It’s Time To Get Naked
Warning: this post could be revealing. Read in public at your own peril!
When was the last time you got down and dirty with yourself? I’m talking about really stripping away all the rubbish that fills your life and your mind, and getting down to the bare basics of what makes you tick. Here’s a hint: if you don’t quite know what on earth I’m going on about, then you definitely need to read this post.
I got naked with myself a few months ago, probably around the time I first started planning the launch of Woman Incredible. I started to really think about what I wanted to both invest in and get out of this blog.
If you’ve come over from Body Incredible then you’ll know that I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now. What you probably wouldn’t know is how much I had to force myself to blog for much of that time. I’m not talking about the writing, but about all the ‘shoulds’ of the blogging world (there are a lot of them).
But you know what?
The truth, which I was finally big and brave enough to admit to myself, is that I don’t give two hoots about following the ‘rules’ of building a perfect blog if it means I have to spend an unbalanced amount of time doing stuff I don’t enjoy. And that’s what was starting to happen with Body Incredible.
Fortunately for me, when I reached breaking point I decided not to give up, but simply to strip things back to basics and do what I really wanted to do. Write. And that’s it. Within a day I just let all the ‘shoulds’ fall away. I deleted about 30 recurring weekly items from my list, and decided that all I was going to worry about was the writing, and answering comments.
Bad little blogger.
what’s more important? doing things right, or doing things right for YOU?
But really, when all is said and done it’s more important to me to enjoy what I do than to necessarily follow a step by step plan to get there. On occasion this could mean I do things the supposed long or hard way, but you know what? I’ve tried following all the rules (in this area at least!), and while it did help me succeed when building Body Incredible, I also found so much of it so tiresome that I really started to resent the blogging thing. And it was taking SO much time! Time away from my baby daughter and time for personal downtime – it started to become a sacrifice that I wasn’t willing to make.
Have you ever had anything start to take over your life, to the point where you feel suffocated by it?
Perhaps you can think of something that you’re repeatedly giving energy to even now – maybe even despite resenting just about everything about it. It could even be something major, like your job or your relationship. I’m not saying walk away straight away from those big things (at least not without thinking it through), but seriously – wouldn’t it be just wonderful to wake up every day and know that your time was going to be filled with things you actually value?
you need to get naked with yourself to determine your values
If you haven’t got naked with yourself about this sort of stuff in a while then I’d say it’s high time. Sometimes it takes letting go of all the shoulds, musts, and busyness of everyday life to see what really matters.
For me, when I just said ENOUGH and just did only what I’m good at – write – I started to love what I was doing again, and the blog reader numbers still grew! So this one was a bit of a no-brainer. But the truth is that if the blog had have started failing when I stopped doing all the ‘shoulds’ then I may well have walked away from it.
It’s taken me a while, but I’ve now learned not to give away my precious time or energy on something that doesn’t energise or excite me in return. I guess you could say that’s one of my values – a personal rule that I’m not prepared to compromise.
that still, small voice
Values are a funny thing in that even if you don’t really know what yours are, they still manage to haunt you when you don’t follow them.
If you’ve never really thought about your values, or you suspect they may have changed since the last time you did, then let’s take a moment to do that right now. It’s very simple. Values are simply the deep-down, often hidden or repressed, personal truths that you ultimately want to live by. When you do live according to your values you feel peaceful, happy, and like the world makes sense. When you ignore your values, regardless of how successful or accomplished you are, you will always feel a sense of restlessness.
So let’s get down to it.
Tell me – what do you really care about? What really and truly matters to you? It could be money, fame, material success. To paraphase my mentor Charles Poliquin, wanting money or fame doesn’t make you a bad person. Of course there’s probably more to you than just desired riches 🙂 Other values might include honesty, love, compassion, knowledge, time in nature … anything really.
So again I’ll ask you –
- What do you really care about?
- What do you want more of in your life?
- If you stripped it all away, what would you want left?
- How would you want to perceive yourself or have others to perceive you?
- A common exercise on determining values is to think about what you would want said about you at your funeral in terms of how you spent your time and your life. It might initially seem like a morbid exercise, but I think it’s actually very exciting. What could be more exciting than thinking about how you want to live your life from this day forward?!
this is what getting naked means to me
For me, it’s writing (about stuff I want to write about; hence Woman Incredible), but there’s a bunch of other things I really want to spend more time on. More presenting is one of them, like in my upcoming Lean Living seminar series, more working with women to help them take control of their values, but also their body and health. What else??? I definitely enjoy spending quality time with family and friends, and I get pretty excited about learning, especially on anything nutrition or hormone related. It’s crucial to me to be in good shape and healthy; I love being outdoors in nature, especially on a sunny day, I love travelling and experiencing new places (who doesn’t?!) and I absolutely LOVE having time to myself. In fact, one of my values is to take personal time each day – even just 10 minutes to write in my journal, but in a perfect world I’d like to have me time for a couple of hours each day – time for yoga, writing, wandering, thinking. Time for living.
If you look at all of that then you can easily see that my values might be something like learning, communicating, time with loved ones, time for myself, health & fitness, and taking time to see the world – both locally and afar. I’ve found that realistically no-one should have more than 6-8 values, as many things do tend to overlap. But of course you could detail all the ‘sub-values’ of your values if that gets you thinking!
So how about you? What gets you going?
And how much time or energy do you spend actually doing those things? Huh, right?
You do realise, don’t you, that life is now?
If you wait until the time is perfect for you to live the way you want to live – the way you were perhaps born to live – the sorry but very real truth is that you may just never get there. Like so many other people out there. And at some point you may just wake up and wonder why you spent so much of your precious life worrying about or doing things that you really didn’t want to – and in retrospect perhaps didn’t need to – be doing.
Sad, but most certainly true.
I don’t know if I’m just lucky, or determined or both, for whether by accident or design I’ve managed to find a way to make my work and life overlap in such a way that I can’t necessarily tell the difference between one and the other. And that’s a good thing! Slowly but surely I keep re-structuring things to be closer to my perfect or ‘dream’ life, and allow me to live every single day according to my values.
So again I’ll ask – how about you? Here are some points to ponder before you leave:
- What did you do yesterday in keeping with your values?
- What do you do frequently?
- And what do you never do at all, or miss out on often enough that it hurts?
- How about this one – what do you do that clearly goes against your own internal code and makes you feel bad about yourself?
- And – what are you going to do about it?
How about this. Take out your journal, or a piece of paper – right now – and quickly jot down 6-10 things that you want more of in your life. Even the act of writing such a list will get in a mindset of bringing those things into your life – attracting them, you might say. It would be wonderful if you could share 1 or more of those things in the comments. You may even find it helps to keep you more accountable to put it out there to other women!
And aren’t you worth that? After all, remember –
Life is Now. Be sure to Press Play.