I’m one of those people who gets more done in a day than most people get done in a week. I’ve always been that way. Why? Because it proved my value to those around me. I believed that if I could do a lot, then my friends, coworkers, bosses, employees, clients, etc. would love me.
Newsflash — it didn’t.
What it did do was alienate people who couldn’t keep up with my insane pace and set unrealistic expectations from clients that I occasionally couldn’t meet when I was having a day when I was only human and not super human. In short, there was no upside to it.
To make matters worse, I filled my calendar to overflowing so that I could be super busy. Because being busy made me feel important. If so many people wanted my time, I must be important, right? Wrong. It just meant I didn’t know how to say “no” and I was pulling my energies in too many directions to actually be effective.
In an effort to make myself feel important (and therefore, loved), I had depleted all my energy, pissed people off, set unrealistic standards that no one could reach, and set myself up for an ever increasing set of expectations that meant that slowing down wasn’t an option without pissing even more people off. And I did it all to myself.
Are you starting to recognize yourself in any of this?
If you had a childhood in which you had to prove your worth to a parent, I’m sure you relate.
I’ll tell you a secret: you don’t need other people to tell you that you’re important. You need to start treating yourself as important.
Important people don’t take meetings with just anyone. Important people put themselves at the top of their own priority lists — not at the bottom. Important people exercise good self care. Important people hire on help when they need it. Important people don’t pile work on themselves, they free up space in their days to contemplate important issues.
Being busy doesn’t make you important — it makes you exhausted.
Instead of being busy, be focused. Know your goal and pursue it. Do not allow yourself to be pulled off course by randomness. Pick ONE THING and make strides towards it until you have achieved it and then pick ONE other thing and pursue that. Once you have mastered this skill of focus, you’ll be able to do parallel goals, but master the focus first.
And begin to recognize that often what you look for outside of yourself is something that you really need to provide within you. So whatever you feel is lacking for you right now — kindness, love, compassion, joy, a sense of feeling welcome and wanted, importance — find a way to give it to yourself. Change your inner dialog, change the way you treat yourself, change the way you see your own contributions (a.k.a. celebrate your successes rather than beating yourself up for your failures), and you will find your life gets happier and more productive.
I wish you a life filled with space to contemplate your newfound joy and happiness.
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