Last week I had a delightful evening of Thai food, wine and deep, soulful conversation with three dear friends. One was in her mid-seventies, one in her late sixties and the other was in her mid-fifties.
One thread of conversation that lingered with me long after the plates were cleared, was around what they say yes to and what they say no to. In essence: how they manage their energy. They shared one of the most liberating aspects of being in the second half of life is an unwavering allegiance to self, which supports them in saying “no” and letting things go– even if the project, invitation or offer sound incredibly exciting or enticing.
I’m with them. The mantra you’ll hear most in my office is, “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.”
As I look at the many work and community projects on my plate right now for 2016, I am pausing frequently to revisit the dinner conversation from last week and remind myself that my energy–my life force–is finite and precious. And I am the gatekeeper for how I use my energy and what I decide to create or let wither on the vine. No one else can make these decisions for me.
Just because I can … doesn’t mean I should:
~try to make the perfect meal from scratch, buy the ideal gifts, host family or out of town guests
~go for more training, education, career advancement or bigger clients or projects (contrary to what our culture says)
~buy more, do more, upgrade materials possessions (our quality of life is enhanced by removing things-not adding them)
~always strive for everything to be the best (damn, this is a hard one for me: I’m always wanting to “elevate” programs at my son’s school and am constantly reminding myself that often, “good is good enough”)
~say yes to a volunteer/community or work opportunity that looks juicy and might even help a lot of people (or impact global warming!)
To stay in integrity with myself I have to not just be mindful of how and where I direct my energy, but vigilant and sometimes even militant!
Because at the end of the day, I don’t just want to feel like I’m making a difference in the world, I want to do so knowing I didn’t abandon “ME” for “WE.”
I’M HERE FOR YOU. It’s belly-button gazing time. This is the time of year we start thinking about what worked and didn’t work over the last year and what we want to do differently in the New Year. Inevitably, “work-life balance” graces the top of most people’s wish list. Since 2000, my team and I have offered life balance workshops/retreats, coaching and books/online courses and would love to help you experience less stress and more resiliency in 2016. Shoot us an email at info at reneetrudeau dot com or call us at 512-459-6700 and let’s visit. I’d love to support you!
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher/coach/self-care evangelist and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Offering custom life balance workshops, women’s retreats, training/certification, books/telecourses and individual career coaching, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-care groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 13 year-old son. More on her background here.