September 26th, 2011
Do people think you know some secret formula for endless energy?
Are you up at the crack of dawn? You work, you raise your kids, you run the neighborhood kids to the park, you bake cookies for the school just because….
And if that's not enough, you take on extra projects at work, maybe offer support to anyone who needs it. Are you the one who always has the idea and a plan and to get people together?
People ask me sometimes how I have so much energy. I don’t go a week without someone asking me, “How do you do it?” or “Don’t you ever get tired?”
Truthfully, the answer is no. I don’t.
They see me buzzing around, up from early morning to the evening, working more than I would if I had a 9 to 5 job, and still sharing all the big ideas that are racing around in my head. They're a little confused by it all. They think I should be exhausted.
Exhaustion never wins over my internal drive and constant need to push myself and make my life better. If I’m not bettering my own life or helping someone else, what good am I?
But it’s not energy that pushes me forward. This is how I survive. If I just gave up and did nothing, I would slide down the slippery slope of laziness and burnout just like anyone else.
What’s the secret to me keeping this push alive? If you struggle with keeping up with the demands of your life, you may be surprised at what I’m about to tell you.
I laugh when I see the trailer for the movie “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, because I DO know how she does it.
Survival is the first piece of my energy puzzle. Moms will understand what I’m talking about. When you have a child, your choices revolve around taking care of that child. A human being needs you to drop the b.s. It’s black and white. You’re either taking care of your child or you’re not. So, in most situations, there is no choice. I brought another human into the world – that was the choice. Now, it’s up to me to make sure she grows up healthy.
I get up at 6am every day because my daughter wakes up. I don’t have the luxury to lounge in bed until 11am. I bring her to school and pick her up every day. I give her a bath every night. I make her breakfast. I make her lunch. I make her dinner. I take her out to play. I read 2 books and sing 3+ songs to her before she goes to sleep at night.
Now the survival instinct leaks into other areas of my life. I complain less about all the things I have to do and just get them done already.
Getting things done fuels you to do more. Believe it or not.
I’m not saying you have to go out and become a parent, but that became my pathway to more energy than I knew what to do with…
I’m sure you play at least one role in your life where you “just gotta do it” — whether it’s a job, something you do regularly for another person, or something do just to pay the bills. Embrace that role and just do it without complaints, without an attitude. Make it a clear – I’m doing this survive activity (or role) and make a clear decision to do it.
You’ve got other reasons you stick with certain activities–ones where you can also make the choice NOT to do them or NOT to do them well. You make a choice. You keep making the choice. There’s a deeper reason why you keeping choosing to do them.
You may not need these activities or roles to survive, but there’s a reason you keep doing them. Do you know why? If not, you may want to figure out your why.
I manage a team and business because I love it and want it to succeed. I blog and write because I like to share what I learn with other people. I like to help people feel not so alone…
I keep writing these posts and pushing you not because I expect you to push as much as I do, but perhaps so I can wake you up to your own genius and give you a spark of excitement. So often people go through their lives with no ambition or goals…I want to help those people remember what it’s like to dream.
Even if your choice is to stay at home with your children, be an amazing parent, or some other non-career related choice, having a strong reason why you do what you do will give you the extra energy you need to get through tough days.
I work on creative projects because they excite me and give my life meaning. My hope is that I can share them with the world and inspire even one person to make a change in their life.
But, it’s my internal drive that keeps me energized. And when I get your emails and comments, I think, okay it’s working…and that pushes me even more. When a product launch does well, it encourages me to stick with it, to do an even better one next time. When I see my work translate into results for myself or someone else, I am insanely happy and satisfied.
So, my reason why is complex. I need to have a goal or a project I’m working on to keep my brain and creative spirit engaged. Now, I also want to be a dreamer/action-taker for my daughter. I want her to see that it’s about the process…I want her to see me still striving for my goals and dreams even now… I want her to see what works for me and what doesn’t and know she’s got choices.
Why I Sleep So Well
So you see…it’s not about having so much energy! I go to sleep and sleep WELL almost every single night. I don’t toss and turn because I’ve usually used up every ounce of energy in me during the day. As soon as Mila’s in bed at night, most of the time I want to collapse. Ask my husband how often he finds me passed out at the end of <insert tv show or movie>.
Making clear choices throughout the day and knowing why I do what I do, keeps me focused, working towards my why, and raising a thoughtful creative daughter.
We all want to sleep in late on the weekends. We all want to play hookie sometimes. Maybe you want to watch Oprah or eat icecream in your pajamas on the couch. Maybe you just want to skip work.
And you can.
But you won’t need to if you clearly define your why and what you must do to survive.