Let's get real for a moment.
How often do we set ourselves up to fail? How often do we base our success off of how much it looks like someone else's success? How often do we give ourselves goals that we can not possibly achieve and then are constantly let down by our performance or disappointed in ourselves?
The more we set ourselves up to fail, and see our efforts as not enough, the more we will experience the devastating side effects of emotional and physical burnout.
Unrealistic expectations. These two words carry so much weight and make our minds reel, but why? MOM GUILT. Let's dissect that for a moment shall we? Mom guilt boils down to one word. Shame. Yuck! What a nasty word that is! So here we are, running a million miles an hour, dragging a ball and chain of SHAME around? I'm not good enough.. I'm not smart enough.. I'm not talented enough.. I'm not enough. Who made up this crap?
If you are resonating with these words, can you just picture me inside your bubble right this very moment shaking you awake?! It's time to wake up and get out of that nasty nightmare of a mentality! How do we show up when we feel guilt and shame? NOT. WELL. Not well at all!
You are not only enough, you are MORE than enough!
Mom guilt comes when we believe that we must be everything for everyone at every given time. It's completely unattainable. We set ourselves up for failure because we are focused on what other people perceive us to be rather than who we are or who we are striving to become. The reality is I am never going to get approval from all of my peers. All of my peers have different opinions of what success looks like, of what good parenting looks like, of what keeping a house up looks like and loving your spouse looks like and ALL of these different things. Self Care, self love, the way you cook, the way you shop, the way you eat, the way you dress.. All of these things are subject to people's perspectives and people's opinions. Why am I concerning myself with the opinions of all of these people that matter less to me than the people that reside in my own home?
You want to talk about a fast track to burnout. You start with putting your value or measuring your value based off of the perceptions of the people around you. We can't be everything for everyone at every given time, but we can be everything we need to be for the person or purpose in which we've delegated that time!
It all boils down to our ability to be present in everything we do. Present with our children when we delegate time for our children. Present with our spouse when we delegate time with our spouse. And present with ourself and our ability to unplug. Present with our work and present with our faith. Regardless of what we want to accomplish, we can be present in each and everything we do as long as we allow ourselves to focus on one given thing at one given time.
Burnout mode is not attractive. Burnout mode does not accomplish great things. Burnout mode destroys families and relationships. Learning to say no. Letting go of that sense of failure and that guilt is one of the most important and influential lessons that I have ever learned. We can really only carry a handful of things and do them well. What matters to me and what matters to you may be different and that's perfectly okay! The judgment that we give one another and the judgment that we receive from ourselves, all stems from insecurity. Someone's ignorant words will not hurt me if I am confident in who I am and what I'm trying to accomplish. If I am confident in my priorities and what that looks like for my family. And likewise, I will not be so quick to judge other women when I am confident in myself because I won't feel threatened that their path and their priorities and the way they choose to achieve them looks different from mine. If you find yourself constantly feeling guilty or constantly going on the defense, trying to prove something, take a good hard look at the root of what's causing that. And if it's insecurity, then let's hit that one head on until you feel confident in what you're trying to achieve.
So how do we even begin to get over this?
First and foremost, we start our days with intention.
Take five minutes to write down all of your to do's. Then look at them and realize that there's no way that you could possibly accomplish everything. So if something's going to fall off and needs to be the one that's the lowest on the priority list. So take the time to rank each of your to do's by priority. Take an honest inventory of how you managed your time at the end of the day and determine if your actions and what you accomplished for inline with the priorities that you set out for that day. If the answer is yes, you probably feel really good, but if the answer is no, don't lose heart. The biggest thing is if you recognize that the answer is no, then you have an opportunity to step into something greater than you are right this minute. That should not deflate you, that should not get you down, that should excite you.
We should always feel enthusiastic about taking on an opportunity to be better than we are. Right in this very moment.
Discouragement is one of the adversary's nastiest and yet most effective and commonly used tools. It shuts us down so fast. We get caught in that nasty comparison trap and we get stuck on a hamster wheel of I'm not enough. Stop that!
Burnout is the exact opposite of balance. If we can achieve balance than burnout becomes obsolete.
"Balanced" doesn't mean that we have equal parts to every aspect in our lives. Five hours here, five hours there, five hours over there.. That is not what balance is. Balance is the ability to be perfectly present during the time that we have allotted within each of the areas of our lives. If all I have to give my kids is one hour of my time, one hour of my undivided, uninterrupted time, they will appreciate that more than six hours of me constantly being pulled away. I love Adam Grant's comparison of REM sleep to REM work and our need to be so uninterruptedly involved in what we do in order to be effective and efficient at what we do.
If were asleep on any given night and every 15 minutes an alarm sounded to wake you up, you're not going to feel very well rested even if the 15 minute segments added up to 8 or 9 hours. The same thing goes for everything else we do. How did you feel about your parenting efforts today? Well, when I was pulled away by my work every 15 minutes, pretty darn crummy. How did you feel about what you accomplished at work today? Well, I got interrupted by my colleagues every 15 minutes, so pretty darn crummy. Just like sleep, we get the best of it when we're deep inside that really quality time.
So how do we beat burnout? First we start our day with intention. We set ourselves up by writing down our priorities, ranking them, and then setting out to achieve them perfectly present and uninterrupted. We set clear boundaries for ourselves when it comes to each aspect of our lives, within work, within home, within relationships and within our ability to take care of ourselves. Set those boundaries, clear expectations and boundaries so that you can get deep into each aspect of your life with full intent and purpose.
Balance and freedom lie not in working more, but in working more effectively. In working more efficiently.
We can accomplish more and work less as we set up parameters and boundaries for ourselves and those we love.
The biggest misconception that I want to obliterate from your mind right now is that setting boundaries is somehow tied to a lack of commitment. It is not! Setting boundaries is not a lack of commitment, but rather a commitment to productive work and a commitment to a balanced life as well as an awareness to lack of productivity when you don't set those boundaries. Living a life of balance is living a life of joy. It is giving our all to every aspect that we choose to prioritize within any given day.
I am a firm believer that change is necessary and as change happens in this regard, you will feel energized to work harder and work smarter within the time that you have allotted yourself to do so. And when that time is over and you put work away, you will feel more love and more joy within your family as you choose to be present with them. FULLY present with them. That includes alone time with your spouse and time for you individually.
Take that time.
Take the time to disconnect in order to truly reconnect. Set your intention and commit to living a balanced life. Start with one thing, just ONE THING today. Track your progress and celebrate the little victories along the way!
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