Turns out, the stress you feel is all in your mind. So change your thoughts already!
Over the last 9 months, pregnancy has taught me so much about the importance of slowing down, looking after myself, being present in the moment, and most of all, trusting the perfection and wisdom that surrounds us.
If you are reading this, you probably feel overwhelmed and are dealing with anxiety, pushing too hard to make things happen. In short, you're exhausted and drained from trying to be all things to everybody. And in a state of "go, go, go" like that, slowing down and taking a break can seem nearly impossible.
However it's not impossible, at least that's what I've found via powerful insights I've gained during this very special time in my life. These insights can help you to break free from the habit of stress and exhaustion and find effortlessness and peace on the other side.
By doing less, you achieve more
I used to think that if I did a lot than I would achieve more. I found myself busy all the time, working 12-hour days, racing around thinking about that next work meeting, or that exta event I needed to squeeze in because of the perceived opportunities it would hold. My calendar was constantly full barely leaving any time at all for friends, as I would need to book months in advance.
But now, this way of operating has changed. These days, I look at my calendar and see that I have more white space in it than I do meetings. I can be spontaneous and meet with people if and when I chose. I ensure that I have enough time in the day to not only work, but also to rest, so that my body meets my developing baby's needs (as well as my own).
I've found that I actually know where to place my focus now. With less to do, I find myself being guided to do activities that have more impact on my life and business than they used to. I am more able to discern what activities are worth pursuing and which ones aren't based on creating space to actually hear and listen to my intuition.
The end result is that I have become much more effective than I used to be (actually productive versus just endlessly busy-busy) and I save my energy in the process. It turns out, we really don't need to push ourselves as hard as we think.
Listen to your body
You hear this over and over, but in our daily lives, we really do numb out and forget to listen to the very clear wisdom of our bodies. When you are busy, pushing for results, and trying to "make" things happens, everything's good until your body starts telling you a different story. How often have you skipped lunch entirely? Forgotten to go to the bathroom during the day? Felt so tired you've dozed off at work? Do you only give yourself permission to rest if you are actually sick versus before it gets that far, when you are beginning to feel really run down?
Instead of listening to your body, do you take some medicine, a shot of coffee and keep going? Sometimes we are not even aware of what our body is trying to tell us, as we are too hell bent on going, going, going. At least that's what it was like for me, until the 7th week of my pregnancy, when I was forced to stop because I was so sick and depleted that I really had no choice at that juncture. All I wanted to do was sleep. I couldn't understand why I was so tired and then in dawned on me, my body was making up for lost time. It was making up for all those days I had pushed it too far while running around and not listening to its pleas for me to take care of myself.
What I learned is this — if you don't stop and slow down once and awhile (by choice), something will stop you and force the break upon you. The body is wise like that. So why not listen to what your body needs to keep it fine-tuned and happy versus pushing it to the breaking point? It will reward you wonderfully for doing so.
Trust your natural rhythm
Do you constantly wish you were further along than you are? Feeling as if you must achieve more, must get more done? Well, that's how I used to feel, until I had another insight, which was that there is a natural rhythmn to all that occurs. And we are a part of that rhythmn. In fact, if we slow down and listen, we will soon see that there is a time and a place for everything. There is a right time for us to plant, grow, harvest and reap.
I don't know about you, but too many times I wanted to reap NOW, and jump the stages. In times like that, I would be driven to comparison, worried constantly about when I would be rewarded financially, and wishing that I could be further ahead and immediately have the success that I had always dreamed of. I lived my life in impatient pursuit of some magical future in which, once it arrived, then everything would be fine in my life. But, of course, that day never came and I was hating the journey, feeling very insecure.
Now, I am allowing my life to be led by the natural rhythmn of things. I spent plenty of time planting seeds, tending them, and harvesting in my career and personal life. It's only now that I am reaping. But you simply can't reap a seed before it has time to grow! If I'd been aware of these stages and allowed my life to be in tune with them, I could have enjoyed the journey of my life more and left stress behind.
When a new opportunity comes my way now and I am not able to fully embrace it because of where I am in life, I trust that the time will be right when it's supposed to be. In the past, I would have stressed about missing opportunities but now I see that there is perfect time and place for everything. If something is meant to be, it will be.
A sense of effortless comes from our thoughts
I used to go on vacation and become really restless. I would find it hard to sit still or relax. I was baffled by why this was so challenging. Maybe you find relaxing difficult, too? Meanwhile, there are others who are totally okay with taking a break. They can really savor the down time of just doing nothing.
What's the difference between a person like that, who loves staring out peacefully over the ocean on vacation, versus the person that needs to keep busy constantly and may never take a holiday? The answer is simple — a true sense of peace and effortlessness is not based on what you are doing, it's based on the nature of thought taking shape in your mind in any given moment.
Stress isn't caused by what you're doing. It's caused by how you think about what you're doing (and taking those thoughts seriously). Stressful thinking is exactly that — just thoughts. And those thoughts say nothing true about who you are or about your situation, although it may "feel" that way. Once you realize that the two are not related, you will instantly start to experience a sense of peace and effortlessness inside.
The more I've been able to see this for myself, the less stress I carry around in my mind (and body). As a result more feelings of effortlessness have grown.
Success is not a destination but a path you create for yourself
I used to believe that success was a set destination — a place I had to get to. I don't know about you, but I used to chase the notion that "once I'm successful, then my life will be be fine!"
"Success" was linked to how many clients I had, the amount of money I was making, the number of deals I was finalizing, quantity of books sold and talks I was invited to give. And I would feel like a failure if I didn't achieve (in numbers) what I set out to do. This approach to attaining success drained my energy and made me feel like there was no such things as "enough".
It wasn't until I realized that success isn't a destination but a journey, and that I can define it anyway I want to, that things changed. I no longer define myself by my results. Who I am and how I feel isn't determined by tasks completed or measurable numbers on my bottom line. It's a feeling I create for myself internally, which can change from moment to moment, and from day to day.
I have met far too many people who perceive themselves to be failures even while being considered extremely successful by the rest of the world. I have also met people who feel hugely successful when they don't have much fame or fortune. By disentangling myself from this myth of what success looks like, I am no longer held prisoner by my results defining me. Now, I am the only one to define what success means to me, leaving me with a sense of peace and tranquility, dissolving "the need to do."
The overall outcome of these realizations have ironically allowed me to now build a far more solid and "successful" business effortlessly, with better results than ever before.