About a year ago, I had a complete meltdown at work. I was set to present a training session and when I arrived in the parking lot, I physically could not get out of the car. Tears streamed down my face and all I could say was "I can't do this anymore." My chest felt tight and my heart was palpitating. Was it because only the night before, my son begged me to turn off my computer and focus on him? Was it the death of a close family friend? Or was it the pressure of wearing too many hats as a full-time employee, wife, mom, entrepreneur and author? Whatever it was, my body had simply had enough.
Have you ever felt this way? Has your body ever given you signals that you need to slow down? Many women and men wake up every morning headed to work as an employee or an employer. We are driven to be successful in order to survive in a society that places an emphasis on money, power and respect. As women, we often have to wear our Superwoman cape as we work to balance family and maintaining a lifestyle that maybe our parents could not afford.
Is this busy life worth becoming sick over? Is it worth missing my child grow up? My meltdown caused me to start looking at life and how I defined success just a little differently. Redefining success is one of the first tasks to living a simpler life and is relative to each individual person. In my book, Boss Lady (Seven Life Principles to Reign in the New Economy), I share my journey to living a purposeful life using wisdom to succeed in an economy, despite what my paycheck looks like.
There are seven steps I took in order to realign my life that were beneficial to me, my family and my dreams. Once I took these steps, I was able to take back my life and live fearlessly.
Here they are, seven steps to start smelling the roses:
1. Renew Your Mind: In the hustle and bustle of life, with social media and everything else as constant temptations, we have to deactivate. Take time away from the computer, television and anything else that distracts you from living in the present.
2. Reintroduce Yourself: It's easy to get caught up and life and forget who you are. Take time to get reacquainted with you. Make a list of the things you love to do and do it.
3. Take a Walk: I found that taking a walk allowed me to enjoy nature. It also allowed me to get in a quiet place that forced me to focus on the now.
4. Make each day purposeful: Jot down at least two things you would like to do each day. Maybe you haven't spoken to a friend or family member in a while. Make it your business to give them a phone call. Whatever you do, make sure your goals are attainable. The purpose is to get you to be fully present enjoying the day.
5. Kick Worry to the curb: Worrying does not benefit any of us. It is designed to make us sick. My mother, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, taught me that worrying was the root of evil, so instead of worrying, she focused on the things she could control.
6. Connect with like-minded people: If you surround yourself with positive people, you are forced to smile more, share your dreams without being judged and, overall, given the energy needed to enjoy life.
7. Make a conscious decision to create less stress: The things that cause you stress have to be put into perspective. For example, I still work at my full-time job, but now, I view it as a source of income that allows me to support my entrepreneurial endeavors. I had to reframe how I was viewing my place of employment. Once I did that, I started walking in the door with an extra pep in my step.
The journey to thinking differently about your work and life is not one that comes without a few bumps in the road, but it is your ability to bounce back and smell the roses that will ultimately lead you to living a simpler life.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power" which will take place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.