Should. Should. Should. Should.
I have way more free time now than I used to. More than is healthy, I think. More than I know what to do with, certainly. I seem to be filling that free time with a lot of "should's" though.
My therapist (and Brene Brown) says that "should is shame." That saying I should be doing this or should be doing that is shaming myself for not meeting my own expectations. Also, that is is bad.
Doesn't make it any harder not to do.
Especially when I'm going stir crazy and becoming bored. I worked a 40 - 50 hour workweek as a Lean Manufacturing Specialist. I went to work in the morning, came home in the early evening. Then made dinner, exercised my dogs, and grabbed an hour or two of wind down. Weekends were easier to utilize because I felt the free time keenly, and it was a good thing.
Now, and I won't lie to you, I'm working much less. I'm doing 40 - 50 hours PER MONTH of directly working with clients. I wanted freedom, but be careful what you wish for!
Naturally, I'm making quite a bit less money than I was in my corporate salaried job. And let's be real, I'm "working" a lot more than 50 hours per month. Those are just client hours. All the behind the scenes emails, social media, website, planning, phone calls, and bookkeeping occupy a not insignificant amount of my time. And since I love to be busy, I tend to find a lot of busy work for myself.
You know where I feel shame? In not utilizing this newfound freedom. I have a ridiculous amount of free time. And I'm not using it. Why? I feel paralyzed.
I feel paralyzed by should and by shame. Should I have this much free time? Maybe it means my business won't survive. Maybe it means I'm a bad person for not volunteering more. For not creating more valuable resources for people. For not adding to this world more.
I should be training my own dogs a lot more. I have all this time! I could train them to do so many things! I should go hiking every day. I should travel more.
But, in my subconscious, I fear using my newfound freedom for personal happiness because that would mean I'm not working. I should be working. But I can't be working if I don't have clients. It's a Catch 22. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. So, I sit, often, in my apartment, paralyzed. And shaming myself for not working more.
Slowly, my therapist is helping me to see that it's OK to "just do you." Work ON the business when you feel inspired to do so. If you're working on the business because you feel you SHOULD, it's not going to be your best work. It might be inauthentic, and certainly not full of your usual joy and vigor. And if I leave the apartment to go hiking with the dogs, I'm not missing a work opportunity. And I'm not abandoning my responsibilities as a business owner. I'm just going hiking.
It's HARD! My goodness is it hard. I've been full-time as a small business owner for a year now. And I haven't yet kicked this "should" thing. I know the tenacious overpowering desire to WORK and to be busy comes from my dad. It's genetic. We are both terrible human beings at relaxing. We are just wired to want to be busy. To be doing things that add value.
Ideally, I would LOVE to be super busy in my business. Training dogs brings me so much joy, as does working with their owners. But, patience is not my strong suit. Yes, the business will grow. Yes, I'll get to the point where I have 80 client hours in a month. But it's going to take time. And I can't force it.
Acceptance is tough.
So, I'm trying to fill my days with other things. Networking events, education, taking my own dogs to classes (agility this morning for the first time in over a year!!!!!), dating, spending time with friends, and trying to find fulfillment in self growth. It helps.
I'm still trying to figure out what "just do you" means for me. Who is me? What does me want?
I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I WANT!
(apparently, this affliction affects every other human being on the planet. who knew?)
But life is supposed to be a journey. If I don't live in the moment and enjoy the here and now, I'll never figure it out. For overachievers like me who are constantly scanning the horizon for the next project, living in the moment is akin to standing still. Fidgeting happens.
I don't know if this blog actually has a gem of wisdom buried in it. Sorry. But maybe you feel the same? Maybe I can at least say that it's OK to struggle with this. You're not alone.
The Beautiful Now.
Adventure On :)