By Tiffany A. Potter
Here’s what I know as fact: I’ve lost my mind. I am knee deep in launching a global company and I can’t even remember my own phone number. I literally had to take a screen shot of it from my phone so I can double check my accuracy if someone asks me for it and I am out of business cards to hand them. Well, not so much out of business cards as I simply forgot to put them in my purse before I left the house. Sad I’ll admit, but completely true. This forgetfulness is a new phenomenon for me. I credit it to the sheer volume of things I need to remember, plan for, anticipate, and schedule on a daily basis.
18 months ago I came up with the idea of a new business platform that changed my life. Three o’clock in the morning, woken up out of a dead sleep by Mother Universe with this idea that it soon became clear she entrusted me with, and my just like that my life changed. While I am still a freelance disability consultant for a number of projects that would keep anyone busy (and love every minute of it); I went and created a new company that I expect will change the world. I never want to use this forum as free advertising for my business but let’s just say, if Starbucks can go global so can my newest endeavor.
Along with anything new these days it seems that if you want to introduce something to the world be it your new business or new baby one is expected to cover all bases. Meaning this, it’s not enough anymore to send out a birth announcement or invitation to your new office open house; to drop your new album with a poster hung in your local music store advertising the date it will be available for purchase or release your movie by merely creating a trailer that shows at the movie theater months leading up to it. No, nowadays you’re expected to market, to promote, to announce on all platforms possible, and to sell, sell, sell the hell out of your fill-in-the-blank. It’s the culture we’ve created for ourselves and it’s exactly the reason why I broke up with Facebook years ago. If you want to be validated, if you want to be “relevant”, if you want to exist in this world anymore you have to not only live in your actual reality, but you have to “exist” in the world of socials (and pray for something to go viral). You are only as successful as the number of followers or “likes” you have, excellence isn’t enough anymore, you have to have the platform to support it. And while I have accepted today’s business culture I don’t really like it; accepting it and liking it are two different things.
Here’s what I mean, I accept that our business plans must include projections from social media, but it doesn’t mean that I am comfortable with it. Sure, I find some entertainment value in Instagram, but as I sit here writing I am distracted by thinking about my new Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. All of these push notifications are giving me anxiety! And while most people handle this new world we’re in just fine, I, on the other hand, do not. I’m not good at it. It stresses me out. And more importantly, it robs me of my here and now. I’ve lost almost all ability to mindful. It takes all I have to focus on what I’m doing at this very moment in time.
But it’s not only social media; it became very apparent to me a few weeks ago that I was grossly out of balance with everything. I would be in the middle of one thing and be making a list in my head of everything I had to do once I got home. And once I got home, I was making a list of the things that I had to do the next day and sending off a million emails while my husband was fixing dinner. Then, once the next day came I not only had my list from the night before, but I had to respond to all of the emails that responded to mine from 24 hours prior (at the present moment I have 3,238 unread emails). All the while trying desperately to maintain the friendships that are my life blood, love on my animals so they never forget how happy I am that I get to be their mama, and be the wife that my incredible husband deserves. Never mind maintaining my health. Working out on my bike in the living room while catching up on my favorite DVR’d shows because once I reach 75% full I can’t handle it. Plus meditating, plus being active in my community advocacy, plus traveling for work, plus staying abreast of the latest news and information that affects the industry I’m in, plus drinks with the girls that began to feel like a chore, just something else I had to do.
I couldn’t do it anymore. The hustle was killing me. But what would give? Everything that I do in my life is important to me, and until I can hire employees to take some of my obligations off of my plate I feel stuck. A self-induced feeling albeit, but stuck nonetheless.
So I decided to take a hiatus from the hustle. Meaning, I had to find time to breath. I had to come to a place in my personal and professional life where I didn’t feel guilty if I wanted to come home, sit my happy ass on the couch, leave my to-do list until tomorrow or the next day, and just breathe. I have yet to decide how long this hiatus will be as I feel if I put a time stamp on it then that will give me anxiety and defeat the purpose. And, of course, I worry that if I don’t send off that one email this afternoon that it will be a professional opportunity lost never to be found again; but I have to trust that by putting my health first (both mental and physical) that it will open the door for more opportunities to fall into place. I will be better equipped to meet new business colleagues, formulate the best posts, write the best column I can, and live long enough to enjoy it all.
We tend to romanticize the idea of “busy”, as if being “busy” is representative of our worth or success. “I’m so busy” = “I’m so (popular/in-demand/ fun to be around/a good Buddhist/ awesome)”, and while I’m sure you are, in fact, totally awesome, looking haggard and tired isn’t a good look on anyone. Plus, personally, it just makes me grumpy.
No, dear Hustle, you don’t have a place in my life right now. I don’t find you sexy or fun to be around. I’m not breaking up with you for good, just for right now until I can better handle or relationship and your place in my life. Believe me, it’s not you, it’s me.
Tiffany is a disability consultant, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and change agent. Find her at: www.TiffanysTake.com Instagram: Tiffanys_Take