In a coaching session last week, I worked with a client who noticed that she was helping others at work. This is normally an admirable quality but my client, in the process of helping others, wasn't able to finish her own projects and had to add more time onto her day to accomplish what she had set out to achieve. This pattern reflected the one she had woven at home - taking care of what everyone else needed done and then falling behind, not only with her own projects, but with taking care of herself.
Helping out others before addressing your own business is like flipping to the back of the test to answer the extra credit questions first and then running out of time to finish the exam. No matter how well you do on those extra credit questions, if you don't complete the test, your grade will suffer.
I liked working on this puzzle with this client because I recognized an old pattern in myself. I wove, sewed, embroidered, and even beaded the fabric of my life in such a way that I had a very hard time saying no. My "personal religion" was that I was responsible for taking care of others and this was a heavy quilt to carry everywhere.
And then I found the Brave Girls Club and their online courses, daily emails, and messages of love and support for women. I took the Brave Girls Club's Soul Restoration class followed by the Life Restoration class. A lesson I learned in Week 5 of the Life Restoration class, "Making the Rules for your Beautiful Life," was that when I say yes to a project that feels like an obligation, I lose the time that I could spend on another activity that lights me up.
"When we don't make rules and boundaries for our lives, all sorts of situations, relationships, and problems make their way into our lives," says Melody Ross of the Brave Girls Club. "And instead of living the life we really want to live, we are constantly managing all sorts of things that we really don't even want."
The art project/introspective exercise for Week 5 was to decide on rules to help guide my life and then to create Decision Making Cards for each of them. (I've listed My Personal Rules at the end of this blog.)
So what are your rules? Do you have solid boundaries so that you have time to cherish yourself, the people you love, and the projects that excite you? Here are a few questions that can help you to create your own Personal Rules:
1. Does this project light me up so that I am tingling with anticipation? If yes, skip the rest of this quiz and do it!
2. Is this activity essential or extra credit? Get still, take a few deep breaths, and imagine that you are an observer of your own life. See if you can let go of all of the should's and supposed to's and ask again, "Is this activity essential to me and my family's well-being or is it nice but not necessary?"
3. Am I well rested? Do I have the energy to take on another project - whether it's big or small?
4. Am I including self-care activities in each day on a regular basis? Can I care for another person or project, without caring for myself first?
5. Does this project take time away from my family?
6. Will my decision create stress or bliss? Tune into your body and notice if helping feels "shackles on" or "shackles off." Shackles on will feel like tension, tightness, discomfort, or anxiety. Shackles off will always feel like freedom.
I'm interested in reading your Personal Rules. What are the questions you ask yourself to help you make a decision about your precious time? Post them below or click on the Touch Blue Sky Facebook button and share them there.
Here are the Decision Making questions I ask myself.
My Personal Rules:
Is this what I really really want in my life?
Am I making this decision from fear or from faith?
Will this hurt my family in any way?
Will I have time in my life to rest and recharge if I make this decision?
Will others be able to control my decisions and my time? Am I okay with that?
Will I be taking the best care of my body and soul if I make this decision?
Will this decision bring me bliss or stress me out?
Can I joyfully and thankfully work with the people who would have to be involved if I made this decision?
Am I doing this from my own heart and gut, or am I trying to do this for someone else?
Will I be able to keep my promises to those I love if I make this decision?
Am I going to enjoy the results of making this decision? Is it going to be fun?
Will this choice challenge me or keep me comfortable?
Am I willing to sacrifice by doing the difficult, tedious, and scary stuff that will come along with making this decision?
Will I have to go into debt in any way if I make this decision?
I'm a mother of two incredible boys, wife to Bill White of Happy Baby Signs, author of the books The Well-Crafted Mom and Signs of a Happy Baby, and an intuitive life coach. I like to blog about my adventures with my family and the life lessons I'm learning along the way. I hope you'll join me on this journey.
Check out our past newsletters by clicking the link below.