Until recently I saw my design work stuff as my “day job.” I saw it as a means to make money to support my life (duh) and fund my passion project. Now, however I feel a real shift. Instead of largely not acknowledging it, and desperately trying to own the space of “Coach” and “Writer,” I am recognizing how much I enjoy it and how much it lifts me. This simple change of mind has allowed me to fully embrace my present professional state proudly, without concern of transition, the future, labels or any other stigma I had previously attached to it.
To give you a little context, I should say that I’ve never been the kinda girl to hold down a job for long. I have tried many different roles at a variety of organisations, but if I wasn’t happy or realized this gig wasn’t for me, I found a new passion/ career to explore and went for it. I felt compelled to make a move as soon as I knew in my heart that I couldn’t see myself doing it when I was older or when the cons started out-weighing the pros. This did allow me to experience quite a lot in my twenties, but it didn’t provide much in the sense of security and every new adventure was preceded by a breakdown. I felt lost, unsure and without purpose. How would I ever find my perfect career? The one where it all clicked. I could be creative and learn and enjoy every moment. A place where no-one watched me work or projected their unnecessary stress onto me… You know, Work Heaven.
After a few years of being a professional nomad, I thought I’d return to my discipline and I launched the freelance design portion of my career. I got a few clients, worked at an agency for a bit and it was okay. I tried to grow it into a business, even pulled Hubby into it, but even with all that, I wasn’t feeling that zing, that “this is it, this is what I am here to do.” I was waiting. I was waiting for an idea or an opportunity to simply launch myself into success.
A few years down the line, I hit my quarter-life crisis and felt so depressed that I started reading a self-help book. At the time, this was not my jam, but WOW, BEST THING I EVER DID! I learnt an infinite amount of wisdom from this single book, but most of all, I learnt about taking ownership for where I am right now and how I choose to show up in this moment.
I made a number of changes, which you can read more about in one of my earlier posts, How to Be You. One of these was the decision to get a job. I realized that I wasn’t doing well with the freelance work because I wasn’t committed and simply didn’t really care enough to put my all into it. This meant that the long hours required to both grow the business and be the talent, was not something I was willing to give. My solution was that I would remove the long hours part. No more stressing about finding new business and checking the numbers. At a job I could keep it simple. I could do the work and get paid at the end of the month. This would allow me support, space and time to focus on my next big move, writing this blog.
I started putting it out into the Universe, telling anyone who would listen exactly what I was after. This is what I said over and over again, “I want a part-time job that pays X, is close to my house, flexible hours and requires a low emotional investment.” Most of the responses I got were, “Good luck.” But I was convinced it was out there. This combination in a job would provide enough support and enough space so that I could continue on this path of spiritual and personal development.
Well, I got it. All of it. Ok, not the last one. The very first interview I went on was exactly 7 minutes from my house in Johannesburg, it paid the exact number I was looking for, was part time and flexible. I walked out of there with a job and overwhelming joy that I had just manifested the next chapter in my life.
During the first couple at weeks of the new job I really tried to keep to myself. I clocked in and out and worked only my designated hours. I was trying really hard to just do the work and not get too involved, but it was impossible, because the Universe also gave me amazing people to work with and before I knew it, I was 200% emotionally invested in the work and where I worked.
Now, almost 2 years down the line I could not be more grateful. This is the longest I have ever been at a single job and I can see why. In my nomadic years, I was looking for the job to give me inspiration and creativity and opportunities to have fun and learn and grow. I was expecting an environment to have an open space just for me where I could shine in my special way. But this time around, I entered the space without expectation or attachment. I didn’t add any arbitrary requirements and or look for pre-mature ways to elevate myself. I arrived every day with gratitude for the job, its financial support and security, the opportunities to learn, and to connect with great people.
This “day job” is now as much a part of my identity as anything else. I love the work I do. New projects get me energized and I throw myself into each one. Of course, there are some projects that are more fun than others, but rather than hating a particular task, I understand that every new project means income for the business, which means I get to continue working there, I get to continue to add value and help grow the business. I am a part of something and am very grateful for that.
You have to bring it though! You have to be the source of the joy you seek wherever you are. If it is a day job that you don’t love right now, ask yourself which part you do enjoy and extend that feeling into all parts of your day. Choose to be inspired by even the most menial of tasks, as it is helping you feed yourself, and providing support in a number of ways. If you’re struggling to see it, I suggest writing down all the things that your paycheck lets you do. Everything from groceries, to taking care of your pet, living alone, feeling secure and empowered to pay for the bill this time around, your yoga classes, your data and so much more.
When you see this list, allow all that joy to reflect back into your work. I know it might not be your end game, but I promise that if you choose to see your job as a source of inspiration and support, and you show up with a grateful attitude every day, you will see shifts. People become kinder, the work becomes lighter and even the coffee tastes better. When you’re happy where you are, you attract opportunities for more happiness, in this job or your next.
If this is not exactly where you thought you would be by now, my advice to you is simple. Forget about where you thought you would be because where you thought you’d be, does not exist. You are here now. This is happening now. Choose to let go of your expectations and simply show up and do the work. Engage, share your ideas and give all you have to making whatever you’re doing the best it can be. This is a shift away from the expectation of others towards ownership of your reality. It changes everything when you lose the attachment of cause and effect and simply stay present and do the work. When I started at this job, I was a WordPress designer with basic coding knowledge. Today I am a front-end developer and project manage a small portfolio. Taking stock, I am very happy with how I’ve grown and am flabbergasted at how little time I spent planning it. None to be exact. You see, I went into the job without attachment and this became my superpower. Instead of wondering about my next strategic move or whether a particular task was beneath me, I simply showed up every day and did what needed to get done.
I’ve grown a lot in the last 2 years, both in capability and responsibility, but this would be true if I continued to stay uninvolved and only focused on what was required. I would not be doing the work I do today if I went into it with expectations and anticipations; if I demanded more without giving first and if I didn’t choose to show up with gratitude every day.
I’m still writing, I’m still committed to BloomHabits, but that does not mean I can’t also be committed to other aspects of my professional world. When I started my day job, I claimed I was in transition while I got Bloom off the ground, but today, I realise it’s not a job at all; I am, very unexpectedly, building a career.
Today I own where I am right now. Still unconcerned with “where I am going,” because I know that I am where I need to be, doing what I am meant to doing to invite more joy and love into the world.
Embrace where you are right now. Find joy and love in what you’re doing, even if you start with just one aspect of your day. Cherish it and let the power of that gratitude extend into more and more of your life. Choose to be inspired and happy where you are, and you will be.
When was the last time you felt overwhelmed?
For me, it was the Saturday before leaving for Mauritius on Monday. We had been planning our year of adventure for so long and now it was all happening in two days. I was very excited but also feeling incredibly weak and even a little like a had a cold coming on. I couldn’t understand why. Hubby (this man who somehow gets what’s happening to me before I do) suggests that I’m a little stressed and OMG I was! That was it! I had a project deadline for Sunday, needed to wipe my old phone, digitize all (and there’s a lot) of paper notes for Bloom and my day job, pack, prep some emails for Monday morning and be excited about all of it. It was just way too much and instead of asking for help, I kept it all in, claiming this very long list as mine alone.
As soon as I could see it, I started to feel better. It was as if simply by facing it made the stress dissipate by half.
Hubby offered to take on some of the load and where I had previously said no, I now said YES PLEASE!! Next, I got organized by making a list (naturally), allocating the items that I could give to him and just started for the top. Over the course of the day I realized a few traps and lies I was telling myself about control. Below are the opposite truths and lessons learned…
Who does what doesn’t matter, as long as it’s done:
One of my personal control lies is that only I can do something the right way. I know what I can do and struggle to acknowledge that someone else could do an equal or a better job. Some might say this is pride in your work. You want it to be perfect and therefore you should do it to make sure it’s on the level it should be. I would agree that quality is a must, but isn’t it also incredibly narcissistic to believe that only you can do it to the standard it needs to be?
In this scenario, we make pride out to be a badge of honour. “I take so much pride in my work, that’s why the quality is so high.” The thing we don’t see is that pride also separates us from each other. Believing that only we can do something right, doesn’t serve us by lifting us up, it keeps us away from help, better ideas and even new opportunities. It’s our ego telling us that we are better alone when really, all the collaboration, grace and ease come when we realize we are all in this together.
Support is more powerful than you realize:
Getting back to my long list… Naturally, there were a few items that do require my personal input, meaning that even though I had allocated some items to Hubby, most of it was still on my plate. That said, I still felt so much more capable, centered and supported just knowing that he is was in it with me. He was there to help however he could, even when that simply meant giving me the space I needed to get stuff done. Communicating what’s going on with you can be all you need to find the support and love to share the load of the stress.
Let people in, let them help, even if that only means bringing tea or lending an ear. It can be the most empowering you do for yourself to realize that you’re not in it on your own.
Done is better than perfect:
I’m sure this is not the first time you’ve read this little nugget, but I’ll share it again because it is oh so relevant here. One of my biggest tasks was to get my entire digital life into the cloud. I had been wanting to do this anyway, and now that we were about to embark on this journey it had become important to have my files a download away. There was one major obstacle, however… My files weren’t (aren’t) exactly organized. I had duplicates, hard drives, messy folders and I really saw the Move-To-Cloud as my big opportunity to organize. This would take time though, a lot of time that I simply didn’t have. It became a question of priorities. Was it more important to have the files loaded and accessible or that they’re perfectly labeled?
So, I sucked up my perfectionism, grit my teeth and uploaded my messy folders to Dropbox. I know where all the daily and very important items are and that’s okay for now. One of these days I will get around to collating everything into the perfect file system, but now that it’s done, I haven’t stressed about it once.
In the end, letting go of control is probably one of my hardest lessons and one I will face time and again. Next time overwhelm hits, I hope I’ll remember these lessons a little earlier to relieve the burden and flow through it with a little more grace.
You have help, love, and support all around you, you just need to let it in.
This morning I woke up, checked my phone and was hit with a very real feeling of betrayal. I went quiet, still with hurt and anger and blindsided. I see now that the only way out of this feeling is to let go of the poor me victim I’ve constructed in this story.
By doing that I will be able to let go of the entire thing and move on. Sounds easy enough, but it’s not. That feeling was raw and ugly, and it held on tight. So, before I let go, I must own my space within the situation, see the lesson and the blessing. It is when I can see the situation from these perspectives that the feelings will dissolve.
I started by seeing the blessing. What good came from my not being a part of this occasion? Well, I’ve been getting myself back on track, focusing my energy on writing, learning and how I want to show up in this space. If I had participated, I would have been distracted from my focus and the progress made might not be at all.
I’ll add here that during my “silent rage time” I was agonizingly scrolling through my Facebook feed searching for some further dagger to perpetuate this feeling. When I found this meme, I stopped as it allowed me to see this blessing and how my path is simply heading in a different direction:
“Sometimes the very thing you lost was in the way of you winning.”
In that moment, a smile came over my face. I felt humbled by all that is working and conspiring for me. I could see the blessing, and it allowed me to choose how I wanted to feel. I closed Facebook and shifted my focus back to feeling good.
The lesson became clear in trying to decide how to respond. Do I call this person to explain my grievance? What would happen if I do? What will I gain? The answer: Nothing.
As a result of my call, she may know how I feel and she may apologize, but that’s about it. It will not change what happened and we will still be where we are. What could happen is that my response becomes a part of her story and something she repeats to friends and colleagues. None of this would serve me. In fact, it would only add energy to something I don’t want.
This leaves me with one option. Forgive her, the situation and my part in it. I do not need her to hear me say it or for her to know about my experience for it to be real forgiveness because forgiveness is simply the practice of acceptance without attachment.
So, I have forgiven. I am grateful for the blessing and the lesson and I hope we cross paths again when it suits my journey and hers. All Posts
This was my miracle today. As the Course in Miracles says:
“Miracles are both beginnings and endings, and so the alter the temporal order. They are always affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back but really go forward. They undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.”
So, my dear, how do you practice this in your own life? Here are the steps should you wish to let go of the dark into light and love:
- Remember that what has happened is for you. No matter how bad it seems, or how much it hurts, it is happening so that you may learn a deep lesson and is guiding you towards the highest good.
- Find the blessing. What have you gained/ been able to do achieve/ been able to avoid as a result of this situation? It can be an internal realization or a massive shift in your life. There are no criteria for the blessing, except that it has a positive impact on you.
- Find the lesson. This may be a deep personal/ spiritual lesson of how you wish to respond and move forward. Be open to a new perspective or a confirmation of an idea and that will be your lesson.
- Once you see the lesson and the blessing, you are able to confirm point 1: it is all happening for you. This allows you to view the situation, the person and your part in it with love. Feel the relief in that. The weight begins to lift.
- Now, with love, forgive yourself, the persona and the entire situation. Thank each party for their role in delivering the blessing and the lesson to you.
- From this place you are able to let it go. Release it as it no longer has a hold on you.
The dark feeling may pop up again over the next few days. When this happens remind yourself of the above. Affirm for yourself: It happened for me. This was the lesson, this was the blessing. Thank you.
How to stop being busy and start getting stuff done: Simplify your to-do list to stop feeling overwhelmed and start moving towards your goals. 💃🤩💃🤩
It is easy to get overwhelmed with long to do lists, huge workloads, looking fabulous, posting something cool/ meaningful/ funny once in a while, spending quality time with family and friends, traveling, did I mention work? You get the idea; our lives are filled to the brim and often we get to the end of a crazy-busy week only to find that a couple of the most important tasks had been left behind.
This is not the best feeling. You feel defeated and as if you’re not moving forward. I know just how demotivating this can be. In fact, on a few occasions last year I became so overwhelmed that I felt paralyzed to do anything and I would spend entire afternoons watching TV while thinking about, wait for it…. my to-do list 🤦♀️.
I couldn’t snap out of it. Towards the end of that year, I realized why (and it wasn’t because I was lazy.) I was so stuck in the details that I was unable to pull myself out long enough to see the big picture. Once I did, I could prioritize, make clear decisions and my days started feeling far less hectic.
The weird thing about overwhelm is that you don’t need to be working 5 jobs to feel this way. It can creep in whether you have 3 or 500 tasks on your plate. Its less about the list, your management tools, and your work ethic and it’s all about mindset. So, no matter where you are, if you are feeling too busy and struggling to get through your tasks, try these steps to clear up space in your mind and your calendar:
Simplify, eliminate, align
Stop being busy for busy’s sake:
How many of your daily tasks actually move you forward? Really? How many are really just there to fill up the day? Don’t answer too quickly. When you have a minute, go and look at your lists from the last few days and check for the following:
- Which items actually made a difference to the next day?
- Which items took you a step closer to your big goal?
- Which items are left undone?
If you are feeling like you’re not getting through your day, you probably noticed that it’s the big important tasks (the ones that move your forward) that get left behind. Now, review your lists one more time and ask the following:
- Which items took a lot of time and felt frustrating?
- Which items were completed but had little impact?
Chance are there are a few overlaps here. These time-consuming-and-low-impact tasks are the ones you need to question. Are they worth it? Or can you drop them and never add them to another to do list ever again? If you do drop them, how much time will that give you and will that time be enough to get through the big important tasks that have been waiting for your attention?
Outsource whatever you can:
There will always be a selection of tasks that do move you forward but take too much of your time. Make a plan and align financial goals to outsourcing these tasks. When you hit a certain revenue mark, you will outsource your social media scheduling or administration. Whatever doesn’t feed your joy but must be done, must be outsourced. While it may feel scary to hand over part of our list to someone else, it will free you up to reach your goals faster and spend more time doing what you love.
Set goals – where are you going?
Another common reason for feeling overwhelmed or like you’re not getting anywhere is that you don’t have anything to measure and so it all feels like “failure.” Not ideal. Instead, think about where you want to be in 3, 6 or 12 months from now. Set one or two goals for this and then make sure that every week contains a smaller action step that moves you towards those goals.
Assign time for everything – macro and daily level
This particular perspective-shift saved me. I was constantly running, chasing the clock and believing there simply wasn’t enough time. When I stopped and took a step back, I could see time as pockets that I can fill however I want. I have larger pockets for months or weeks and smaller pockets for daily tasks. Each night I fill my time pockets for the next day. If anything is left over once the time pockets are filled, I need to make some choices about what is getting left behind.
If you have a lot of goals for the year, this is an ideal way of approaching time. You don’t need to do everything in the first month. You can assign space and time for every goal at a certain point throughout the year. This practice has made me 100% more productive with fewer items on my lists.
Simplify your tools:
When it comes to time/ project management tools, there are about 100 000 available but don’t get sucked in. Keep it simple. There is no point in spending half an hour trying to manage your time management tool. I understand if you are part of a team and everyone needs to be on the same page but keep that tool top-level. Work with people who are responsible and then choose to trust them to get the tasks done. For your daily management, use a simpler tool to track your tasks. I use the Reminders tool on Mac OS. I have a list for each project I am working on. This is where I store the full list of items associated with the project. Then I have a Today list. Here I drag ONLY what needs to happen today. Nothing else. As its done, I mark it complete and I never see it again. At the end of the day, I run through my projects and fill the Today list for tomorrow. It’s not groundbreaking and that’s why it works.
Make conscious choices:
Consider for a moment that whatever you are doing at any given moment is using time. If its something that adds value to your life, then its time well spent. If not, what could you be doing instead? Spend your time surrounding yourself with work, activities, people and social situations that bring joy and add value to your world.
Now, I realize I’ve just gone and added a bunch of organizing tasks to your already overflowing cup. Don’t worry, no need to get it all done today. Your next right move is to take 15minutes today to simplify and re-prioritize your week. (Just this one, that you’re in right now.) As part of this week’s list, assign 1 hour to do the same for the next 3 months.
Simple right? Haha 😜! Even with all of these tools, sometimes we lose control, all the balls drop, and we start to spiral. When that does happen, and you start to feel yourself losing grip, STOP. Right there, where you are, just stop. Take a few deep breaths and then ask yourself: Is this helping or hurting me? Chances aren’t great it’s helping, right? From that place of clarity and space, ask yourself: What’s the next right move? Every time you practice this quick tip, you condition your brain, training it to notice these feelings sooner next time. Soon, you’ll be able to notice those familiar feelings very early on. This means you can stop earlier, recover faster, and get on with living your fab life without skipping a beat. 💃💃💃 No need to get to the breakdown.
Finding the right balance is not one size fits all. Your priorities are different from mine and from your friends. Finding balance is about knowing who you are, what you want and what you are willing to do to get there. When you get that ratio right, work won’t feel like work, it will feel like purpose and quality time won’t feel like you’re cheating on your business, but much required rest. There is time for everything you want to do, you simply need to be bold enough to make conscious choices for what you really want to include in your life.
Author, Annie Dillard said, ‘How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.’ With that in mind, how are you spending today?
Post a comment here or tag me on Instagram @bloomhabits with your new and improved to-do lists. Let me when you’ve cleared all your tasks for the day and you’re going for a manicure to spoil yourself. I want to celebrate with you!! 🤩👑🙌
Live happy, be happy. Live a life you love. 💜💜💜
Simply chasing your dreams or only priming ourselves to receive isn’t enough. We must work on both, growing ourselves while, simultaneously, taking action on the steps that bring us closer to our goals.
Why is this push and pull so vital? Well, it’s tricky chasing something you’re not really ready for. This is where “living as if” comes in. “Living as if” is a mindset that says: “As you grow, you grow closer to your goals and, as you grow, you become ready to receive them.”
“Living as if,” however, is not simply buying material things outside of your means. Rather, the principal asks how you can get more of that feeling now with the resources you have available today. How can you move, even an inch, closer to your dream, using the tools, savvy and creativity you already have?
So please don’t go out and buy an expensive handbag you can’t afford or max out your credit card on social events because glamour is “your truth” and you want to show how ready you are to live that lux life. That’s not it at all.
What the heck is it about then? Well, how about asking yourself why you want those things. What will it give you to have these things? What value will the bring to your life?
The answer can be anything. It will resonate with you on a deep level. If we continue with the above example, you might find that what you are really seeking is glamour, social or professional status, comfort or even credibility.
The next step is to ask how you can get more of those feelings today? What can make you feel more glamorous, comfortable or credible today? Using the resources available to you, and without stretching yourself too far, what can you do right now, today, this week?
Do you see how it’s not at all about the THINGS, nor about being Instagram-perfect It’s about activating a feeling of glamour (or whatever you are seeking) and welcoming it in.
Kind of like when you’re first learning a new skill or concept. Days, maybe weeks or months go by and you just don’t understand it. You keep trying, learning more, practicing and then one day you suddenly get it. This new level of understanding opens doors and clears pathways and widens your perspective.
The only difference here is that you are practicing a feeling. If you want to feel more glamorous, do things that make you feel that way. Paint your nails and always look polished when you walk out the door. Take pride in your outfits, they don’t have to be designer to look fabulous. What else? How would you carry yourself, talk to others and move through your life as a slightly more glamorous version of who you already are?
There are a ton of things you can do today that facilitate the feeling you’re after. It is by practicing these feelings that they become easier, more accessible and you become ready for more. So, draw a mind map and list as many as you can. I bet you’ll find more than you expected.
Before you know it, you will be stepping into your dream life as your next-level self. You will be ready to own that space because you will have been preparing for it all along.
Many of us are compulsive goal setters. We set targets and furiously chase them down until we lose steam and casually let them fall away. Just think about every new year’s resolution that didn’t make it past January.
But why do we fall short? Why don’t we reach the goals we set? Is it that we’re weak or simply unmotivated? Nope, that’s not it at all. Most of the time, we fail to reach the goals we set because they lack connection and reason. In other words, it’s not about the goal at all and all about why you want to achieve it.
A goal or dream is something you have not obtained yet. It lives just outside your grasp and current emotional means. The way you think, operate and see the world might not be aligned with what is required for you to achieve the goal.
In order to bridge this gap, you need a powerful driving force for this goal. You need a reason to persevere and overcome all the obstacles that lie in your path.
You need a WHY
I am not alone in this thinking. Many other coaches, speakers, and highly successful business minds say the same thing. The concept is that when you understand why you are doing something and that “why” is meaningful and aligned with your values, you will move heaven and earth to get make it happen.
If not, the goal will feature with low importance in your brain and inevitably fizzle away. #anothernewyearsresolution
Is this really for me?
Another reason to develop a “Why” is to clarify whether you truly want something in the first place.
You know that feeling when your best friend gets something new and shiny and suddenly you crave it as if this is clearly the thing that has been missing from your life all along. It can be that she is pregnant or has a new baby. Perhaps you’re the one at home with the kids and she gets a promotion or decides to go on an impromptu trip. Whatever it is, you see something you don’t have, and you want it. This is an excellent moment to ask yourself, “Why?”
Why do you want a baby right now? Why do you want to go to Thailand? Why do you wish you had a big career? Consider what your life would look like if you achieved this goal: do you like this picture? What will you be giving up by achieving this goal? Do you still want it?
Often, you will find that you don’t want it at all, or you’ll see that right now is just not the right time. If you’re here, congratulations! You’ve just achieved massive clarity and now, have an immense opportunity to stop searching for answers around you and start looking inward to find the dream you are really after.
Finding your true dream
There are a number of exercises and meditations which I will be sharing over the next few weeks, but it is important to understand that it’s not something you do just once. It takes practice to let go of your comparative goals and embrace what you truly want for your life.
A couple of years ago, I was very unhappy. I was looking around at my friends, people I went to school with and anyone else I met and viewed some part of their world as better than mine. I felt stuck, as if my life was going nowhere and I was blaming my husband, expecting him to make all my dreams come true. I went on a quest to “find myself” and discovered that I had no idea what I wanted or who I was. This was a huge moment for me. It gave me crystal clear clarity about my life and how I had been moving through on auto-pilot. I decided to become active in my life.
I started by defining my vision. What was it that I truly wanted? My first vision meditation gave me a blurry but honest picture. There were a few things I wasn’t sure about, but I kept going back and slowly but surely the picture became clearer and brighter
So, what do you truly want for your career, your family, fun, romance and every other area of your life? Write it down. Look at this vision and, no matter how blurry it might be at first, ask yourself, “Why do I want that?” Be honest and clear. What will this goal this give you and what will it cost you? These questions will clarify your vision and reveal your true goals.
If your goals are aligned with your path, you will find synergy and almost no reasons not to follow them. In addition, you will discover a driving force that propels you towards your dream every day. Defining your “Why” when setting new goals shifts your perspective as you are no longer chasing something out of your reach. Instead, you are consciously living in a way that leads you towards your biggest dreams.