It’s March of 2020. My consulting business is taking the long way to growth so it’s time to look for supplemental income.
I’m not happy because it’ll take away the time I have to continue growing my fledgling business, but, our finances are saying it’s time to find that steady paycheck.
Thursday, March 12, my son, who’s the lead in the middle school play, his final year in middle school, is scheduled for play rehearsal. The memo comes through “all after school activities are cancelled. No school on Friday, March 13th.
On Saturday, March 14, the stay-at-home order comes through. Groceries for two weeks. Call all creditors. Check on family and friends. Stay home. We can hunker down for two weeks.
It’s been just about two years now.
No one has to tell you how quickly things can change. We’ve experienced it, collectively, these past two years. We know that a tiny bug can cripple the whole world and cause chaos in ways we’ve never imagined. We know.
But does knowing help us understand how quickly things can change in other areas too?
Two years ago, I was driving for UBER, homeschooling my daughter, slowly growing a coaching and consulting practice, and looking for a job so we could keep our finances on track.
This year, my daughter is enjoying in-person school, my son is finally getting to go to high school and my tiny consulting business is spreading it’s wings. In a Pandemic that had us fully stressed.
How did that happen?
The first thing I thought when we received the stay-at-home order was “okay, in these two weeks I need to push hard and get things going.” Yet, while the intention was there, along with the willingness, I didn’t anticipate the anxiety that would come when the two-week order was now going to be much, much longer. I didn’t anticipate the lack of focus that came with all the uncertainty in the air. And then, once I realized I wasn’t going to get much done without harming myself, I moved away from anxiety and fell into grace.
Grace is when you allow yourself to say “It’s okay. You’re okay. Take time to be and feel okay.” It’s what we often extend to our friends and family in their times of need, but rarely give to ourselves. Grace is being kind to yourself. And listening to what your self is asking you to do, or not do. So I offered myself grace, clemency, kindness to allow for mental and physical well-being.
Then there was space. After going through cancer treatments in 2018 I learned how valuable space was. Yet, instead of going straight to that lesson, I panicked. Getting a job wasn’t going to be fun so I reverted to my old self, pushing and forgetting the importance of space.
Space is when in the midst of overwhelm you stop and allow everything to fall away. It’s when you do nothing but breathe, and listen to your inner self. It’s where you allow yourself to know and understand that there’s time, there’s enough and there’s space for all that you want.
As women we take on a lot of responsibilities because it’s what we’re taught. We’re taught to take care of everything and everyone around us but not ourselves. Taking care of ourselves isn’t part of the deal. But it needs to be.
What Grace & Space Teach Us
When we allow ourselves that which seems forbidden, we soon realize why it’s forbidden. Within the confines of overwhelm, stress, anxiety and fatigue it’s near impossible to listen to your own voice. How can you become your most powerful self when there’s always something else taking your attention? It’s impossible to build, grow and affect meaningful change when you’re busy doing, helping, creating and protecting everyone else’s time and space.
When we protect our time, when we protect our space, when we protect our energy things change quickly. Without overwhelm. Learning to manage your time and allowing for self-care will bring better, and faster changes than pushing, worrying and overworking.
How to Allow Space
When you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated here’s something to remember “there’s enough.” Too often we’re stuck in stress mode because we believe there isn’t enough: time, space, money, education, etc. There just isn’t enough so we need to push for our share.
Instead, when you feel things closing in stop and say “there’s enough time.” Or maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed “there’s enough space.” Let go of the idea that you have to be all the people, do all the things and accomplish all the activities in a specified amount of time.
Here how to give yourself grace and space:
- Change your mind – Yes, It’s allowed. It’s recommended for growth. When you learn more, you can make more informed decisions.
- Decline an opportunity – Yes, you can. If it’s not in full alignment with what’s most important to you, say no. Leave space for something that’s truly right.
- Cancel an appointment – Yes, if you realize something is too draining, not a right fit or just too much, cancel the appointment. It’s allowed and done all the time by those whom you see as successful.
- Take a day, a week, a month off – Yes, your mental and physical health require it. Whether it’s one day a week, two weeks a month or three months a year, it’s your decision to make. It’s your mental and physical well-being at stake.
- Trust yourself – You’re’ the expert on yourself. You know what you’re capable of doing and you know what you want to achieve in this life. Trust that inner voice that says yes or no. It knows.
When you give yourself grace and space, you’ll realize you get more done. You’ll focus on what’s most important to you, and everything else will fall away. You’ll find more success. It doesn’t take overworking, feeling stressed and overwhelmed to succeed. It takes knowing what you want, focusing on it and getting it done in the time you’ve allotted.
It’s March 2022 and my consulting and coaching agency is growing. I work three weekdays a week with the public, one weekday on my own and one weekday is for me. On the weekend I decide if there’s a project I need to work on, but for the most part, I’m doing household and family stuff. Using the grace and space I’ve come to rely on to keep me focused and healthy.
Let’s start claiming that space so we can hear our inner voice, learn to trust it, and make the difference in our world we’re here to make.
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