Self help, motivation, personal development…..are we exhausting ourselves by trying to have it all and be more?
One year ago, I read a book I declared changed my life. I’m sure you all read it too.
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis had such a profound impact on my life that I ate up everything Rachel ever wrote, filmed, voiced, podcasted, etc.
I was firmly on the bandwagon and jumped in a car with three friends, drove two hours away to meet this wonder woman who I said, “changed me.”
I read the book twice and listened to the audio book twice.
I was obsessed.
I adopted her way of journaling. Putting down visions as if they were already reality so that you can will it into fruition.
For example, these are some things I would write:
- My business makes $1 million a year
- I am a size 4
- We have a team of people who work with us
- I live on the water
- Our business is Nationally recognized
That’s just a sampling. I wrote those things because Rachel said in her own journal she wrote that she wanted to be a media mogul and it happened. She also writes that she has a home in Hawaii, etc. She says you will work harder to make these dreams reality if you write them as if they have already happened.
It started a ripple effect for me. I devoured all kinds of personal growth books and podcasts by other notable authors and motivational speakers.
After a year of doing this, something has changed, and I couldn’t figure out why.
I stopped journaling.
I bought her new book, Girl, Stop Apologizing. It’s been sitting on my bedside table for over a month. I have not yet opened it.
I haven’t looked at a single page.
The self help podcasts I gobbled up for the past year from the likes of Lewis Howes and Elizabeth Gilbert sitting in my downloads not listened to.
What is happening? Did I lose the fire?
I was speaking with Sarah and it just came out: I’m so exhausted trying to be more when I just want to be me! Who I am right at this very moment!
She felt the same way!
“What’s wrong with who we are? We’re fine!” she said as we were driving from an event one day.
“Not everyone needs to be more. They’re great the way they are. We have worked hard for what we have! It’s ok to enjoy it.”
It made us wonder if others were feeling this way, so we asked a few people on Instagram what they thought. Most of them agreed.
“I think we end up doing more just because a motivational speaker tells us to.”
“It can cause guilt and shame if you’re not always striving.”
“It’s fine to want more, but the culture of today is fear of missing out and no one is satisfied with what they have in the moment.”
So many of us are exhausted of self help and personal development, but no one is talking about it. We just keep buying the books, watching the movies and talking about it on social media. Afraid of dimming that fire.
Just when I thought the whole world (or at least Instagram) was ready to burn their self help books, one friend posted something that struck a chord: Personal Development isn’t for everyone all of the time. Take what you need and leave the rest for those who need it.
Another person said, “use it as a kick start when you feel your energy lagging.”
There it was. Permission to take a break guilt-free.
It’s not about reaching for the stars all the time, or finding parts in your life that need improvement. It’s meant to inspire when you need it. There are times when we need a fire lit under us because growth is continuous and times when we need to rest.
There are people who were me a year ago, with so much self doubt, questions and listening to everyone’s else’s opinion. I’m grateful I read everything I did to get to this point.
While I may not need these reminders today, someone else does! And I hope they read the books and get inspired.
Today the fire in me is dimmed. Instead of seizing the day, I choose to sleep in until after 7am, sip my fourth cup of coffee, eat a cinnamon bun for breakfast and not feel guilty about it.
I want to watch three hours of TV one night and not think, well, this is not how people become CEO’s. This week, I’m going to just get my work done and not reach for more. This week I’m taking a break from being a Boss Babe.
I’m giving myself permission to take a break. All those books and podcasts don’t have to be the gospel. Do I have to think big? Yes, but big within my actual life. I never wanted to be a millionaire or have a Fortune 500 company. That’s not my dream. That’s someone else’s.
The goal for launching This Kinda Life was to be able to work from home and be there for our kids. We have been doing a solid job of that for three years.
Any time I have pushed for more money or anything that was based on materials or status, the Universe has swiftly kicked me in the ass and reminded me that’s not what life is about.
I want happiness, not world domination.
I also want to be inspired. I want to hear real life stories from real life people. I want to learn how they built their lives and how they spend their time changing our world. Let me hear how you overcame challenges. Or how you’re improving your community. I want to cheer you on from my couch and not think about where I’m lacking in my life, or force myself to book a pilgrimage to some far off land to find myself.
Big doesn’t have to be international.
As for journaling, I’m still doing it, but it looks a lot differently now. One side is all about gratitude. The second side looks like this:
- Eat healthy food because it makes me feel good
- Workout 5 days a week because I’m grateful my body can move
- Ski a mountain once with my family
- Continue to work from home to be here for my family
- Travel at least once a year with my family
And if my goals are to spend more time with my family and eat more vegetables, it doesn’t mean I’m giving up on myself. It just means the world can wait for me to ignite that fire again. Rest is ok.
Who’s to say I won’t change my mind in another year and start working on personal development again? I may need that. I hope writers like Rachel and Elizabeth Gilbert and Jen Sincero are still there for me.
Right now I’m so grateful they got me to this point, and hope others who need them, find them. If you need a break I raise my glass to you as you take time to enjoy the hard work you put in.