Putting People First

For years I chased success, striving this way and that to make it in this world.

My identity was my business and everything was an effort to better my brand. I burnt the midnight oil, I took on every opportunity that came my way, I paid way too much money to be in the in crowd. I worked everyday, all day, till my hands were shaking and my back was breaking. And thankfully, it seemed to be working!

My business was growing faster than I anticipated, people sought me for professional advice and media publications were graciously accepting.

By the standards of one on the outside looking in, I was really making it. I had everything I’d ever wanted and I was living my dream. But in reality, something felt wrong- off.

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I wanted desperately to quit everything and can remember on many occasions, telling my husband I wanted to run away. I’d day dream about working at Starbucks -something mindless that I didn’t take home with me or secretly hope that I was somehow pregnant so I could excuse myself from work all together for awhile. I was looking for an excuse, any excuse, to stop running without having to face the elephant in my house.

Achievement was loosing its luster. It wasn’t “it” anymore – the be all and end all of my life. I would’ve gladly traded it in to have my life back; to have date nights with my sweety and weekends with my friends and family again.

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In 2013, I took a long hard look in the mirror and owned the monster I’d created. I took steps that very day to start small and work toward changes that focused on making what matters happen.

I set proper work hours and entire days off and installed an auto responder to notify clients. I set meeting days and office days and stuck to them like my life depended on it. I set business goals that were realisitic, that included the maximum number of clients I would take on and marketing opportunities I would engage in. I stopped attending industry events, instead investing in select connections that were genuine and the support was reciprocated.

And most importantly, I started saying No.  No, no and more no’s, so I could say Yes to so much more.

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But it was hard. It felt more akin to 1000 No’s for every 1 yes.

And while I knew what I was doing was right, I questioned myself constantly and feared what people would say. But as with any new habit, time and practice makes perfect- ish!

What followed, was the most beautiful and fulfilling year of my life. My days were filled with more joy than I ever imagine and adventures I had only dreamed of embarking on. My passion was resurfacing, I was falling in love with my life again and my purpose was becoming more clear.

I can admit I sometimes still feel conflicted by these boundaries and shift in priority and focus. Some of the professionals who started with me are now off speaking and running workshops- their businesses have tripled in size and they’ve got “likes” and “followers” to show for it.

But I know that no one can fully invest in lives when they’ve spread themselves so thinly, be it clients, family or friends.

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With my rhythm of life now, I experience peace, knowing the truest part of me wants to be present, fully living every moment. I want to be all there, where ever I am, involved in what God is doing in the lives of those around me. It may not be glamorous or instagram worthy on most days, but I see more beauty than ever through these eyes. I know joy, lasting and deep; contentment, strong and true.

And here’s the secret: I’m discovering that everyday relationships are more fulfilling than climbing the ladder of achievement.

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Each January, when I look back across the 12 months and recount the ways in which I’m most grateful, without hesitating, I place my family, friends and the moments in between, at the top of my blessings list.

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4 thoughts on “Putting People First

  1. I SO needed this today! I actually dreamt all last night about turning in the towel…I want my SAHM life back! But when I awoke, my conviction was that I live what I do…I just need to stand on my boundaries and stop striving! Hugs girl. You inspire me!!

    • I just love them God has someone in mind when he inspires me to write. What a gift to be used to serve you my friend! Praying for you during this busy time that you continue to find rest, purpose and the strength in him to do all that he asks of you.

  2. Pingback: Finding “Your People” and building community | Seeking Grace

  3. Pingback: A season of symptoms | Seeking Grace

For a long time I felt unnoticed and longed for community- to find “my people.” You are it! Please know your presence here means something to me, so don’t be a stranger. I read every comment both on the blog and on social media and do my absolute best to respond to every one!

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