This week I have been navigating some new opportunities as a coach and author. They bring with them more visibility and the chance to share my flourish teaching and to connect to a much larger audience.
It is really exciting and if I am honest, scary.
My nervous system has been vibrating with an extra charge the last several days. My sleep is a little wacky. There is a bite in my tone to my sweet husband as we discuss our taxes. I feel distracted while my youngest reads me her newest hand-drawn comic.
Luckily, I recognize these symptoms.
Like many of my clients, I am a recovering overachiever. And before my introduction to the Enneagram over 12 years ago, I would have chosen to kick these scared voices to the curb. I would try very hard to ignore them. To give myself phony pep talks/ultimatums like “You just need to put your shoulders back and go in there like you know what you are doing….”
But running from demanding inner voices had an unexpected outcome.
It would drain the sweetness out of the moments of culmination.
When the project was done, the speech given, the article published, the course launched, I had a hard time enjoying it.
I was more relieved than happy. In part because I didn’t really give myself any credit.
I kept looking to the outside and the outcomes and other people’s opinions to guide my feelings.
Now I do things differently.
Rather than pushing my way forward, I stretch in new directions. I let myself feel the pleasure AND the discomfort in the expansion.
Like a plant in the garden, to grow upward requires deeper and wider roots.
I am FAR from perfect but I do know how to help myself in these stretch moments much better than in the past. I lean on the tools and resources I have collected (the same ones I share here with my community and with clients.)
Practices like tapping and chigong bypass my thinking brain and soothe my body directly.
Meditation helps me remember that I am not just a separate lonesome self with something to prove but that I am held and deeply connected.
And the most powerful practice of all: telling the truth!
First to myself by simply acknowledging the fear or self-doubt that is present.
To make space for it and normalize it as part of growing.
To offer the scared one within a cup of tea and some compassion.
And telling the truth makes it easier to open to the relationships that surround me.
To draw in nourishment from my husband’s hugs and the ways my kids make me laugh.
To let myself take breaks and walk the hills around our house or head out to my monthly book club and enjoy a glass of wine.
To connect with my neighbors and reach out to my coach for encouragement.
Each microbreak helping me relax my death grip on my to-do list.
And enabling me to pick back up the work at hand with a lighter touch.
Sometimes people avoid diving into the Enneagram because they don’t want to be put into a box.
Again and again what it provides me is freedom.
I write much more about the Enneagram and mindbody and mind-set resources to help manage stress in my book The Flourish Formula: An Overachiever’s Guide to Slowing Down & Accomplishing More.
And this month I am doing something really special. I am donating 100% of the proceeds to social and ecological causes. (Since publishing the book we have been donating 50% to an amazing mentorship program for girls in Nicaragua. This month I am matching that donation with a second donation to tree sisters.org, who fund the planting of tropical trees, sequestering carbon and replenishing the world’s forests. Something hyperlocal and human-focused and something global. Because, balance.)
I hope you will grab your own copy or buy one for a friend.
And I have a whole collection of additional resources for readers called the Flourish Kit.
Directions for how to access it are in each book.
Flourishing is never a solitary project. We are in this together.
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