By Jennifer McCullough
Loosely defined, “grit” is a strength of mind, a strong determination.
Grit is amazing and necessary. It is how we achieve things when we don’t have enough energy or time. It’s how we get through a busy day after a sleepless night. It’s what we use to focus on that project when we just want to throw our laptop out the window. We use grit to take the high road when we fantasize about throat-punching someone. Grit gets us through the tough spots.
We get things done. I lived the first forty-plus years of my life in a state of grit – and it’s likely I will be there again. Now, through a solid habit of self-care, I have a lot more say about when that will happen.
Many women are living in a state of grit and it is exhausting. Personally, much of what I accomplished in my adult life was achieved through willpower, because I did not know how to nourish my soul and practice self-care. I was the little engine that could: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. I had a rock-star career. I kept trying marriage. I gave my all as a mom. I was the one in my immediate family who helped the others. I was gritty.
I was also fatigued, lonely, and losing sight of why I did anything.
My path to balance and joy was several years long and looking back, establishing and honoring my boundaries is when the magic started to happen consistently. Candidly, that’s not where my journey began – because I didn’t know it mattered. It’s where I start with every single client I have and it works every time.
Honoring your boundaries is the answer to almost everything you want more of in your life.
You want more time? Boundaries. You want more fun? Boundaries. You want more sleep? Boundaries. You want more energy? Boundaries. You want more money? Boundaries.
This means you must be REALLY good at saying no to other people’s priorities. It means you must be intentional with your yesses.
Because the real first step to an amazing life is to believe you deserve the best of your own care. If you don’t behave that way – why would your brain believe you deserve anything wonderful? So far, you’ve been conditioned to be gritty but I want you to know life can be easy.
I also want you to know you deserve it to be easy.
When I first start working with a client and ask her what she does for self-care, the answer is typically some version of “I try to eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise when I have time.”
That’s actually just staying alive.
My next question is, “What do you do – just for you – that makes you smile?” I usually hear crickets. Most times, the woman can’t even think of what might make her smile and if she can think of something, she doesn’t have enough time to do it.
Here are 5 steps you can take to start on your own journey to balance, ease, and joy:
Step 1: Believe you deserve the best of your care. (You do.)
Step 2: Come up with a list of things that make you smile. (Think of simple things.)
Step 3: Schedule time on your calendar to do those things. (Do it now. Put it on your schedule.)
Step 4: Say no to anyone and anything that attempts to take that scheduled time. (Boundaries)
Step 5: Do the things that make you smile – even if only for 5 minutes at a time initially. (Smile.)
I’m telling you: That 5 minutes a day will grow, and it’ll change your life.
Having transitioned from the world of a corporate leader to living her own dreams, Jennifer has made it her life’s work to help other women connect to their joy so they can design the life they deserve. Her days are divided amongst her amazing clients, being a mom to two badass daughters, emptying litter boxes, and whatever the hell she needs for self-care. Jennifer is a coach, speaker, and published author. Learn more about her work or contact her via her website: www.yourapocalypse.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org