New baby, new outlook, and a break
As I sit here writing this, I am T-9 days out from baby #2’s due date.
I was originally planning on writing about something other than what I get into below. But I've been procrastinating for over a week and it wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized why: I was forcing it, hard.
This year has been one of major changes for me in several ways. And it hasn’t been until these past few weeks as I’ve started to physically slow down that I’ve actually taken a mental beat to pause and reflect.
At the start of this year, I made the decision to leave my corporate job. I learned soon after that I was expecting baby #2. While not absolutely unexpected, the timing did take us quite by surprise. My original plan to take a few months off as I considered my next move was immediately turned on its head as my husband and I re-evaluated our lives and what we really wanted and needed as a soon-to-be family of 4.
We made the decision that it was time for me to build my own coaching business, something that I’ve been contemplating for a long time. And since we agreed on that plan just about 5 months ago, I have hustled. I have filled my days with classes, courses, clients and endless lists of things I felt I needed to do to reach success quickly. All while watching my baby boy become a full-on, non-stop, tantrum-throwing toddler and growing more pregnant by the day.
It’s been a mother f'in whirlwind, to put it mildly.
I have been hyper-aware of this unique time in my life. I am incredibly grateful for the the chance to go it on my own, but simultaneously, unnervingly anxious about the financial strain this puts on our family. I have never not worked in a full-time, stable, corporate job. And while the flexibility and freedom of working for myself was one of the main motivations for starting this biz, it has put me face-to-face with scores of underlying stories and beliefs about what my business should look like, how I need to build it, and my own abilities.
In looking at the last several months, I can see that these insecurities thrust me into non-stop motion and action. Like wanting to climb the ladder in the corporate world, I felt the need to be productive. To have tangible things (website, clients, $$, etc) to prove that I wasn't 'wasting my time'.
And as I rounded the corner into my third-trimester, I could feel myself become more and more anxious. I wasn't getting the results I wanted. I wasn't going to be where I wanted to be by the time the new baby came. No matter how scheduled I was or how hard I hustled, I wasn't going to reach, or even come close, to certain goals I set for myself.
And one day I asked myself the same question I ask clients when they are struggling under the weight of to-do lists and their own incredibly high expectations.
Why am I doing all of this stuff? Why am I doing this in the first place? Why is it important to me to have these very arbitrary things checked off before the baby comes?
I realized I was muscling my way through business building, the same way I used to muscle my way through periods of my corporate life. I was trying to get ahead, to win, to look good, to impress the boss. And while it's ironic that now I am actually my own boss, I realized that that's always been the case. I get to decide what is right for me, just like you get to decide what's right for you. Whether it's work, parenthood, life, whatever - it doesn't have to look a certain way and we don't all have to take the same path.
What is so hard for so many of us is to trust in the process. To be OK with not knowing how things will turn out. To not having a perfectly spelled-out 5-year plan. To hold our goals lightly. We tell ourselves these stories, many of them unconscious, that end up guiding and shaping our entire lives! In many cases they keep us stuck in old patterns, old jobs, old relationships. They are safe. But more significantly, they block us from what we could become, achieve and learn.
So I’ve started to tell myself a new story. That I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment. To pay attention to the resistance I’m feeling in certain areas of my business and then ask myself "why?" To focus on what interests me and makes me feel good. To stop acting based on what I "should" do and instead tap into what feels authentic to me, at this moment. To trust that when my actions are aligned with my intention, that things will naturally flow in a positive direction.
It’s important to remember that I don’t have all the answers, but I know so much more than I did when I started.
A lesson I’ve learned in parenthood so far is that the more I can relax into it - the more I can align myself to what is happening in the present moment - the easier and more joyful it is.
Of course, the same principle holds true for work and life in general. And I trust that I will get to where I’m going, wherever and whenever that may be, with more ease and joy, when I remember this simple truth.
So I’ll leave you with these few words for now. I hope that if you’re going through something similar, they bring you some reassurance that you’re not alone! I’ll be taking a break for an undetermined amount of time as we welcome our new babe into the world.
And when the inspiration and alignment strike, I’ll be back.