by Nicola Humber
I hear women call themselves out as lazy all the time.
Whether it’s my coaching clients guiltily sharing how they feel they should be doing more or online acquaintances posting to declare that one of their blocks is pure laziness, I’ve heard the ‘lazy’ tag over and over again.
I have a history with the the word ‘lazy’ and it used to trigger me big time.
I’ve been called lazy in the past and it has cut me to the quick. Because at the time, I secretly feared that I really was lazy.
In fact, at my darkest times I would imagine myself as this disgusting, slimy slug-like creature. I had huge shame around the fact that I didn’t want to be working super-hard or filling every hour of my day with activity.
For many years I felt like there was something wrong with me.
But what I’ve discovered in the past few years of cultivating my own, unbound business is that there is no dark well of slothful, sluggishness deep within me.
And what I aim to show you in this essay is that your issue is not laziness, it’s something else completely.
My ‘lazy’ story
Let me start with a part of my story.
Back in the day I spent many years working 9-5 in a variety of corporate environments. And because I’d get up every day to go and sit in an office, I had the perfect defence against being called lazy.
I would show up to work. I would be physically present. Therefore, I was seen (and saw myself) as productive.
But in my time as a seemingly productive member of society, there were many days when I’d sit at my desk, pushing paper around and internally despairing at the mind-numbing drudgery of it all.
And every now and then, I would be unable to make myself go into the office, because that feeling of despair would overtake me.
I’d stay in bed, fantasising about running away, doing something completely different with my life or, if all else failed, killing myself.
These were dark days.
But amidst the darkness and despair, at least I could convince myself I wasn’t lazy. Because I had a J.O.B.
Then in 2010, I started my own business and suddenly I had the time-freedom I’d craved for so long.
When I started my coaching practice, one my very first thoughts was, ‘How should I fill all of this time?’ (In other words, ‘Shit! How do I maintain the illusion of busy-ness and productivity now I have all this freedom?’)
Starting with the main intention of filling my time meant that for the first couple of years in my business I worked more hours than I’d ever done in my 9-5. And this wasn’t because I had to. It was because I chose to.
I chose to work all the hours because I didn’t want to appear lazy.
What if people found out that I was actually this disgusting, sluggish creature who infinitely preferred afternoon naps to hustling?
So I created endless (and often meaningless) tasks because I wanted to look productive.
And eventually I burned out.
What’s worse is the fact that I burned out even though my business wasn’t successful at the time. I was barely making ends meet. After all those hours I’d put in!
Something wasn’t right.
Because I wasn’t the only one. I could see lots of other women around me who had made the bold and beautiful decision to start their own businesses, women who desired freedom and flexibility beyond all else, and those same women were all feeling exhausted, drained and most definitely not lit up or free.
So I started a journey of discovery into why so many unbound women were unable to maintain the hustle, hustle, hustle work ethic we’re told we need. And here’s what I found.
Most of us were brought up with the idea that to be a good citizen, you should go to school, get a job and fill your daytime hours in a productive way.
So, when you start your business, you carry that idea with you. Must. Work. Hard. Must. Be. Productive.
And then, like me, you start to feel tired. You don’t feel inspired and motivated in the way you imagined you would.
In fact, very quickly you find that you’re falling out of love with the idea of having your own business.
‘Maybe I should go back and get a proper job?’ you wonder.
‘What’s wrong with me?’ you ask.
‘Oh yes, I must be lazy’ is the answer you come up with.
Well my friend, no. You are not lazy.
You have simply been trying to fit yourself into an old, linear way of doing things. And as a woman, you are actually a magnificent, cyclical being.
You were never meant to have consistent energy levels.
You are designed to ebb and flow. Like the ocean.
To wax and wane. Like the moon.
To move from the light to the dark and back again. Like the seasons.
And what this means is that some days you will have oodles of action-taking energy. You will feel unstoppable. And on others you will simply want to be, to sit in the void and do nothing.
But of course doing nothing is not valued in our society. (Even though spending time in the void is vital for both your wellbeing and the creative process).
Busy-ness is valued.
So women have felt the need to fit into consistent, work-work-work structures. And when they can’t sustain this, they call themselves out as lazy.
What I want you to know, is that what you’ve judged as laziness is actually your glorious Unbound Self refusing to squeeze herself into a box that was never meant for her in the first place.
And the good news is that when you run your own business, you get to choose what you do and how you do it. You get to create your schedule. So you can harness the power of your cyclical nature.
How to harness the power of your cyclical nature
How might you begin to work in alignment with you true nature, rather than battling against it? Here are three simple ideas for you:
1) For the next 30 days, keep track of your energy levels and desires in a journal.
Notice the times when you feel like you want to be in action, times when you want to be creating, times when you want to be with other people and times when you want to retreat.
Notice any patterns and how they relate to where you are in your own menstrual cycle and the phase of the moon. (For more information on how to harness the power of your menstrual cycle, I recommend checking out Lisa Lister’s wonderful book, Code Red).
As you gather this intel on your own cyclical nature, ask yourself, ‘What would my days/weeks/months look like if I allowed myself to embody the cyclical Unbound woman I am?’ See what answers come to you and give yourself permission to implement at least some of them.
2) Experiment with doing less. Much less.
You may have heard of the Pareto principle which, in very basic terms, states that 80% of results come from 20% of actions.
What if you allowed yourself to do only 20% of what you usually do in your business? What would you let go of? What are those key activities that harvest the best results for you? What if you stopped doing all of that busy work?
In my experience, an approach of radical non-action can work wonders. Give yourself the space you crave and notice what emerges from that space.
3) Create an unwavering connection with your Unbound Self.
Your Unbound Self is the expression of all of you (not just the parts you’ve decided are acceptable). She has no time for the old structures and ways of being.
When you connect with her, you tap into a limitless source of personal power and access her timeless wisdom. This gal has all the answers you will ever need and she can let you know the most magical way to spend your time.
To connect with your Unbound Self, simply invite her in. Journal on what she’s like and what she has to share with you.
And if you want some extra help with connecting with her, you can click here to download my free Meeting Your Unbound Self Visualisation.
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About the Author:
Nicola Humber is an Intuitive Coach and Author of Heal Your Inner Good Girl. A Guide to Living an Unbound Life. She helps women in business to access their fullest, most brilliant, UNBOUND selves (and get abundantly well paid for it). Join her free, online community here. Download a free Meeting Your Unbound Self Visualisation here.
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