On January 23, I sent an email I never planned to write, titled by the subject line: I fell off the wagon. It prompted dozens of subscribers to send heartfelt replies, all of them thankful for my transparency. It started an inspired discussion amongst my clients, the Luminaries. And it made me realize how important it is to reveal the tiny piece of grit that helps the oyster make the pearl.
That week’s email was supposed to be full of updates and promotions. Instead, it became a story about how I fell off the wagon and slammed into the pavement head first. I’m including it in its entirety below.
Yesterday, I …
- had an early morning panic about my business funds,
- tried to schedule a full day’s worth of work into a one-hour slot,
- ran my groceries into the house because I was so behind on time,
- skipped my scheduled workout,
- missed my shower,
- rushed out of the house to grab all my kids for early dismissal,
- snapped at my kids—and then gave them the silent treatment!—because who knew it would take each child over 15 minutes to find their way to the office for the arranged early dismissal, putting me nearly 50 minutes behind schedule,
- arrived to apply for our travel passports 30 minutes late (stressed, disheveled, and scared to death they wouldn’t see us and I’d have to arrange it all over again),
- had a mid-afternoon panic because I’d forgotten to write the children’s SS#’s on the passport applications—started searching my phone for a document that listed them,
- hissed at my entire family to “stop hovering” while I panic-searched,
- found the SS#’s, finished the last application, and apologized to my family,
- rushed home to take a shower and figure out dinner plans,
- had an early-evening panic over my impending tax bills and my daughter’s lost driver’s license paper work,
- broke out in tears,
- argued with my husband, and finally,
- poured generous glasses of wine and turned on some reality TV.
I started the year with such good intentions, such careful self-care, that I can hardly believe that I’m writing you this email. Yet, it’s all true—yesterday was so real.
In fact, it may be a pretty extreme example, but yesterday is how I managed my time and emotions last year. Yesterday is how I vowed NOT to operate this year. Still, there I was.
I imagine you might know what I mean. With months of potential ahead and a long list of goals to achieve, you may also feel a panicked urgency creep up on you, like you need to get #allthethings done RIGHT NOW.
New Year Energy is Frenetic
New Year energy is extremely frenetic, meaning it’s hyperactive, unruly and wild. It’s fueled by the unlimited potential we see in the clean slate of a fresh calendar. While there’s a lot of good intention behind it, that energy has a short life span and quickly feels more agitating than motivating.
What’s worse, if you’re not actively and consciously working on the changes you wish to create, you’ll quickly fall back into your old routine. We are very much creatures of habit.
Here’s WHY I fell off the wagon: About 10 days ago, my schedule got ahead of me. This is my outworn pattern and old way of thinking: “In order to succeed, I have to do, do, do, make, make, make, sell, sell, sell!”
I knew there was something I should pay attention to when time started to feel limited and work felt rushed—I recognized the habit, I just wasn’t sure what to do about it. I gave my best effort and attention, but there was always unfinished business left at the end of the day.
I circled every task I was unable to finish due to time restraints. If you have a tendency to over-schedule and burn the candle at both ends, I suggest you do this too.
The new course I’m working on, titled Profit Breakthrough, was taking up way more time than I’d allotted. That’s where everything went awry. Instead of extending the deadline (which I’m doing today) and giving myself the creative space and energy to make that course everything it’s destined to be, I kept trying to cram it into its designated time slot.
I was Rushing It
And because I was back in the pattern of moving onto the next thing before the last thing was truly finished, I triggered money stuff (the next part of the pattern). I suddenly felt panicked to make more instead of trusting that I always have plenty.
Finally, and most honest of all, I engaged in the behaviors and emotions those thought patterns create. You saw my list above, it’s not pretty. But falling off the wagon didn’t suddenly happen—I lost the reigns and bumped my way toward the edge weeks ago. And, I’m not sorry or sad or beating myself up about it.
Like Ebenezer Scrooge, I spent the day learning from my ghosts.
I see clearly now; I get how it all unfolds, and I appreciate the beautiful lesson I received. I woke up at 4:30 AM this morning to tell you about it!
Here’s what I Plan to Do Next
Return to my intention for the year, which was to find flow and use its current to my favor. Today, I’ll extend the deadline on Profit Breakthrough (my money mindset course) and inform my clients of the changes—they’ll be thrilled, actually. They’ve already seen glimpses of the course and created some results. They’ll know it will be that much better because I’m reserving more time and attention for it.
I will then space my annual strategy out even more. You should see what I originally scheduled into the first quarter—even after 2-3 attempts to space it out! I don’t need to do it all by March, and I’m sharing this today just in case you need to hear the same.
We’re going to have an amazing year, I can tell. But if you’re already feeling pressured by your “have-to’s,” heed my warning. Don’t overcommit. Don’t let self-imposed deadlines murder your creativity or ruin what could be your best work by doing it in haste.
Are you holding the reigns of your wagon right now? If not, and like me, take the day to situate yourself and reset the pace.
Thank you for reading,