So here’s something most people don’t know about me.
I’m an introvert.
Hard to believe, I know. But I recharge my emotional battery pack alone. I always have. I was the kid in 7th grade who was neck-in-neck in the race to read the most books in the school year. I spent my weekends at home hanging with my family, playing solitaire (you can’t make this stuff up) and watching Parent Trap and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen movies on repeat. I hated sleepovers unless they were at my house (still true) and as I moved into high school, I created a core group of friends, but I was definitely not popular. I was the nice, quiet girl. I didn’t assert my opinions and I rarely called attention to myself unless I was on stage for a solo choir competition.
Fast forward to college. I applied to be a Resident Assistant and got a taste of leadership and acquired a core group of opinionated friends who challenged me. Fast forward even further to grad school, where I was tested in every way a person could be tested and coped with feeling like an outsider by creating hard won confidence.
It really wasn’t until I moved back to Iowa that this incredibly extroverted side of my personality took over. And that happened mostly because it had to. I knew no one and that was not going to bring in a pay check. So I started having coffee 5 times a day (not exaggerating). I showed up at everything, said yes to every opportunity, bent over backwards to accommodate requests and generally did what any business owner shooting for the stars would do to create success and momentum.
And here I am, three years later totally comfortable putting myself out there in almost every way I could imagine. But I was completely and totally drained. I was getting up at 5am to work out and be at my computer by 7am. I was working and connecting all day long and it got to the point where I was angry about it.
That’s right, I said it. I was angry that so many people wanted my time and attention. What business owner can admit that and continue to have a business? Not me!!! Except here I am now, doing it.
But here’s the truth. I was giving it all away. I was showing up for everyone else but myself and I needed to start honoring my inner introvert or she was going to force my hand.
So I decided to commit a month to myself and deemed March the MONTH OF NO MEETINGS.
All of you out there who know the kind of life I live are picking your jaws off the ground. Let me explain. I blocked one ENTIRE WEEK for no shoots, viewings, meetings or phone calls. It happened to coincide with spring break, so life was quiet anyway. I spent that time diving deep into the long neglected systems of my business, using my juicer, taking walks and reading books.
I still did shoots (my favorite kind of energy exchange) during the other weeks of March. I showed up on social media, met with my Brand Launch business partner and saw my friends, but I approached it completely differently.
When someone would ask, “Hey, do you want to grab coffee next week?” I would respond, “I’m making room for more spontaneity in my life, so yes I would love to see you, but can you text me on a day you are free and we can see if the stars align?”
You want to know what happened? I saw my friends WAY more in the month of March then I have in the past couple of years, and I didn’t feel tied to my calendar. And I felt so much more joy in showing up because it felt like a choice, not an action item. I also said no to anything that wasn’t 100% necessary to the life of my business and found that this gave me SO MUCH MORE LIFE to infuse into my processes.
So where am I going from here? I’m still incredibly wary of putting anything on my calendar and I’m no where near recovered from a 3 year long habit of YES YES YES but I’m taking baby steps. As a community, we have gotten in the habit of scheduling coffee dates for 3 weeks out and I’ve got to be honest, that doesn’t protect my emotional energy. I have no idea what I’m going to feel like three weeks from now. I don’t know if I’m going to have the extra energy it takes to do a morning coffee, two shoots, 2 work meetings, and a happy hour all in one day.
So I’m still saying no. Most people have my phone number or can easily reach me on FB. If you get a wild hair to go for a walk on a Tuesday night and want my company, I want to know about it and have the flexibility to show up, but I don’t want to put a walk on the calendar for 3 weeks in the future. It’s just not how I want to go about my life anymore. Ya know?
I understand that this means there will be people I don’t see as often, but I also know that when I show up, I’m able to show up as my whole self, ready and willing and recharged to be in that interaction. And I’ve got to go with that feeling. Who’s with me?