Fourteen years ago on September 12, 2001, I walked my typical route to work from 14th Street and Avenue A up to the Empire State Building where my office was. The building was dark, desolate, and eerily quiet for a Wednesday morning.
Few of us showed up to work that day. The Empire State Building was nearly empty.
The previous afternoon, my roommate flipped me off because I refused to leave the city with her to stay with her family on Long Island. She was scared, and mad I wanted to stay. Even if I was just a lowly administrative assistant at a non-profit, in my world, the show must go on.
Nothing would come between me and my word, and my word was that I showed up to work every day. So I did. I took (and take) my commitments seriously, and nothing or no one would come between me and work.
I’m the boss.
I answer to myself.
And the lines between “work” and “me” are becoming more and more blurred.
I’m sure you can identify, if your work IS your love, as it is for me.
I’ve been paying attention to showing up more for myself, since I am my business.
That includes taking care of my relationships (duh).
Not only with my husband, but with my clients, colleagues and other comrades. And of course, my kids.
My “laptop lifestyle” may not include white sandy beaches while working (no thanks, I’ll take the beach without the electronics, and it’s been awhile since I’ve seen any of the white sandy variety), but it does include the people I care about most.
Pictured below includes said laptop, a sleeping boy, Lenny (the lamb), and a stripped bed, since he had just puked all over it.
I had a few calls scheduled that day the kid pictured above woke up sick, fortunately nothing that was so pressing it couldn’t be moved.
At one point, I would have been so stressed out about this, flaking on people around me, but I’m leaning into that new version of myself that accepts that I can still be successful and put my family first (ironic, given my message, I know).
The fact that I can be there for this kid and his sister and father at the drop of a hat if needed, while relying on a structure I’ve put in place to make a living on my terms and show up for other important people to me as well, is worth more than gold to me.
My big WHY is not only living this kind of life, but helping others do the same. I’ve stopped bending over backwards to accommodate others when it is not good for me or my family.
I’m starting to really (finally) walk my talk.
I’ve cut down my 1:1 client hours and finally have ZERO evening commitments so I can be there if my kid(s) wake(s) up screaming, and am being more present than ever with the people I care about most.
All of these practices – being honed over time – help me show up and be even more present for my clients as well, because they are also the people I deeply care about.
Why am I sharing all of this?
Because if you’re anything like me, you’re probably tempted to stop EVERYTHING and just work on your business.
That’s what I’ve always thought I should be doing, anyway: Working. I figured out a way to do work that I love, and so sometimes, it’s all I want to do!
A simple reflection on my values, however, will show me that LOVE and my family are at the top of my list. Even though I love my work and I love my clients, my family and our health come first.
So when someone like my healthy little boy starts throwing up as you saw above (or at least the aftermath, you’re welcome), I’m all over it. NOTHING matters more to me, and it FEELS good to be able to quickly shift into THAT job as my emergency, without having to fret (too much) about the ramifications of putting the other things off.
What I’m asking you to do is reflect on what values are at the top of YOUR list so that you can start to pay more attention to them and honor them.
Do you notice you are living in a way that is out of sync at all with who you are?
Are you honoring what’s important to you?
That’s the key to a better life.
On the eve of September 11, remember again to get real about, in Sting’s words, “how fragile we are.”
Create your life on YOUR terms, NOW, because now is all we have.
Your life will thank you for it.
Cheers to thriving in business & love,
P.S. If you want some help with creating this life, or managing your relationships inside and outside of business, for less money than your weekly latte, check out this special opportunity today.
Florence Nikas says
I would like to know if I can get a copy of your dissertation on Post Traumatic Growth. I recently graduated with my masters in Mental Health Counseling specializing in Crisis and Trauma. I am hungry to learn more.
Jenev Caddell says
Florence, that thing is dead weight in my closet somewhere and in the library of Alliant International University in San Francisco. I would suggest you look up the work of Tedesci and Calhoun – they have done a lot on Post-Traumatic Growth, I used their scale as one of my measures and they have done even more research on the subject since. Sorry – it was more of a rite of passage than anything else for me, and I’m flattered you asked 🙂