The past year has been mentally and emotionally exhausting, both in my professional and personal life. I’m pretty self-aware, and I’m good at making adjustments on the fly, but this past year really pushed me to the edge, and the space and people around me were exacerbating the situation.
So I started making some structural changes. In February, I hired a coach, the fabulous Lisa Heft. She was a great peer sounding board, and she created a safe space for me to think through the things I needed to figure out. That process gave me a clear vision for what I needed in my life to be happy and productive, and it helped me create a staged strategy for coping with the challenges that I couldn’t immediately do away with and for pro-actively preventing those things from becoming problems again.
I’ve implemented many of those changes over the past few months, and the results have been amazing. I feel more rested and creative. I’m working less, but I’m more productive. Life has slowed down, and good things are happening.
I also have a lot more work I still need to do on myself. By slowing down, I let new things into my life, which have caused things to pick up again. This is where it gets tricky. I’m determined not to repeat old, destructive patterns. It means I have to be disciplined about my space and mindful about my wellness.
I’m getting really excited about the things that are happening right now. Lots of changes are afoot, and I’m feeling my friend, Mr. Adrenaline, start to reassert himself. But that rush is still tempered by remnants of exhaustion. I know I’m not totally whole yet, and I’m not going to get there if I don’t continue to assert my boundaries.
My biggest need right now is rest. Real, prolonged rest. And for the first time in eight years, I’ve created that space for myself — two weeks next month in Korea, sans laptop. I’ve had to fight off the urge to cancel the trip a number of times over the past few months in order to accommodate various work engagements. As hard as that’s been, I know it’s going to pay off in spades. (I have also found my professional colleagues exceptionally supportive in this regard, in some cases, forcefully so, further proof that I work with and for people who are much smarter than me.)
I’m excited to be going back to Korea, to eat my way through the country, to explore my roots, and to be totally present while doing so. And I know I’ll be chomping at the bit when I return.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue to hold my space, do my thing, and see where my energy takes me. I feel great about where I’m headed.