Career, sleep, family, fitness, or friends. If you had to pick three, which would you choose?
That’s the challenge former Facebook director of market development Randi Zuckerberg once claimed is “the entrepreneur’s dilemma” — and plenty of accomplished professionals agree.
I certainly agree.
It often feels like there’s never enough time to respond to messages and inquiries that come my way, to care for the people in my life who need attention and care, to continue my professional education (to the extent I’d like), to devote time to activism and bolstering my community, to become a better steward of the planet — let alone to do all the things I want to do, like travel or pursue other hobbies.
But in looking at the list above — career, sleep, family, fitness, friends — I can’t help but think something is missing. As someone prone to burnout (often due to putting the world’s needs above my own), I have to wonder: where’s the me in that list? Where are the pesky and oh-so-woo-woo priorities related to emotional health and well-being?
For starters, where is:
…learning how to love yourself and knowing your purpose in life?
That’s not to disagree with Zuckerberg’s assessment, but merely to create more dialogue surrounding it.
I would assert that friendships, career, family, fitness, and sleep are not enjoyable or fulfilling unless you know, understand, and are living your purpose. But maybe my head is in the clouds because of my current read — Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Admittedly, I haven’t finished the book, and in reality, a good portion of its 316 pages of spirituality/self-help jargon has gone right over my head. But… BUT.
I’ve at least begun asking myself important questions. Hard questions.
One of which is:
Can you spare an hour?
Despite the day-to-day demands and stresses related to the big five above, there has to be time in there for me — for all of us, individually. Otherwise, I would posit that the human spirit simply cannot survive.
Even if it’s just an hour.
So here’s my challenge for myself (and you, if you’ll join me). Find a single hour, rather, make time for that one hour — each day over the next month. Even if you have to wake up an hour earlier, create time and space in that single hour for you to get to know yourself. Even if you have to sacrifice an hour of TV. Even if you have to cut yourself off from social media. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom in four 15-minute increments each day.
We all need time for self-care and reflection, whether that looks like reading (on the train), journaling (on the bus), mindfulness (right after waking up, with earbuds in so as not to wake your partner), meditation (on your lunch break), or some other form of spiritual practice that helps us tap into our life’s purpose.
USE that hour to its fullest. Use it to:
When I need a little more coaxing, I look at the following why-to list (it helps to define the importance of these 60 minutes). This hour is to:
Listen to yourself and your inner workings — then lend yourself compassion and understanding.
Give yourself the care you need but cannot (and should not ever) depend on others to provide.
Stretch your body when it feels tight. Run when you want to stand still. Walk when you only want to sit. Move it to music when it feels rhythmless and defeated. Shake out your muscles when they feel constrained and unyielding.
Breathe when you feel like you can’t.
Sing when your voice is shaky or offkey.
Tend to your soul when it is fading.
Hold yourself together when you feel like you’re falling apart.
Be your own friend when you feel like you have none.
Learn what you must do to love your life again — even if you’re not sure what’s left to live for.
Restore your inner strength after you have become weak.
Revive your spirit when its light is going out.
This post took exactly one hour to write. (Maybe a bit longer.) And there were so many other things I ~should~ have been doing. But this daily exercise is helping me get reacquainted with my purpose — and that understanding is shining an unignorable light on every other aspect of my life. In truth, this hour (sometimes two) a day is slowly starting to change me in ways I didn’t expect.
Can you spare an hour with me?