‘Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.’ – Eckhart Tolle.
This is a story about turmoil, fear and self-doubt. It is a story about digging deep, and digging deeper. It is also a story about celebrating, feeling at peace, and letting life flow. Ultimately, it is a story about growth. No, I am not talking about financial or business growth, but something far more important – internal growth.
The turning point
Let’s back track to 2008. In July my twin boys turned 1, which we celebrated with a massive party. I baked 10 different types of cakes, both savoury and sweet, all made from scratch of course. Don’t ask me why. My 1-year old twins didn’t even eat cake at the time, but of course everything had to be perfect! This was a once in a lifetime occasion!
After this milestone, I slowly started to crumble…leading a worldwide marketing team, looking after twin babies and trying to keep up a busy social life was starting to take a toll and I learned that Superwoman simply doesn’t exist. The candle had been burned on both ends for far too long and I knew I needed to do something that would give me better work-life balance.
Little did I realise at the time that the biggest problem was not my environment, but my attitude and my nature to over-effort – hold on to that thought.
With much gusto I founded Twinlife Marketing in Feb 2009 and to this day I am grateful for my twin boys who I simply couldn’t ignore during my time off. I had no choice but to make this business work within 3 short days a week, whereas I could have easily fallen into the trap of going for it 24/7.
Instead, I focused my dedication on exploring and finding that work-life balance. I swapped my intense gym routine for a balanced yoga practice, started to meditate, go on retreats and spent more time in nature and being silent. I was a dream for my teachers as I was keen, eager to learn and always willing to put the effort in to improve. I was looking after myself (and I was proud of it) and sharing it within our business – wellness education has always a big part of what we offer to our team, as I knew how much it had positively changed my life.
What do you really want?
Why then was I feeling a bit empty, low in energy and not that excited anymore at the end of 2017? Had I lost my sparkle? And how could I find it again? What was I doing wrong? Or was this just what life was meant to be like? Was 9 years of Twinlife Marketing enough and was it time for me to move on to something else?
In the beginning of 2018 I made the conscious decision to start digging deep, to honour everything that I would encounter and to try and find the answer to the vital question:
WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?
No, not what your ego wants, or society, or your family wants. But what does your true self, your innermost being, your spirit want? Without attachment to the outcome and without a deadline or a plan of attack (which was extremely hard for me, as that is how I’ve always tackled almost everything in life), without judgement and without outside influences. I knew that this was going to be my own internal journey and I had no idea how it would go, how long it would take and how it would end. It was scary to let go of control and just go with the commitment of digging into the deepness.
It hasn’t been easy. It has created a whole lot of turmoil and resistance and it is has stretched me in every possible way, however as with everything – what is painful in the beginning, and messy in the middle, there is sweetness in the end.
You can only give to others…
The first thing I worked on was my diet. Although I was eating very healthy, I felt that I was lacking energy. With the help of an amazing naturopath/healer, I learned that I was eating too clean and too lean – how is that possible? It was linked to my tendency to over-effort (here we go again) and I was not doing my body any favours. My ‘healthy’ eating was depriving my body of vital energy.
I needed to start eating more energising, warm, soft and colourful foods, drink more red wine and get back into the habit of truly savouring and enjoying meals. I was pleasantly surprised by this advice. Was it really this simple? This definitely would not cost me too much effort, in fact I already knew I was going to enjoy this and then I was also rewarded in the end? I had to get my head around this. It took me about 5 months to get my energy back up and I am feeling really good. The emptiness is gone and has been replaced by more vitality and strength. It taught me that life is about abundance and not about deprivation and naturally you can only give to others when you are ‘full’ yourself.
Finding the midway
Of course, this process uncovered far more than healthy eating habits. It was about learning to find the midway, to do less more graciously, be ok with that and truly enjoy every moment, instead of constantly living in the future and trying to do more and more.
It is interesting that most of us are either on the over-efforting side (future-oriented) or on the lethargic side (past-oriented), whereas THE place to be is in the middle, calm and relaxed with a steady mind, being fully present in the now. Being aware of this and consciously slowing down has helped me move closer to the middle. I am using my breath as my guide. When my breath becomes short and shallow, I know I am moving towards the over-efforting side. I can tell you that the midway is a far more pleasant place to be, with a lot less stress and worry. I am nowhere near perfect and I still mess up many times. But that is ok, as the balance is getting better and better every day. I am slowly learning to hurry slowly.
Quality, simplicity & intention
It realised that I love quality versus quantity and that I am really happy with a boutique business that is selective in choosing clients, consultants and partners we work with. It also made me realise that you simple cannot force relationships, that relationships are always in motion and most importantly that we are all trying to do our best.
It learned that I love simplicity, both in business and in life. When things become complex, they become difficult and exhausting and it is a trap that we can fall into quite easily when running a business. I also started to enjoy the simple things in life so much more, seeing the sun rise, watching the waves break, walking barefoot through the sand and even spending time in silence. Gone is our overstretched social calendar, we are doing less, but doing it better.
I rediscovered that working with a bunch of great people trying to do great things, no matter what the outcome is, is really fun and exciting and gives a great amount of positive energy. And back comes the inner sparkle.
Inner peace & contentment
In the end, it all comes down to finding and keeping inner peace. It is about feeling content, grounded and ok in the inside, every moment, no matter what is happening on the outside. Finding that place within that is stable and unchangeable. Of course, feelings will come up, that is part of being human, however understanding that they are just feelings, that they are not you and that you are just witnessing them helps a great deal in acceptance and letting go, which brings about inner peace.
Let’s start the conversation
It took me a while to find the courage to openly talk about this with my business peers. Would I be accepted? Would they think I am weird? Would they laugh at me? However, the total opposite happened. The more I started talking to people about my inner questioning, my learnings and going deeper than the superficial work-life balance, the more I started to really connect with people and the more meaningful conversations I started to have around this topic.
I learned that I am not alone and that we are all looking for that place of inner peace and inner contentment, no matter what we do.
Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to hear more or share your experience.
Although it feels like I’ve climbed a big mountain this year, I know it is not over yet, and I doubt it ever will be, there is more digging to be done, which is very exciting and a bit scary at the same time. What will happen next, I don’t know. We’ll just wait and see. I’ll just keep practising and let it all unfold, taking it one step at a time, day by day, moment by moment.Tags: personal development, personal growth