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How Staying Busy Kept Me From Being a Loser – and Backfired

It’s no secret that I overwork. When I have down time, I panic.

For years, I kept myself busy, busy, busy.

And empty inside.

Growing up, we had many chores. We didn’t go play until chores were done. And, as a perfectionist, I made sure mine were done beautifully. If my parents didn’t validate the work, I’d re-do them.

Stay busy, girl.

In my past, I’d stay busy with hobbies.

In my 20s, I over-exercised as my hobby – and it got unhealthy & obsessive.

In my 30s, I had an expensive scrapbooking hobby. I spent free moments creating a complete artifact of life from 1998 – 2007.

Then Jack was born. Keeping him alive became my hobby. I abandoned almost everything else.

I use being busy as a way to avoid being alone with myself. Sitting around means I’m a loser. Lonely. Alone.

If I stay busy, I don’t have to face that something feels off inside. A void I’m not addressing.

In my early 30s, I went to therapy to figure out what was wrong with me.

At our first session, my therapist, Joni, told me, “I want you to be able to sit on the couch and scratch your belly. And to know that that’s ok. That’s enough if that’s what you want to do.”

I was shocked. There was nothing wrong with me? I could just…be?!

I’ll never forget it. Nobody had ever told me that it was enough if I just sat on the couch and did nothing.

When I actively worked on practicing being OK with myself, everything started to change.

I got into a healthy relationship with a man who encouraged me to be me.

I excelled at teaching and gained confidence to become a leader.

I no longer made life decisions from a place of fear & comparison – like whether to have a baby, leave my teaching career, exclude toxic people from my life.

I’m 48 and still struggle with “just being”. I struggle with “doing enough”. I struggle with “being enough.”

I get panicky if there’s a lot to do and I’m not doing it all, perfectly, RIGHT NOW!

I want you to know I struggle with this – because I often encourage YOU to be kind to yourself.

I know how hard everything I ask you to do is: Breathe. Make realistic goals. Stop beating the shit out of yourself.

Because I’m over here, beating the shit out of myself, too. And reeling myself back in. And sitting down on the couch. Feeling antsy all the while.

It’s a process. Be mindful of it.


Sadly, the world lost Joni this summer; I’m still reeling. I think of her often.

She taught me that showing up is enough. I don’t have to prove anything in order to earn my place in someone’s life.

As we go flying through September, I know there’s a lot on your list. I know you want to go a million miles an hour.

I also know it’s not easy to slow down and be kind to yourself.

Can we just join hands for a moment – energetically – and remind ourselves to sit, scratch, and smile at the memory of a woman who knew what I needed far before I knew what I needed?

I hope you can unwrap this gift & use it in your life, too.

And if you need some support in this arena, reach out. We were never meant to do it all alone.

 

The Sweet Relief of Routine

I feel great sadness when summer starts to say goodbye.

But the turn in the air also excites me – because I know structure is coming. A shift is happening.

It brings a sense of urgency. I mentally scream, It’s time to get my shit back together!!

Watch out for that thought!

 Here’s why: we’re all kinda out of practice on that! We just spent 3 months enjoying life & working really hard at NOT being structured!

When we’re charged with getting our shit together, we overwhelm ourselves with tasks.

You know – we empty out our head onto a piece of paper and call it a “to-do list”.

Did you recall everything you didn’t get to and promise yourself you’d get it done the day the kids went back to school?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GET BACK ON TRACK NOW!!

Oy vey. That’s paralyzing!

Which results in not getting as much done as we think we ‘should’.

After all, if September is the New January, we’re supposed to jump in with both feet!

Which feels sucky & hard & impossible & annoying & overwhelming & frustrating.

Here’s what happens: we don’t actually get back on track until October.

Which causes us to judge ourselves pretty harshly!

Take a break from that mentality.

September can still be the New January – but let’s be intentional about it!

There’s a LOT to do. And we don’t have as much time as we think in any given day.

We need a plan.

Instead of dumping everything out onto a piece of paper…

With insane expectations…

And shoulding all over yourself…

Be overtly clear with yourself about what you want. Make a plan. Chip away a little at it each day.

Here’s an example to help:

What I want:

  • Launch my online coaching program 10/1.
  • Get 20 Founder members in there.
  • Help these Creative Women get their ideas into the world.

My Plan:

  • Er’ry day, work one hour on marketing.
  • Focus on Facebook ads, videos, and an online free class.
  • Connect with applicants via voice-on-voice Discovery Calls.

If I do one hour of marketing every day (in addition to all my other work), that’s 30 hours of marketing!

That’s a LOT of marketing!! I can really make some headway with 30 hours of marketing!

What do you want to make headway on?
How can you do it in small chunks each day?

Be honest:

  1. What do you want?
  2. What’s your time limit?

15 minutes? 30? 45? 60?
BE REALISTIC!

  1. Do you have to give up anything to make this happen?

Small shifts create big results because they accumulate – without feeling too hard.

You don’t need to overhaul your life

– just the thought that it all needs to be done yesterday.

If life has become a mixed tape of “excuse/reason/bullshit/disappointment”, stop playing that recording.

Make a plan & move forward to you where you want to go! Ready? Let’s go.

PS: I’m hosting a “Get Back on Track” Live Workshop on Monday, 9/24.

It’s a day of looking back, looking ahead, making realistic changes, and liking where your life is heading next!

Learn more & register here.

 

Why I Cried in Yoga Class (and 3 Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way)

I quietly leave yoga class because I ‘need to go to the bathroom.’

What I really need is a frickin’ break.

Once in the safety of a stall, the tears roll. This pisses me off.

WHY AM I CRYING OVER YOGA???

This is so silly! It’s yoga! It’s my CHOICE to be here! It’s my damn practice!

But I suck lately at yoga. I cheated on myself in a big way by letting my practice slide all summer.

I let summer have its way with me, and now…I’m way less strong. Far less fit. Almost inflexible.

And this damned class is so DAMN HARD!

I’m not crying because Yoga. I’m crying because I realize I chose having fun and being leisurely over attending to my practice – which is important to me.

But if it’s so important, why didn’t I choose it?

You might feel this way this time of year, too.

September feels like a time to re-boot – a way to get back to yourself. Get back on track.

It might be that I’m hard-wired as a high school teacher, but I find a new school year exciting! September, like January, is a place we get to start again!

Is there something you let go of this summer? Something IMPORTANT to you, but you made other choices?

It’s ok. Have a good cry, scream, pout, or glass of wine about it.

Acknowledge that you made different choices, and honor what you did instead. Maybe that’s what you needed!

And now that you see it – does it help to beat yourself up?

Nope. You know it doesn’t.

You can get back on track. It doesn’t have to be so hard. Don’t create drama around it.

Just decide what you want. Make a plan. And take a step forward.

Here are 3 ways to help you get there:

  1. The Back on Track Pad! A tool to help you take daily steps to get what you want. Grab one here!
  2. The Back on Track Workshop: Live locally? Work with me in person & set yourself up for success this fall! Register here.
  3. The Idea Space: An online group coaching program to help you bring your ideas to life! Learn more here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom line: getting on track again is so dang hard.

It’s not easy without support.

Take action in ways that feel right for you – your life – your particular dream.

Ready to re-boot? Just decide already. Go ahead & have your pity party. Then…move on!

Xo, Jen

 

 

September Monthly Theme: September is the New January

Here, on the edge of summer, I want to explore a lie most of us tell ourselves:

This summer, I’ll slow down.

Did you race to fit in all that summer allows?

I did. Here’s why:

Summer’s a paradox:

  • We want it to be leisurely. And we want to do all the things & see all the people!
  • We love the long days. And sometimes they feel too long.
  • We embrace the lack of a schedule. And sometimes it feels chaotic.

That little AND word makes us feel like we’re not keeping promises to ourselves!

It’s like, I’ll let the kids stay up reaaaaalllllyyyyy late because – FIREFLIES, AND JEEZ, just go the hell to sleep!

Or, I’m planning trips to the lake, the mountains, the shore…the Fair, AND I want to stay home & rock on my hammock.

We want it all, and we deserve it – because in CNY, we get about 3 ½ minutes of summer!!

AND this summer was an absolute gem.

AND…this summer, my clients (and I) struggled keeping promises to…

  • Eat well.
  • Make time for themselves.
  • Get stuff done for their businesses.
  • Move & exercise.
  • Keep the house together.
  • Plan for fall.

And now – we’re ready! Let’s get our act together!

After all, September is the New January!!

It’s time to get our shit in order, accomplish our goals, and look to the near future.

BUT before you try to get all your shit in order, please do one little thing.

Think back to April & May. Think back to the chill in the air. Think back to the promise of an upcoming Summer season.

What did you want for your summer? Your life? Your SELF?

Think back to the long June nights as we headed toward the Solstice. To fires & BBQs & walks & swims & floats.

Think back to the dreams & goals you had coming out of a long, gray, cold, wet winter & spring.

Think about all that you enjoyed. And savor it.

AND maybe you wanted something more or different. Maybe you let some shit go that you wanted to attend to.

Regretting all that won’t help. Instead, take time to look back on your Summer and relish it. What did you want? What did you create?

And as you dip a toe & get back to real life, I highly recommend this tool: the Back on Track Notepad, and I use it every day. You can grab one here from Annie Taylor Design online!

It helps me achieve my goals – whether it’s spending more time at the lake or working on my business.

I’d love to hear: what’s one thing you’re really proud that you did this summer?

Shoot an email or leave a comment. I’m collecting answers to share what summer looks like for real people!

Xo, Jen

PS: I’m hosting a “Get Back On Track” Live Workshop on Monday, 9/24. It’s a day of looking back, looking ahead, making realistic changes, and liking where your life is heading next! Learn more & register here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reality of My Life is Not Something to Aspire to

Who in your social media feed do you need to snooze, unfollow, or unfriend?

There were peeps in my feed who brought me nothing but unpleasantness.
Irritation. Downright anger!

I had to hide some of them because I kept comparing my life to theirs.

It can be anyone you follow-

  • An inspiring author who doesn’t seem to ever have a bad day.
  • An entrepreneur who only makes more & more & more money.
  • A lifestyle influencer who never gains a pound but eats whatever she wants.

None of this is reality. Everything can be curated & cultivated.

Check out my feed & blog posts. You’ll see lots of summer days at my mother-in-law’s lake house. Friends & family visits. Vacations.

Lots of inspiring stories of self-awareness that have gotten me unstuck.

But I also hope you see the things that hold me back. Struggles with my weight. Pain in recognizing my patterns. Fearing parenting failures.

I wonder if the hard work of having my own business is worth it.

I cry. I’m TIRED. I’m FEARFUL.

Will my new group program be a flop? Will I help anyone?
Does anyone read this blog? Am I helping anyone?
Are my ideas relevant?

I worry about ALL that shit. And I’m absolutely crawling over the finish line every Friday night.

It ain’t pretty.

Here’s a good example of the reality:

I work 50 – 70 hours a week on my business. It’s NOT what I’d want any of my own clients to do.

But I’m a total workaholic. So is my husband. It’s NOT something to aspire to.

I’m trying to play more – I’ve talked openly about what a hard time I have with this.

Where I am in my business right now requires a lot of attention, so in order to enjoy the 3 ½ minutes of summer in Syracuse, it often means I’m up at 6am on a weekend to get work done.

Then I can play.

Maybe you think I’m doing all of this in 10 hours a week. I am not.

YET! 😉

It may seem on my feed that I’m always at the lake. That I have an always-harmonious relationship with my son, hubs, BFF, & family.

NOPE. Hell no. I annoy them, and vice versa. We work through it, but it’s nowhere near perfect.

Is there someone in your life you’re comparing yourself to?

Have you moved beyond inspiration and into comparison?

Are you judging yourself and telling yourself that it’s “motivation”?

 

‘Cuz that’s bullshit. You don’t get motivated judging yourself.

Stop judging. Stop comparing. Start deciding who you want to be.

What do you want your life to look like?

It’s pretty maybe 50% of the time, and anyone who says different is not feeling their feelings.

They’re eating, drinking, or buffering their feelings.

This week, please notice as you scroll. Who’s feed/blog/videos/posts is not serving you?

Stop comparing yourself to other people and start comparing yourself to other versions of you.

Who you used to be.
Who you are now.
Who you want to become.

 

What do you want?
How are you gonna get it?
What needs to change?

Don’t look to anyone else but yourself to answer those questions!

Need support in seeing the good, the possibility? My online group coaching program The Idea Space can possibly help. We can chat about it or you can sign up here.

The program launches September 24th, and 20 Founders get an incredible value at $97/month. After 9/24, that price disappears.

 

 

If you don’t need support, maybe you just need to snooze someone! Take back your feed!