As a recovering good girl, I’m prone to keeping myself busy.
I’m most comfortable when I have a solid to-do list. It makes me feel purposeful and somehow more worthy.
I wonder if anyone reading can relate.
It would be of little surprise if you do. We’re conditioned to be productive members of society and being busy is seen as a badge of honour.
But what if all of this busyness is actually distracting us from being our full selves?
What if the need to be seen as productive actually prevents us from creating and attracting what we truly desire into our lives (or knowing what our true desires are)?
What if by doing less, we could be more?
In the summer of 2015 I started to feel burned out. It wasn’t the first time. Since starting my coaching and hypnotherapy business in 2010, I’d experienced at least two episodes of burn-out and exhaustion.
So, when it hit me again last August, I knew that I had to just stop.
And I did.
I stopped trying to attract new clients.
I stopped sending my newsletter every week without fail.
I retreated from social media.
I helped my husband decorate our kitchen.
I went for daily walks.
And pretty soon, prospective clients started to contact me again.
I gave myself permission to dramatically slow down and, surprisingly, my business started to flow without me taking any particular action.
In fact, I found that even though I was doing the bare minimum in my business, my income remained at the same level it had been when I’d been keeping myself busy, busy, busy.
I asked myself, “What on earth is the lesson here?”
How can you and I use this experience to create more abundance and connection in our lives and businesses?
What I came to believe is, it’s really simple.
Perhaps so simple that we resist believing it (because as the wonderful humans we are, we generally expect things to be complicated).
What I found (and continue to find) is the less I do, the more I receive.
The more I relax and feel good, the more I attract into my life.
That it’s not about the action you take, it’s about the way you feel.
And in one form or another, I realise I’ve heard this many times in the past. One of my coaches always used to say, “Your only job is to feel good,” (and this would trigger the hell out of me. I’d think, “Yes, but how is that going to pay the bills?”).
But what I’ve seen over the past year is that I really need to do very little (much, much less than you would ever think) to attract clients and make money.
But how do you translate this into your own life and business?
Because I know it can be pretty darn frustrating to hear someone say: “Just go with the flow. Focus on feeling good and everything will turn out fine.”
Well, here’s what’s worked for me:
Not being attached to any particular goal or outcome. I know this can be super annoying to hear and I could write a whole other article on this, but put simply: be playful with your goals. See them as a game and let go of any expectation that your desires will come to you in the way you planned.
If you start feeling icky about something (under pressure, busy, anxious, stressed), take a break and do something different. Get outside and go for a walk or take a nap. Just before starting to write this, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do (or whether I wanted to do anything!), so rather than just keeping myself busy, I took a nap and the inspiration for this article came to me. I’ve no idea what the response will be, but I’m enjoying the process of writing it (and I trust that it will resonate with at least some of the people who read it).
Do way less than you feel you should be doing. As I mentioned above, many of us seem to be caught up in an epidemic of busyness, constantly on-the-go and needing to do something. Strip your to-do list back to the bare minimum, only do the absolute essentials and stuff you really enjoy. Apart from that, allow yourself to just be. (And rest far more than you think you need to.) I tend to work about three to four hours per day and believe me, the world hasn’t stopped.
Practice delayed gratification. If you’re anything like me, you get a 100 different ideas about things to do in your business every single day. I used to believe that I had to implement every single idea that came to me, so I would start one thing and then something else would come along and I’d end up feeling overloaded and distracted. Not good. My head can still be a very busy place, but now I’ve given myself permission to delay acting on any inspirations that come to me. When my thoughts go into overdrive, I simply send thanks to my mind for being so creative and take my focus back to whatever I’m working on at the time. If I’m still wanting to take an idea forward after a few days, then I might come back to it—but usually my mind has moved onto something else by then!
Trust. This kind of approach to business (or life in general) demands a huge amount of trust. It can feel completely counter-intuitive to do less and purely focus on feeling good. All sorts of limiting beliefs have come up for me, especially the idea that I’m just being lazy. But the proof is in the pudding. For the last year, I’ve been working about 50 percent less than I had been and my income is the same as it was, if not higher. Go figure. The universe does not require you to run yourself ragged.
Try doing less and see what happens for you. I call my new approach to business radical non-action and I now encourage my clients to do (or non-do) the same.
Here’s to doing less and being more.
Author: Nicola Humber
Image: Flickr/Martin L
Editor: Travis May