Life Design Action: Autumn Shedding
Requires: A circle, a dot, a new set of boundaries, a wheel barrow/rake/compost heap
I often have clients who come to me in a state of overwhelm. They’re desperately longing to create a simpler, happier lifestyle but their day-to-day existence is too cluttered to even move. They have too much to do, too many responsibilities to uphold, too many people to please and more would keep flooding in.
The question, when you are facing a jungle of commitments, is where on earth to begin the clearing!
A brilliant technique, taught to me by my friend and coach Emma Wallace from the House And The Hill Creative Retreat (I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing this) is to draw a circle on a piece of blank paper and in the centre of the circle, draw a dot.
This dot is The Point.
The Point is why you do what you do.
It’s sort of like your heart.
Now start writing inside the circle all of the things that you are currently doing, engaged in, committed to and overwhelmed by. This can include roles you have from parenting to a volunteering; relationships that take your time and energy; jobs, hobbies, etc. The ones that are vitally important need to go very close to The Point. The less important activities can be placed further out, towards the edge of the circle.
The idea of this is that it sifts the vital “life-blood activities” from the “I-could-let-go-of-this-and-survive activities”.
Once you have everything written in the circle, list those same activities on a sheet of lined paper. Start with the most important at the top and then work down to the least important. Now do the same with relationships and commitments.
Some of the things on your list you will recognise bring you little yield. They zap your energy and you get no real substance out of them. Make a decision to reduce the time and energy you spend on this thing. If you feel you can’t reduce your input, you may need to ask yourself WHY you are pouring so much of yourself in if the yield is small (could be a self worth issue).
Other things on your list will bring you a higher yield, either emotionally or financially. Again, check the balance between what you put into these areas and what you receive. Decide whether they need to be kept.
(About 80% of the people I’ve worked with in the area of prosperity, have an imbalance with their input/output. In other words, they are perfectly comfortable with givinggivinggiving, but when the idea of receiving makes their lovely little toes curl. The plain fact is though, if you are over-giving and under-rating what you should be getting back (either emotionally, mentally, spiritually or financially) you are creating an imbalance in your life. You will drain all your energies in the output, fail to refill with input and the result is overwhelm and life clutter.)
Once you have made the decision to shed the unnecessary/out of control commitments that you’ve acquired, the next step is actually cutting them back.
1. Decide which area you are going to work on shedding first. I’d suggest picking one area to focus on each week to avoid getting overwhelmed.
2. Prepare yourself for a conversation that may mean you have to disappoint someone. Explain to them that you would love to help, however you are looking to simplify your life at the moment and need to let go of a few commitments.
3. Once the commitment is cleared, spend time enjoying that space. Stand in it, stretch, feel the light pouring in. The more you hook into that feeling, the more confidence you’ll have to clear the next patch.
4. Be ruthless in guarding your space. Learn to say no and not feel guilty about it. You are a good enough person, without having to please anyone else.
5. Inspire others to shed some of their clutter and create a little more life space too.