I woke up on January 1st feeling…well…tired.
No, I wasn't hungover 🙂
It has been a busy holiday season and I have two young kids so “breaks” come few and far between these days. Any other parents feel me?
I realized that each year around this time I try to take the time to give myself some big, measurable goals for the next 6-12 months. Usually these focus on volunteer commitments, health & fitness (often half-marathons), work goals, networking and always less chocolate eating (that one I fail miserably at). I've realized I have become the queen of “busy”.
So I took a current inventory of all the “to do's” and current commitments on my list, which include:
– Being a mom to an 18 month old & 4 year old, grocery shopper, laundry maker, house cleaner (I do have some help here), dog walker, head chef & baker
– Full time job as Executive Director of CKNW Orphans' Fund
– Running NetworkinginVan.com, managing content, event posts and social accounts
– Communications Co-Chair of Vancouver Board of Trade Women's Leadership Circle
– Gala committee member of Forum for Women Entrepreneurs
– Contributor for Vancity Buzz
– Co-Chair of Women Leaders in Non-Profit
– Co-Chair of Steveston Moms Network
– No wonder I have no time for fitness anymore
– Mentor…..and more…
And I started to feel my chest get tighter and tighter. I know this feeling all too well. Being a driven, type-A, achiever this has been my life for the last 10 years or so. I am the one who loves to tick boxes and achieve, achieve, achieve! I personally think that being “busy” has been a way I have dealt with my anxiety. No time to think about that anxious feeling in my chest, just keep going, going, going.
About 7 years ago I started suffering from debilitating panic attacks where I felt like I was either going to faint, have a heart attack or that the walls were coming down around me. It was downright terrifying and so I made big steps at that time to claw back. But slowly, I've let my “me time” slip. And add two kids, a dog, a bigger job and even more volunteer work and I realize it might be time to slow down before I crash and burn.
I have made the firm decision to do less in 2014. My goal is to have fewer goals. And for the first time in my life, that doesn't scare the shit out of me.
I know I am enough. I know that the long checklist of everything I do does not define me. I know I am going to be okay doing less and doing it well.
In May 2013 I was blessed to participate as a community leader with the Minerva Foundation for BC Women Learning to Lead program. It was a full weekend retreat at UBC that brought together 75 women (including 25 grade 11 girls, 25 emerging leaders and 25 community leaders) with a focus on talking and learning values based leadership. It was a life-changing weekend for me and I drew so much positivity from it.
One thing I did notice that somewhat scared me was what I was hearing from the grade 11 girls. The intense pressure and scrutiny that they were putting on themselves to “do it all” – from varsity sports, student council, straight A's, extra-curricular. I felt overwhelmed listening to them! I realize that a lot of girls are getting these messages that all of this is SO important, so imperative to their happiness and many of them were suffering from anxiety at such a young age.
I think we as a society put an inordinate amount of glorification on people who are “busy” and one of my goals is to try and stop placing my value on what I do and put more value on who I am.
Our runway of life is long and our opportunity to make our mark can be endless. I love Amelia Earheart's quote: “Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off. But if you don't have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.” I plan on continuing to build that runway but also to stop and admire it more often.
Would love to know your thoughts on having less goals! Comment below.