On a dreary and cold Monday morning this past January, I woke up with my back stiff and my neck and jaw tight, clear indicators for me of the all-too-familiar signs of stress and overwhelm.
For an entrepreneur, in the middle of launching a brand new program, completely rebranding her company and overhauling her website, and having just signed on several new clients, I was in a familiar place of excitement and blinders-on focus.
My body has a sneaky way of making its needs known when my attention is solely focused elsewhere, blatantly at times. And it finally hit me that my body was fuming at me, "enough is enough!"
So what did I do on that wintery and bleak morning?
I booked a two-week vacation to go hiking in the highlands of Scotland.
And I basically replied to myself, "Who says I can't launch my new brand overhaul while ON vacation?"
When I'd imagine going on vacation during an expansionary period of my business, I'd immediately tailspin into stories of:
You can't take a vacation until you complete this launch!
Do you really think you can work and play? That's not how you create results.
This is not a logical choice; you just went on an extended ski trip.
I just need to put my head down for a couple more months, and work work work!
Oh, the irony.
What I was really telling myself was:
You can't have fun and play while you're focused on your business.
You don't deserve a vacation yet.
I create results from pushing myself rather than trusting that I can be and have it all.
On that morning, I made a promise to myself. No more delaying adventure and joy until work is done. When you love what you do, it doesn't have to be one or the other, it's all an adventure.
So I booked those flights without looking back, scheduled a session with my beloved acupuncturist, and planned some time for play in my calendar that week.
By scheduling in my priorities starting with my self-care, I was forced to deal with the deeper issues that were standing on the wings ready to take center stage.
This wasn't just a vacation; it was about truly loving myself.
Exquisite self-care = self-love
By prioritizing me first, I was training myself to focus on what really matters. Just as the flight attendant always reminds us to put on our own oxygen mask first before helping our neighbors, the same rings true with self-love.
Forward to two months later:
I've just returned from two weeks of hiking in the highlands and being one with nature. I never cease to be amazed by how nature rejuvenates the soul.
I spent my days hiking miles upon miles around lochs, exploring picturesque lakes, and falling in love with the Isle of Skye, with the locals, and with myself.
One of the trail markers suggested, "If you feel the connection between soil and soul... why not take the time to also explore...?"
And Great Scott, explore I did!
Fear can often by disguised as reason or logic, "You should stay in the hotel and work today" or "You might regret not completing that now."
I was prepared for my head game nonsense this time and instead chose to silence the mind chatter, trust myself, and explore.
The more I prioritize me, the easier it becomes.
By the trip's end, I was thrilled at the prospect of focused time for business building scheduled in my trip calendar, and the rest of the time devoted to exploration.
The more I prioritize me, the more I experience what having it all looks and feels like.
I successfully launched my rebranded company while away, automated many parts of my business, and am returning home "from vacation" rejuvenated, refreshed and inspired.
And not surprisingly, the more I prioritize me:
The more love I have to give;
The better I serve my clients;
The more connected I am with soul and;
The greater tales of exploration I have to experience and share.
If you're feeling like your life is misaligned, that you don't have time to play or space to breathe, or that you're holding on to beliefs that need to be released...
... take a look in the mirror.
Your relationship with yourself is a representation of who you are as a leader and change maker.
Ask yourself these questions this week:
- If you are enough for who you are in life versus what you do in life, what choices would you make differently?
- What would love choose instead of fear?
- How can you treat yourself the way you wish to be treated?
- What are 3 promises you can make to yourself this week to be a model of self-love for yourself and the ones you love?
- Whether nature connects you with soul or something else (dance, art, music, etc.), what adventure will you embark on this week?
Are you in?
Share in the comments below: the first step in this process is to get courageously honest with yourself. What is the current state of your relationship with yourself?
Catherine A. Wood is the Founder and Head Coach of Unbounded Potential, a personal coaching firm dedicated to helping high performance individuals who are committed to making a big impact in the world. A visionary, entrepreneur and world traveler, clients have referred to her as a guardian angel for their dreams. You can learn more about Catherine and what she offers by visiting her Online, on Instagram, on Facebook, or by signing up for her newsletter and grabbing her Unbounded Potential manifesto.