Here in the United States, the ongoing pandemic is a long haul that’s basically straight uphill and entirely unknown. That means we urgently need to learn how to take breaks and rest, ’cause no amount of sprinting today can get time to move so quickly that it fast forwards to 2022.
Here are some asshole brain maneuvers to watch out for as we enter another season of As the World Burns:
Put down the binary.
“I’ve only got two options: A or B.”
A biz coaching client was outlining her options and said she could do A — which is the same thing she’s been doing that’s not working — or B, which is part-time for someone who’s treating her like shit. Both options were awful, but in her mind they were the ONLY options available.
In truth, you rarely have only two options. There’s always an option C.
Option C might be ridiculous or funny or awful or weird, but it’s still there! When I said I would rather my client take up a hobby of masturbating wildly than work at near-free prices for task-driven bros who in no way value her talent or her time, she laughed and shrugged me off. BUT I’M SERIOUS.
When it’s not ridiculous or funny, Option C is generally uncomfortable. It might seem like the impossible option, but Option C generally promises to pay dividends in the long term: quit the job. Move. End the marriage. Stop taking that work. Fire the client. Eat more greens. Ask for help. Hire the coach.
Put down your work.
Instead of being vaguely ‘on’ at all times — meaning you’re open to incoming needs from anyone at any point about any aspect of your business — choose times to be on. And times to most definitely be OFF.
Practice the muscles associated with picking work up at the times you specify, and then practice putting your work down at the appointed time as well. (Related: podcast #204, the quietly subversive 3-hour work day.)
As you learn to put your work down, you’ll also learn to draw internal boundaries that say, ‘now is not the time to worry about that problem,’ or, ‘I’m off and it’s not time to think about that client.’ There are many ways to gently remind yourself: now is the time for rest.
This hard off, hard on (heh) rhythm means that you clearly delineate and communicate times you’re working from all the times you’re not working.
A Hard Off means handling zero messages, communications, or work plans when it’s not work time. Personally, if you need me to do something after 4:20 p.m., it’s going to get pushed to tomorrow, ’cause I’ve got cannabis to smoke and an afternoon to enjoy. (Related: podcast #192, The Cannabis Episode.)
A Hard On (in this case) means messages, communications, work, and work planning are handled between the times of your choosing each day.
For more on how to work from home without losing your mind, check out podcasts 211-215, the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series! HOLY SHIT IT’S HELPFUL.
Put down your superhuman strivings.
The scope of work you can complete in this lifetime is human in size. ALAS.
We are each a tiny human part of all that exists, and when we operate from that human place we’re able to accept our true scope of work.
Asshole brain will continuously ramp up what we ‘should’ be capable of doing until deeming us absolutely useless for being unable to raise 17 children while organically farming almonds while running a multi-million dollar charity while holding a powerful government position while being so EASY BREEZY FUN about it all. (Sidenote: how does AOC’s lipstick always look so perfect!?)
As a bonus, asshole brain might blame you for every. single. problem. that exists in the world today!
Plastics in the ocean? WHY HAVEN’T YOU FIXED THIS.
Fascism continues to descend upon America? THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT.
Racism has been a problem through the generations long before you were born? STILL YOUR FAULT.
Of course, asshole brain is lying!
Systemic oppression and the manufacturing of millions upon millions of single-use plastics are NOT the fault of you and you alone! (This may seem obvious to you, dear reader, and yet my asshole brain kept me quiet and small for years by somehow making Me, Personally Responsible for everything that is and has ever been wrong with the world.)
Collective problems require collective solutions.
No human can solve any global problem alone.
Do your part, and help others do their part, and we’ll call it a win.
Finally: put down your pace.
Many of my clients finish up their work for the day and then feel horrifically guilty that they should be doing more.
Shouldn’t they be making ‘content’ calendars or ‘pivoting’ or ‘hustling’ or ‘leveling up’ or ‘CRUSHING IT’ or using every bit of time to be ever more ‘productive?’
Shouldn’t they be seated at a desk from precisely 9 to 5 each day, because that makes their job ‘legit’ in some way?
It’s okay to be done with your work when you’re done.
It’s okay to stop moving, communicating, and acting so quickly.
It’s okay to opt out of social media for a bit, for a month, or forever.
(Related, podcast #196: it doesn’t count if you don’t enjoy it.)
Please stop expecting yourself to write a book in a week or conquer your money problems within the next three days or to untie your work from your worth with a single flash of clarity. (Related, podcast #180: your work is not your worth.)
You are one human doing one lifetime of work.
The sooner you put down the vast and unreasonable expectations you have for yourself and for your power to make change, the better.
With you —
P.S. Breathwork is MAGIC for helping you put down the shit that’s no longer serving you.