Being addicted to being busy somehow found its way to the heart of my belief system.
I found myself using the words ‘I’m so busy!’ as the standard by which I would measure my life, and by which I would judge the lives of those around me. I was completely enmeshed in a lifestyle that was full of pressure, stress and exhaustion … and I had come to believe that they were things that were necessary for me to be successful.
I spent almost two decades as a high-powered, award-winning corporate executive. I was a strong person who could push past anything and everything. I was a shining example of what ‘soldier on’ looked like.
‘I’m so busy!’ … was one of the phrases that I used the most. I packed my day full of ‘stuff’ and I ran around making sure everyone and everything around me was taken care of. I took no notice of the fact that my head was constantly spinning, nor of the warning signs that were directly in front of me. I simply pushed past everything, believing that ‘if I just get through this, everything will be OK’.
The problem being, of course, that ‘this’ always morphed into the next thing that I needed to get through.
I had the whisperings in my mind that I wasn’t happy. I had the thoughts that said: ‘maybe it’s time to do something differently’ but my ego responded that I had no time to consider ‘frivolous’ things. Everything I did was done from auto-pilot with no conscious connection or thought.
Deep down, I knew I was in pain and that I was miserable but I had a long-held and deep-seated belief that change was hard … so I shoved those whispers and thoughts so deeply into the dark corners of myself that I thought they were buried forever.
The reality was that my life was utterly out of control and careening down a one-way path that only had one outcome.
Then the unimaginable happened: I found myself experiencing the traumatic event that only happens to everyone else. Suddenly I was facing a diagnosis of cancer, which then threw me headlong into an associated complete breakdown.
When you have nothing to do other than to look the pieces of yourself that are scattered all around you, you begin the most intensive, uncomfortable work that you will ever have to do on yourself. Having done this work, I know that the most confronting thing I had to face was the fact that I could have easily taken small, simple steps much earlier in my life that would have put me on a very different course that, in turn, would have significantly reduced the bedlam my life had become.
From the other side of recovery, I can see that I had somehow gotten myself into a pattern of life that meant I forced myself to live at the whim of everyone around me. When I took a moment to look at what I was busy doing, and why I was doing it, I realised that there was very little in my life that was healthy for me to be doing, and that there was almost nothing I was doing that was allowing me to top up my energy levels.
Learning these things enabled me to identify and separate myself from those activities that were adding stress and exhaustion to my life and constantly draining energy from a totally depleted energy tank. I also learned that the simple process of identifying these things made it really easy to work out how to move away from them, and that I could have easily done them at a much earlier stage.
My life now is full of things that I love doing. Better yet, I know that these things constantly allow me to generate new energy that I can access on a daily basis. I am no longer stressed and exhausted, and my life supports me on a constant basis. There is now a calm where before I lived in chaos. My head is no longer spinning and I know that when I make decisions they’re made with totally conscious thought.
I know exactly what it’s like to be enmeshed in the pressure of everyday life. I know the exhaustion that comes with living every day on fumes. I know the damage that prolonged stress can do to your health and wellbeing. I know what it’s like to completely lose sight of who you are, have your life ripped out from under your feet and suddenly have no idea where you are at. I know that everything I now have at my fingertips was available to me before my traumatic event but that I was too enmeshed in bedlam to access them.
Because I know these things, I now spend every day showing people there’s a very different way to live. I want everyone to know that change is easy, and that taking control of your own life is not only easily achievable, but can actually be loads of fun! Most importantly, I know that quitting the addiction to being busy will significantly reduce the bedlam in your life, and that learning to live this way is no harder than learning to ask yourself a few questions.
Want more info on ways to challenge some of your boundaries? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.