Jill and I completed phase one of our experiment to unplug for the last week of every month during the summer. Here’s an earlier recap in case you missed it: ‘Escaping The Trance of Busyness’.
Today I want to share some honest feelings and struggles about this experience. I’m sure it looked 100% amazing if you saw the photos on Facebook and Instagram. And it was a lot of fun but here’s the truth.
I coach 10 clients a week, run a weekly podcast, host a monthly dinner series, and speak at conferences and events. There’s not a lot of room for error here. So removing 25% of the available time from my calendar last month was a real challenge.
Here’s what I learned:
I suck at finding my off-switch
It’s difficult to unplug when you love what you do. I love my work and I feel a strong connection to the purpose behind it. And that makes it very difficult for me to step away – even for a day. In other words, I’m not very good at just turning myself “off.”
It was a challenge for me to step away from everything because I felt like I intentionally disrupted the flow of my business. And it did take me out of my groove.
Do I have any regrets? Absolutely not. It was great to connect with nature and unplug but it did interrupt the projects that I was working on. I’m just being totally honest here.
I want to keep experimenting with unplugging but at this stage of my business it felt awkward and stressful to take a week off.
Which brings me directly to the next point…
I need more help
The single biggest thing I learned from my week away is that I need more support. I’ve already got an amazing coach, a killer virtual assistant team, and a magical bookkeeping service that keeps me sane. But I need to add a dedicated team member that can help me take care of all the countless things that suck up my time – the things that I should be paying someone else to do so that I can truly unplug, recharge, and focus on the higher level parts of my business.
I’ve been denying that I need this. But my week away made it abundantly clear that I can’t (and no longer want to) do it all alone.
A week is not enough time to truly unplug
Two summers ago Jill and I set out on a month-long road trip and it took nearly two weeks for me to feel completely relaxed and to decompress. My experience with unplugging for a week confirmed that it will probably take more than a week for me to fully let go and be in a highly creative state. This is simply an observation and I’m not saying that I didn’t relax and enjoy myself. I just noticed that I didn’t fully relax and I think it takes more time to really decompress and feel totally unplugged.
I gain tremendous insight from experimenting with how I run my business
I love experiments and this one is only one-third of the way complete. In other words, I’ve still got a lot to learn from our upcoming time away in July and August. This has already got me thinking about new ways to blend adventure + travel + work for the future. Which is the reason I left corporate work in the first place. As with every experiment, you can’t know what you’ll learn from it until you actually do it.
Time away is mostly good
Even though it made me a little nutty, unplugging allowed me to slow down just enough to remind me of the importance of taking care of myself. For me, spending time in nature, spending quality time with Jill, and doing the things that feed my soul are ultimately good for me.
Life isn’t just about business and busyness. Other things are important too. And I realize that for me to show up as my best self that I’ve got to find a good balance of work and play. I know this and I need to trust this.
FOCUS is my golden ticket!
Preparing to unplug for a week created an intense need for focus. The days leading up to my week-long escape and the days following were insanely focused on only the most important elements of my business – sales, delivering mind-blowing coaching to my clients, and planning for my upcoming events. All unnecessary emails, social media, conversations and other distractions were eliminated out of necessity. There was no room for anything else. I only had time for the most essential things.
Knowing what to focus on made everything easier. And knowing what to focus on required me to have absolute clarity on my outcomes and the strategies that will allow those outcomes to happen. Focus is what made it possible for me to step away for a week and return to a thriving business. To say that my ‘week off’ forced me find focus would be an understatement.
In the future, I will be sharing a lot more about slowing down to speed up, doing less (and doing it better), and getting one win at a time before moving forward. Because these are the things that are allowing me to have a coaching practice full of ideal clients, healthy revenue, work that feeds my Soul, and a life that feels amazing.
Until next time, live bravely and don’t be afraid to experiment with creating your ideal life and business. I can guarantee that you’ll learn a lot in the process!