How to Prioritize What Truly Matters
The other day I was being interviewed by my lovely friend Nitika Chopra. She asked me the ultimate question, something that we all struggle with: “Balance is a very frequent buzz word in the wellness industry and I know it is crucial for me in my business, setting boundaries, not overcommitting, making “me” time, etc. How do you find balance and prioritize self-care with your business?”
We often chew on this topic around my virtual water cooler, because we know that the answer to this question allows us to create the conditions for holistic success. So how can we tell the difference between what really counts and what ends up being a distraction—or what I call a shiny object? You know, those things that seduce us into dropping important life plans and joining a rock band. Stuff that seems ah-mazing at the time, but ends up pulling you away from your health routine, spiritual practice and financial well being (while adding crows feet & belly fat).
When it comes to shiny objects, people are like barracuda. We get mesmerized by the sparkly, swirly stuff. Have you ever seen those spooky fish underwater? I have. In fact, back in 1980 I was the youngest kid to be certified as a scuba diver in New York state. I remember my dad telling me not to wear jewelry because barracuda would try and eat me. They don’t care if it’s a hoop earring or a hook at the end of the lure, they just want to chomp the twinkle. Needless to say, I tinkled in the ocean the first time I dove through a school of those toothy fish.
Shiny objects can also feel close but not quite right, maybe even forced. They leave me wondering: what’s the benefit for me after I give my time and energy? Opportunities are core to my mission, they feel like a near perfect fit, and I can easily identify rewards that are in line with my goals and values. Opportunities feel exciting and expansive.
So how do we prioritize what truly matters?
While our lives are filled with countless opportunities, every commitment we make brings us one step closer or further away from our dreams. Some quickly propel us forward. Others stop us in our tracks. The good news is that no matter what we choose, we always get the chance to grow. Our triumphs teach us and so do our challenges. That said, I’d sure as heck love to limit the so-called setbacks as much as possible!
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Be brutally honest with yourself. When you think about the potential shiny object in your life, does it light you up like a Christmas tree? Can you see yourself committing to it for the long haul? Or is it an escape from something else–something far more important. For example, the second I get a book deal, I can’t wait to renovate or buy some new, useless gismo that requires a thousand hours of training. I’ve wasted my time with shiny object business deals, men, health experiments, fitness routines and so on. By the way, I’m usually more attracted to disco lights when I’m bored or impatient. Sound familiar?
Two ways to overcome a shiny object affliction.
One: Get clear about your core values. I love how my friend Danielle Laporte talks about creating goals with soul. Excavate how do you want to feel in your skin, heart and career and then act accordingly. Reverse engineer it from that space. Feelings first. Outcomes second. Ultimate alignment. Check!
Two: Walk. Pray. Sleep. Never say yes right away, even if you’re 100% sure. Best to take a walk, talk it over with the chipmunks, pray about it and sleep on it. Personally, I also don’t ask for too many outside opinions until my gut has had a chance to weigh in. After all, my intuition knows best (and so does yours). Many times my answer looks something like this: Good, but the timing is off. So I put a pin in it and stick with my regularly scheduled program! And if the opportunity isn’t a fit, it’s a no thank you, my dance card is full.
I’ll be honest, I have to be very mindful about committing to the practice I’m sharing with you. If I’m not careful, I can easily regress into a people-pleasing “yes” pez dispenser, who periodically loses her mind and agrees to everything–especially around the holidays! Do you know what I mean? Have you ever felt an absolute “no-way-Jose” in your bones, and just as you’re about to politely decline an offer, your brain gets possessed by a boundary eating zombie who moans “yesss, yessss, yessss!”
Join me. Put your energy towards the experiences that make you exhale. The universe is extremely generous. We will never miss out because there’s always another chance headed our way.
In the comments below, share one shiny object that you’ll happily decline.
Peace, barracudas & zombie hunters,
A daily meditation practice can help bring more focus into your life to help you prioritize. Check out my Self-Care for Busy People meditation album by listening to the Pep Talk meditation for free. Each track on the album is under 15 minutes, making it easy to fit a mindfulness practice into your busy, beautiful life.