“I dare you to take the rest of the day off”
If this challenge hadn’t come from someone I admire and respect I would have easily brushed it off and continued head down in work that, honestly… could wait.
I checked over my shoulder to confirm that no one was looking over it to monitor how productive I may or may not have been today.
I scanned the room for permission from something that does not exist.
I looked at my to-do list to confirm that this dare, should I choose to accept it, would not result in a missed deadline, a disappointed client, or a forgotten commitment.
AKA … confirming that the world is not, in fact, ending.
And that’s when I realized…
How much of my life have I operated from a place of: “how do I not get in trouble today?”
Or from “how do I be the most efficient/productive/helpful” and equating that to my worthiness?
I can’t tell you how many jobs I had where you’d have to at least LOOK busy when the boss came by so that you wouldn’t get yelled at or accused of laziness.
When I was 8, I went camping with a friend for the first time. We were packing up the campsite, and as a guest and also an 8-year old new to camping… I didn’t know what to do. But just give me direction and I’ll do it. The friend’s mom looked me in the eyes while saying to her daughter “next time bring someone more ****ing helpful.”
I suppose that since then, combined with the fact that society, since the Industrial Age, has lived in an epidemic of productivity based self worth… I’ve been trying to be the most helpful I can be.
Has that served me?
Yes. Certainly. To a point.
I’m ambitious. I’m driven. My brain is wired to switch between tasks at a sharp speed. I’ve built million dollar businesses. I have a team of incredibly talented people I have the honor of leading. And clients that it is a pleasure and joy to work with every day.
I’ve also failed. I’ve made decisions based on status that crashed and burned. I chose relationships that put me in a box and for a time I believed I was safer there. I looked for external validation and didn’t even know what it meant to find it within.
So yes, it’s served me, in a way, to operate from a place of trying to “prove myself”. A chip on your shoulder can be a great motivation but at some point it becomes so heavy it weighs down your potential.
Thats when we are faced with the choice of changing fuel sources. From pain to purpose.
I think this is the threshold all entrepreneurs eventually reach. Do I continue operating from this place? OR how can I shift in my identity to become the entrepreneur that we have the potential to be? The pain of constraint can become a call to adventure.
I’ve heard over and over again: in order to grow, you need to do less. But due to the subconscious programming I’ve operated from for so long, I’ve had a hard time really believing it.
Even in resting, I’d try to be the MOST PRODUCTIVE at it! 🤣 I’d plan to work out a 8, read a book at 9, go for a walk at 10. Still checking boxes and calling it “rest”. I was looking for an outcome… a formula that if I do x I’ll get y result. Hoping that during this rest, some big epiphany will arrive so that I can still call it productive and somehow base my self worth on that outcome. To prove that I wasn’t being lazy or wasting valuable time.
So this is me working on changing my fuel source to: “how can I be the most spontaneous and playful today?” And surrender into the trust fall that by doing less, it actually does provide the vision and mental clarity to be the creative entrepreneur that I want to be.
So first up… I’m taking today off 😉