It’s noisy out there—in the world and in my head.
It seems like everyone is hustling. In fact “hustle” seems to be a trend. And I’ve hung out on that bandwagon more times than I care to admit, so I know all too well how quickly hustling can turn into self-destructive mayhem.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of hard work. Big time. I’m a nose-to-the-grindstone kinda girl. I hustle hard. And, as a result, I’ve crashed and burned, baby. Hard.
I’ve hit walls head first.
So I learned the hard way that our minds and bodies aren’t meant to move through the world at mach speed all the time. It’s doable, sure. Sometimes it's even exhilarating. It’s also unsustainable.
So now I pause.
Which doesn't look the same all the time. Pausing, for me, isn't one thing. It's meditation and a stretch. It's a two-day vacation and a 20-minute game of fetch in a muddy park with the rain in my face. It's a summit on a Wednesday afternoon and beach sunset on Saturday. It's a run and a good book and a power nap. Sometimes it's a coffee with an old friend, an adventure with all of the friends, or a latte at a coffee shop writing prose.
It doesn't matter how you pause.
I expected that my commitment to pausing would result in slower momentum overall. That I might miss a few opportunities. That I might make less money. That I might have fewer clients. This was misguided thinking.
Because from this practice of intentional breaks in my hustle, I've been rewarded ten-fold. And, in fact, pausing did something miraculous for me that I hadn't expected it would: It made the time I spent hustling fruitful. Because I wasn't burnt out. And I wasn't working on empty. I wasn't showing up resentful because I'd already taken the time I needed to fuel my mind, body, and soul. So when it was time to turn up the heat, dig in my heels, and work hard, I wanted to.
(Insert ray of light and angelic hallelujah here.)
It sounds silly but as a recovering workaholic, I had to teach my self how to pause. And it's an ever-evolving lesson. Sometimes I have an A+ week. Sometimes I fail miserably.
My education in pausing started with micro baby steps. I literally set alarms every two hours that said things like: "Stand up!" and "Get some sunshine." Also, "It's lunchtime and you're not eating at your desk" and "Run, girl!"
In the beginning, I snoozed these suckers—A LOT! But over time, I got the hang of it. And then eventually I stopped being so militant and structured with my pausing. Less bossing myself around and making the pause a chore or a task, and more just feeling into when and where and for how long I needed to pause. And then I'd do it.
I do not have pausing down to an art form. I am not an expert. I've ben known to still shout out "Sleep is for the birds!" as I pack 87 million things into one 24 hours period. But I'm learning.
Choosing to pause is the bravest thing I do on the daily.
It's not easy in a dog-eat-dog world to put on the brakes when everyone else is full speed ahead and say "I'm taking a breather. My soul needs it." Oh, but if you can have the guts to choose pause over pandemonium, your hustle isn't gonna feel so much like hard work; it's gonna feel like—and probably start to look like—prosperity.