20/20 as they say.
I almost have re-created the person I was back in those days of work pressure driven deadlines and climbing the corporate ladder. I can also assure you that once you make it to the top of the corporate ladder it is not near as fulfilling as you pictured it being. It is a lot more stress than you ever thought and it leaves you feeling empty. It is another reason I left my corporate job to pursue my passion of writing. It all fell back to a conversation I was having with my pre-teen daughter in the car. Being the wise beyond her years child she is, she was thinking about what she wanted to pursue as an occupation and she sought my advice. “Mom, what is your dream job?” she asked as we were driving along. I didn’t hesitate. “Being an author” I said passionately. The words that came back to me still echo in my ears…“Then why aren’t you doing that?” I had no words. Here I was telling my daughter ever since she was little to do whatever her heart desired. She could be anything she wanted to be, yet I was not leading by example. I was following the conditions of society that I needed a certain job, title, office and salary to be considered successful. I looked into her inquiring eyes and told her “You are right. I don’t know why I am not doing that, but I think it is time I start.” That day was a pivoting moment for me. I decided to change my whole career. I went off into a career that I had only done as a hobby before. I plunged into it with everything I had. I didn’t leave a “Plan B” option. I cut all my clients. I cut all my sources of income from my job. I rebranded my business and I went all in.
Now, here I am, a best-selling author of several books. Just this year alone I have helped thirty-three women become best-selling authors as well, my daughter included. I watch as I see her blossom in her own writing and just the other day she told me she wants to be an author as well. My heart beamed with pride, not because she is following in my footsteps, but because I am living proof she can be an author full time.
I have learned that it is easy to get distracted. Even though I own my own business now, I still get side-tracked. Even though I just wrote an article last week reminding you to not let busy run your life. I still allow it sometimes. I am human. The main thing is I try to catch myself. Choose a different choice and create a new pattern for my life. This past week, I have had fun with my little toddler while I could. I enjoyed every minute of it. When the stress of deadlines creeped into my head, I remembered that I would meet them all in due time. I might have to work when he goes to sleep or spend my Sunday afternoon loading our new book to be published next week, but it all will come together. What is important is breaking the cycle and enjoying my moments that will soon pass me by.
You can create your life. Choose wisely and when you choose wrong, choose again.