Making the Hard Cuts

8 07 2013

Work-Life BalanceLoyal readers and DMT newbies alike, it feels good to connect with you again.

To the former, vanity leads me to assume that you’ve missed my bloggy insights, and so I would like to apologize right now for my disappearing act. I’m sorry. Your loyalty deserves better.

To the latter, you’ve happened upon this post at a very interesting stage in my blogging career. Glad to have your readership!

WHERE, OH WHERE HAS DAWN BEEN?

So, here’s what’s been going on…

Like many Type-A-ers, I’ve devoted a lifetime to burning my candle at both ends. Warning signs, red flags, and caution tape were buried under whirlwind pseudo-efficiency. Over the past several months, my health was flagging, my energy was flagging, and my Superwoman cape had definitely begun to fray.

That I couldn’t maintain both my existing modus operandi and my wellbeing at the same time was ridiculously evident. What to change was not.

MAKING THE HARD CUTS

I like feng shui. No, check that… I REALLY like feng shui. The concept of “space clearing” brings me peace. But now, instead of simply feng shui-ing my desk clutter, I needed to feng shui ME.

Simplification was in order – a process of consolidation and removal. I had a long look at what has been generating stress in my life. These were things that needed to be modified or discarded.

It was not easy, and it still is not easy. Asking an entrepreneur to “let go” is like asking an acrobat to sit still; it’s tremendously uncomfortable.

For those of you struggling with your own stress-induced battles, I’d like to share some insights on a few of my life-altering eliminations that may also help bring you sanity:

Guilt:  There’s guilt, and then there’s GUILT. Guilt is missing a deadline, forgetting to pick up your kids, and eating the extra slice of cake. GUILT is feeling that you are somehow inadequate, universally wrong, a mistake, or a burden on society. A combination of the two is more effective than a mosquito attack in a swamp – it will eat you alive.

In my entrepreneurial quest for perfection, I forgot something truly relevant and essential… I am human. I will make errors. I won’t always be everyone’s first, best, favorite, or most important, but that does not make me any less deserving of respect – self respect included.

Guilt is appropriate only when you stray from your own moral code – not someone else’s, your own. Otherwise, it’s a waste of brain space.

Guilt is easier to drop than GUILT, but when you start letting these go, I wager we’ll find you traipsing the hillsides, laughing over your lightened load.

Unfair Expectations:  As a general rule, I believe people mean well. When they ask for something without offering fair compensation (whatever you deem that to be: payment, gratitude, bartered service, recognition, etc.), it is rare that they understand the actual toll it will take on your time, family, or health. But their ignorance is not unkind.

However, their expectations are peanuts compared to the expectations we place on ourselves. Goals should have some basis in reality. No amount of plastic surgery will make me look like Shakira, and no cooking of the figures will turn me into an instant Donald Trump. These are silly examples, but some entrepreneurs ask themselves to accomplish eyebrow-raising feats on a daily basis… and berate themselves severely when they fall short. I was one of those.

Don’t misunderstand me – reach for the stars. But back your goals with sound research, reasonable expectations, and a flexible mind. Remember, failure and opportunity are often close allies.

Excuses:  Guilt and unfair expectations are easy highways to scapegoating. Rest assured that every action – or inaction – we take is of our own volition. Even with a proverbial “gun to the head,” we have a choice – take the bullet, sing the national anthem, duck and weave, freeze, follow orders…

Our choices generate repercussions and, particularly when we don’t like those repercussions, it is exquisitely tempting to lay blame on the circumstances or people most closely associated with them. The danger here is that, in doing this, we hand over – on a silver platter – control of ourselves and our business to someone or something else.

And if we don’t retain control over ourselves, we have nothing.

I’ve found myself using poor health, lack of time, conflicting priorities and similar excuses for DMT’s sluggish re-branding. And we’ve all met business owners that blame the economy, low quality clientele, big box store competitors, and so forth for their business’s “failure to thrive.” Look hard at these excuses. There isn’t one among them that can’t be circumnavigated in new and creative ways.

You’d be surprised by how empowering this realization can be. Accept responsibility… and run with it.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Although I’ve feng shui-ed many  parts of my life right out the door, blogging will not be one of them. I love to write, and will be continuing to post insights and commentary on entrepreneurial self betterment as the mood strikes me (i.e. at least once a month).

In the meantime, know that your acknowledgements and feedback add fuel to my creativity. I am always glad to hear from you.

What “hard cuts” have you made that have changed your life?

I have come back again to where I belong; not an enchanted place, but the walls are strong.”  ~Dorothy H. Rath

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.


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2 responses

11 07 2013
Kim Bisque

Beautifully put, Dawn.
Related to your guilt and GUILT comment, Brene Brown said it simply in her “Shame” video on TED, which may be worth re-watching: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html
“Guilt is ‘I made a mistake;’ Shame is ‘I AM a mistake.'”

In response to your question, my hard cut… Learning what I can and cannot control, then removing the desire to control what I cannot (as well as the immense stress that accompanies that desire). Still a daily struggle, but well worth the effort.

I, for one, am proud of and happy for you in this transformative period.

15 07 2013
dmtartistryllc

Thanks for the reminder link, Kim – an AWESOME video, and well worth watching… repeatedly! And thanks, too, for your two cents. I’m very glad to have you as a reader!

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