reach your goals faster with intentional breaks
Consider this: When we’re not reaching our goals as fast as we want, it’s EASY to “work harder.”
The first time I heard this, I didn’t get it. Working hard, is hard. It’s hard work. How is it easy?
It’s easy because it’s what we know. We know how to work hard. We know how to put our heads down and churn out content. We grew up having “work hard and you’ll be successful” pounded into our heads.
When you figure out how to build your own website, you spend COUNTLESS HOURS working on the dang thing. When you figure out how to create visual thingies on Pinterest, you spend COUNTLESS HOURS playing with all the templates, colors, fonts, designs, icons, etc. You get the idea.
And it’s all EASY (once we’ve figured out how to do all that). The outcomes are known. When you fool around with your website, you know that if you change this thing on the back end, the site will look this way. When you fool around on Canva, you know that you’re creating a cool visual quote thumbnail for Facebook.
And the crazy part is that when we work that hard and still don’t get the results we want, we tell ourselves that it’s because we didn’t work hard enough! So we work even harder! Until we get burnt out. And STILL we like to tell ourselves that we didn’t work hard enough or that we’re failures or that other people are hustling harder so why can’t we?
But guess what? ALL of that is the easy way out. The easy way out of discomfort and the fear of uncertainty. The HARD thing to do is also THE biggest way you can reach your business goals faster.
Below, you’ll learn exactly how I went from taking 3 days just to write ONE blog post, feeling constantly stuck with marketing, and going through cycles of working hard and burning out to working just a few hours a week and producing quality work consistently. It now takes me 30 minutes to write one blog post and another 30 minutes the next day to review, reorganize, edit, and schedule it. Maybe another hour or so writing the corresponding email and social media posts.
On top of that, my self doubts don’t show up nearly as much as they used to. The ones that would tell me that my writing sucks or that nobody reads my content or that I’m never going to work with enough clients or make enough money.
And to be honest, as I sit here (in Pompeii at the moment during a monthlong Europe trip) writing this for you, I have not reached the level of success that I’d like to see yet in a financial sense. Imposter syndrome therefore does pop up, but sitting in Pompeii writing a blog post in 30 minutes really beats sitting at my old apartment in Culver City, CA staring at an empty computer screen or cleaning the house to avoid writing. And feeling really crappy about myself. For days. Sometimes weeks.
So my advice to you is...
Take more intentional breaks
What? Taking a break seems counterintuitive, right? But the thing is, inspiration and ideas come to you a lot easier when you are in a state of love, joy, and peace, which isn’t usually the case for those of us who are used to hard work.
When I used to force myself to sit in front of my computer, my mind would draw blanks. What the hell do I write about? Actually, I lie. It would draw up and play on repeat all the self doubts that I’ve ever had. Who am I to talk about this stuff? I haven’t made much money. Who’s going to read this? Nobody ever interacts with my posts either.
We grew up learning that we need to focus, keep our heads down, work hard, climb the ladder, and eventually, we’ll reach out goals. But what this does is it keeps us busy and not much more. Oftentimes, it keeps us busy working at things that we already know somewhere deep down isn’t getting us any closer to our goals.
This might be why you have experienced that you’ll start working towards a goal, work very hard, and then right at the last minute, or right before you seem like you should be hitting success, you quit. It’s actually a very good thing when this happens. It means that you’re no longer in alignment with the work that you’re doing and it’s time to take a break and consider what thoughts to think, feelings to feel, and actions to take next that are more in alignment with your goals.
When to know you need a break:
You’re feeling stuck
Ideas are not flowing
You’re working hard and not getting the results you want
You’re working hard and not making progress
You’re frustrated and burnt out
Thinking about work makes you feel awful instead of good
Feeling good? At work? What’s that?
What does an intentional break mean?
Most of us are taught to take breaks when something is stressing us out. Work is stressing you out, you need more “me” time, go run a hot bath. But then you get into said bath and all the stuff from work is still on your mind and even when you finally get out (and only because you’re pruny all over or your kids are screaming on the other side of the door), you feel even more drained because now you’ve wasted time while you could have just been doing the thing that needed to get done.
Taking a break from something while trying to avoid it or run away from it just allows that thing to stay on your mind, continuing to raise your stress levels, so that your breaks never ever seem long enough.
On the other hand, when you take an intentional break, you come back from that break with a fresh, clear, inspired mind. And you might even come up with a solution that was right under your nose but your logical mind would never in a million years have thought of it. That’s the magic of an intentional break.
And this is how you do it...
How to take an intentional break:
Think of something to do that brings you love, peace, or joy.
Set an intention that you will do that thing so that you can return to work feeling refreshed and inspired. If you want a solution to a problem, you can even set that as your intention, i.e. I am going to play right now so that I can receive a wonderful solution to my problem.
Go do the thing and FEEL as much love, peace and joy as you can while keeping your intention in mind.
Come back from your break feeling refreshed, energized, and inspired...and maybe even armed with a solution to your problem.
In other words, go PLAY
When children are told to go play, they have the intention of having the best fun of their lives. They have the intention of satisfying any curiosities, fulfilling desires to have an adventure, and basically do whatever they heck they most want to do.
As adults, how many of us still do this? How many of us actually play with that same feeling and intention as when we were kids?
As we grew up, we began learning more and more rules as to what grownups can or cannot do, should and should not do. We can smoke and drink, but we can’t sing into a hairbrush with abandon without closing all the drapes. We can go camping, but it’s weird if we decide to sing and dance around the fire and howl at the moon. We can go to amusement parks, but we can’t giggle and lick our hands all over when we get melted ice cream all over them.
I urge you to ditch the rules and act like a child again with that same level of abandon, joy, excitement, fun, curiosity, and adventure. It doesn’t have to look wild, it just has to be your version of play.
So go play. And watch what magic ensues.
Remember that putting your head down and staying busy is the EASY way out of discomfort and feeling out of control. All it does is it creates temporary relief but long-term discomfort. Working hard and not considering whether you’re in alignment with your true self only creates more unhappiness further on down the line. You may eventually reach the dollar amount you thought you wanted to make, but you’ll have none of the happiness or fulfillment.
The harder thing to do is to stop, take an intentional break in which you tap into your true inner self, the one who is all-wise, all-loving, all-patient, and all-kind....and listen for the answers. It’s temporarily more difficult because we have all these rules in our head about needing to keep working hard, but you’ll reach your goals so much faster, with much more joy on the way, and much more fulfillment once you get there.
Wishing you all the best and all the love,
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