My coach challenged me to write a personal blog. Show up more as me and write about what is going on for me personally. And as much as I shout about the importance of sharing your vulnerability and tell most leaders I coach to watch Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on the same topic, writing publicly about my own inner going ons doesn’t feel easy.
What if you judge me? What if you read it? What if you don’t? I am not sure which is preferable…
So I will just write, knowing that I don’t ever have to publish this. It is my choice. And just because I might not publish it, doesn’t mean it is not worth writing. The journey of collecting my thoughts and myself in form is often tremendously therapeutic and clarifying.
My life has been super intense the last three years to say the least. I went from single to married, to mother, living in 5 cities on four continents, completing 2 professional certifications, re-launching my website and company presence, doubling my income, then going on maternity leave and starting over again on a new continent, only to move my business back across the ocean again a year later to a new city. But not before spending a relaxing three weeks in Aruba and staying with tons of family and friends.
Needless to say there has been and still is a lot of logistics to manage and a lot of balancing to do between the many different priorities in my life. Professional juggler is probably a title many working mothers would feel fitting and still I know, that I so often worry about whether I am getting it right.
As I sit here collecting my thoughts, I wonder how much of the time I am actually just missing it. Missing my life. I coach again and again on the importance of being fully present in life and leadership. And I believe in that. Heck, I have been meditating daily since August 2008 and engaged in all kinds of personal development to help me be more fully here.
Still, now that so many of dreams have come true, so many blessings have rushed into my life and so many wonderful experiences are here, I still sit with a mental check list of what I need to sort out now and next. The list… the expectations…. Never fully relaxing. Never fully trusting. It’s better to be safe than… You never know what might happen…
What would happen if I were to allow myself to fully enjoy what is here?
If I could advise my 29-year-old worried self from where I am today, I would say to her: relax. You will find the right man. He is so worth the wait. You will become a mother. Relax. Do you personal work now, but also enjoy your single-ness. Soon moments alone in bed will feel like pure luxury, so though it might feel lonely and fearful right now, step into the joy of your current life stage.
And my guess is if I stepped forward another 10 years, my older self, would advice my current self to RELAX. It would probably tell me something like this:
“This time will never come again. You don’t need to have it all fixed and figured out. There is always more you will want. Enjoy the treasures of right now. Treasure those 5am mornings where your daughter wakes up from a nightmare and your husband carries her to your bed to be cuddled. Treasure those little fingers grasping yours, those soft baby curls on your face and that little voice calling out for you. Soak up that experience of being able to solve all the problems in the world for her, by just holding her in your arms long enough.
Breathe deep and enjoy renting your place. Relish the fact that when something breaks, you just call the agency and they arrange the handyman and foot the bill. Treasure that you and your husband both have flexible working hours and that you prioritise spending lots of time together. Treasure those nights on the couch snuggling up and watching Netflix while the little one is asleep. Soon she will be older, bedtime will be later and life will be different. Delight in the knowingness that although so many of those you love deeply are not in walking distance, modern technology makes staying in touch almost effortless, and you get to have special intense experiences, as either they come to stay with you, or you stay with them. You know someone so much better when you sleep in the same house for a few days a year instead of having a monthly 3-hour dinner.
Remember to kiss your husband and enjoy his embrace. Lean into his love. Look after your body and if you do indulge in non-nutrition, then do exactly that. Indulge. Choose consciously and savour every bite and every sip. Live each moment fully. Allow the tears to flow, the kisses to touch, and the joys to be experienced. Breathe. You are here. It is now. Don’t miss it.
Later you will think – that was such a special time. Live it now. Logistics will always be there. There is always something else to sort out, but don’t let that be your excuse to take you away from the here and now. Don’t let that be the excuse not to live right now.”
The words feel right and true. Having written them I see how, although this might seem like a very personal piece of writing, the advice fits perfectly for leadership too. I often tell my clients that the best way to improve their leadership is to be fully present with people. Simple message. Not as easy in practice.
So once again I commit to being more fully in the moment. It is one of the greatest gifts we can give others: to fully give them our attention. And I want that for others as well as for myself. I don’t want to miss it. I want to live it. My life.
What about you? What would your life and work be like if you were more fully in the moment? What could you do today to be more fully here?