Tomorrow I’m hosting an in-person business planning workshop here in Calgary called, “Your Next 6 Months.” It was no surprise to me that it sold out quickly. We all want to feel like we’re making meaningful progress on the work that matters, but often we find ourselves engaged in daily, weekly and monthly activities that don’t actually support that.
And that’s where the tension lays.
We feel tension when our reality does not match our desire – when we feel the tug of “If this is what I say is important to me why am I not doing it?”
And that creates dissonance, self-doubt and gives your itty bitty shitty committee the chance to swoop in and have a party in your mind, reminding you of all the ways you aren’t living up to yourself.
A client of mine is working through her own tension right now as she lets go of the woman she was and writes a new story about the woman she’s becoming. To relieve the tension, she’s got to give herself permission to accept, embrace and even cheerlead this new version of herself – one that no longer looks like the type A, overachieving, work-herself-to-the-bone woman who defined success largely on her professional accomplishments.
I too am navigating an inner tension. With this new school year, came a host of changes to my schedule. While once I had a solid four days per week to work with Fridays off for my kids, I now have less than two. This has meant that I’ve had to temper my ambitions to meet my new reality. It means that this year is less about big growth, and more about manageable growth. It means that I’ve got to practice being WAY more discerning about what I say yes to.
And it also means that I’ve had to get really honest about what’s important and what’s not, and how I’ll find the time to do the work that matters, regardless of my schedule.
For me, that’s meant getting up at 5am. I’ve been (mostly) doing this for the past three weeks, in an effort relieve that tension and create less inner conflict. I won’t pretend it’s been easy (although it’s actually getting easier — I’ll write more about it later), but it’s a conscious choice I’m making in service of my business, my creativity and quite frankly, my sanity.
I don’t have a five-step formula to help you relieve the tension in your life and business, but I do know that the first step is to acknowledge it. Look at where you feel conflicted – look for dissonance, anxiety and stress. From there you can start to look for ways to relieve or manage that tension.
Sometimes the solution is to re-engineer your reality. Getting up at 5am is my attempt at closing the gap between the work I want to put out in the world, and my actual time realities.
Other times the solution is to let go. If the tension is caused by an old script that you’ve played thousands of times, then it’s probably time for a new script. Take pen to paper (literally) and write yourself a NEW story — a new definition of success that honours what’s true for you now (not just what was true or what you think should be true).
And still other times, the solution requires a leap of faith. Where there’s tension, there’s also fear. Sometimes we just have to trust that what we want is important enough to us to try — regardless of the outcome. If you’ve been hovering around your potential — taking a leap of faith may be the perfect antidote to your tension. Another client of mine just did this by investing in coaching with me to help her bring her creative dream to life — she could no longer sidestep or avoid the persistent inner nagging that was calling her to write. So she leapt.
Take a moment today and look at where there’s tension in your life and business — what areas feel like a chronic push-pull between what you want and what you’re doing. And ask yourself what’s needed most to diffuse that tension — re-working your reality to support your desires, writing a new story, or taking a leap of faith.
What I do know is that when you choose to choose – when you try something different, things open up and the tension starts to fade.
That leaves more room for actually creating the life and business you want, not just wishing it were so.