Are you taking time off and feel fully unproductive? Here are some strategies to make tracks during your down time! Get the tips here!
Step #1—Eliminate everything but the most essential.
When I broke up with my business partner, I remember saying to my guy, “I wish I could take the next month off!”
“Why don’t you?” he responded.
I gasped. Taking time off was unthinkable. Or was it?
I decided to ease into it slowly, by saying ‘no’ to things that didn’t feed my soul, no matter how lucrative…or tempting.
I said ‘no’ to speaking requests, ‘no’ to networking opportunities, ‘no’ to new clients, ‘no’ to writing newsletters or blogs.
I taught a few classes, did some coaching, but only when I wanted. If anyone asked, I was on a retreat until further notice. The retreat lasted 8 months. That’s a lot of down-time…which, of course, is the whole point.
But to many, down-time is a dirty word. And I know why: we’ll do anything to avoid the dreaded Step #2.
Step #2—Allow uncomfortable feelings to surface.
Uncertainty, fear , self doubt–all those demons we’ve been artfully dodging through over-work, over-eating, over-spending and other drugs of choice—will inevitably rear their ugly heads.
Those demons, however, serve a purpose. As I wrote in my book, Overcoming Underearning: “When you learn to face that which makes you fearful, it need never control you again.”
Believe me, it was very tempting to jump into idle distractions–like a shopping spree or eating binge—anything to avoid those difficult feelings. I chose Step #3 instead.
Step #3—Reassess, reevaluate
I used my retreat for lots of soul searching.
I journaled, meditated, read inspirational books, joined a support group, processed my insights daily with friends.
I asked myself questions: What am I here to do? How do I want to live? Who do I desire to help? Where do I want to make a difference?
Self reflection became my major focus.
An amazing thing happened as I went within. I started seeing the world through new eyes. That’s what Step #4 is all about.
Step #4—Receive consciously.
I determined, early on, that everything that happened during my retreat was neither ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ ‘negative’ or ‘positive.’ It was simply feedback about my future, guidance for my growth.
For example, during this period I got a great book idea which I sent it my agent who rejected it immediately. Normally, I’d be devastated…and, admittedly, I was for a bit.
Instead, I began looking for the message. I decided it wasn’t time for the book but I’d be shown when it was. And if not the book, something else would surface.
I continued to self-reflect. Then, maybe 6 months later, a friend asked when I’d be sending another newsletter. I received the question as a sign. After I wrote the newsletter, I felt compelled to blog. The future unfolded just like that, one thing at a time.
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