Start celebrating what you have done, and let go of what’s left to do.
I’m talking to myself here more than anything, but you too.
For the longest time, I’ve been in a toxic habit of completing one thing, then moving straight on to the next; without even stopping to breathe or acknowledge myself.
I wrote a book, then went straight on to writing the next one.
One goal gets completed, and I immediately set a new one.
It’s that achiever gene in me; I feel successful and accomplished when I’m achieving work-related things. So I try and achieve as much as I can each day. On the rare occasions when I get everything done on my list, I use that time to do something extra (usually work related). And on the many times when I don’t complete everything, I feel like I’ve failed; even though it’s probably because I’ve loaded too much on my plate.
It’s tough trying to find the right balance between pushing yourself to do great work, and making sure you’re not over-doing it. If I’m being honest, I’m still striving for this balance. And it’s an every day commitment. Each day, you’re asked to check in with yourself, to reflect, and see if you’re at peace or in fear. The longer you let yourself free run without doing this, the deeper into the fog you’ll go. And it becomes harder to find your way out.
Yes, there will always be more to do, more we can do. And striving for greatness every day is no bad thing. But striving for joy is great. Play is great, Laughter is great. Love is great. Friendship is great. Pleasure is great. I often forget this.
Greatness should not be limited to one thing, whether it’s our work, or our responsibility as a parent.
I’ve experienced a lot of growth over the past decade, and achieved more than I used to believe was possible. But I know in my heart I’m not done yet. This is why I find myself pushing, trying to do more each day. I know what I want to build, and I want to feel like I’m evolving every day.
Writing lists and checking things off helps me on this journey. Pushing myself to do bigger and scarier things moves me forward on my soul path. But there are many other things that will help me grow, too. Other things that I’m not great at prioritising or creating space for.
Like going for a walk by the ocean. Giving myself permission to take a day off and just relax. Making art. Baking a cake from scratch. Dressing up on a random Tuesday just because. Taking time to water my plants. Having sex and receiving pleasure without thinking about something else. Laughing until my belly hurts. Heading to a place I’m yet to explore. Planning something fun to do at the weekend. Collaging and scrapbooking and DIYing. Journaling. Dreaming.
I used to spend hours dreaming as a teenager. My inner achiever can’t help but look back and see that as a waste of my precious time; time I will never get back again. And maybe I was wasting my time, at times. Perhaps I should have left the house more, and said yes to invitations, and started building something. But there’s something about that spaciousness and simplicity that I miss.
I miss lying on my bed for hours, listening to music, and allowing my imagination to roam wild and free. There’s something within that holds me back from doing this, without guilt flooding in. And this is not healthy. This is not living at peace, this is living in fear. Of not getting enough done, not ticking enough boxes, not being successful enough, not feeling like I’m enough.
So I’m writing this for me, and for you.
Stop writing endless lists each day, then criticising yourself for not getting everything done. Strive for greatness, always, but know that greatness comes in many shapes and forms and colours. Let go of what is left to do; there will always be more.
Don’t miss this moment, right here, right now.
Start celebrating everything you have accomplished; all your achievements and all that you already are. Be kind and loving to yourself. Acknowledge the great work you’ve done, and the soul path you’re committed to walking on.
Without a doubt, deep work is required to take you where you want to go, but it’s not the only thing that will get you there.