Lessons from the Road: Sunshine and Soul Searching

Today, I’m doing the happy dance that February is over and we’re officially headed toward Spring! For whatever reason, life puts me in “time-out” during the shortest month of the year, which makes it feel endless!

This means I have very little energy or inspiration, and it’s time to go inward and reflect, reevaluate, and recenter before I move forward again. This process is never comfortable, but absolutely necessary to future growth.

This year was particularly intense because I was hoping I could skip this part of the process! I was fully resistant to slowing down, doing less, and resting more. All my stories and programming tells me that pushing myself and increasing my efforts is what will lead to success! If I slow down, everything will stop, die, fail, etc. 

Since nothing positive comes from fighting myself or life, I decided my movement would be toward warm weather with an 11 day road trip through Las Vegas and Southern California! It was much needed to clear my head and I came away with some valuable lessons this year.

The landscape of Death Valley shows that there’s beauty even in the harsh places we visit.

Ask for Help When You Need It

Ugh. This lesson was definitely learned the hard way! Thanks to Brene Brown’s book Rising Strong, I uncovered this nasty fear that’s been holding me back in so many ways. I discovered, through one of her stories, my own serious fucking issues around the idea of being in need! 

One of the messages I received growing up was, “Never rely on anyone but yourself!”. I took that to heart and an unhealthy place. The story I created was, “Needing help is bad. If you need help then you’re a failure and unworthy of success. If you can’t do it all on your own then you’re not good enough.” Yep, there it is. So gross and totally untrue! I’m still unpacking that baggage…

Before setting out for the road, I reached out to some of my wonderful family to see if I could visit for a few days. Of course they said yes, because that’s what we do for each other. I’ll tell you what, during those days, I felt so incredibly loved and cared for! They gave me food and shelter, took the time to connect, and let me know how happy they were that I’d come to stay. 

All I had to do was ask. After each stop, I left with a full heart and belly, hoping that I’d contributed something positive during our time together. It made me incredibly aware of the reciprocity of life. Sometimes we give, other times we receive. It’s two sides of the same coin and both acts are to be celebrated. 

A beautiful walk near Newport Beach with family.

Less is More

“Doing” is my default. When uncertainty strikes, I’ll just action my way out of it! No, what really happens is that I end up running in circles and wasting my valuable time and energy. 

If you’re hiking in the forest and there’s a dense fog, don’t keep going, you’ll end up lost if you can’t see the trail! You stop and wait for the fog to dissipate. It always does. February is usually a month of fog for me, and I’m learning to be still, do less, and wait for the moment when I can see more clearly.

Clarity comes when I have more downtime and use it to process and reflect on the past season. Also, downtime can be super uncomfortable for me! I’ve grown up in a culture with the “hustle” mentality, and it’s SO fucking hard for me to just be still. My brain starts freaking out and telling me all sorts of bullshit stories like, “You’re never going to be successful unless you work harder!” and “Don’t spend your time sitting at the beach just watching the waves. That’s a waste of time and there’s more work to do, lazy ass!” 

I know, my internal dialog isn’t very kind sometimes. I’m working on that too. 🙂 What I discovered on this trip is that when I stop worrying about how much time I’m spending on work and just focus on doing what I enjoy, everything comes together much more easily! All the important stuff gets taken care of, because I WANT to, not because I’m bullying myself into doing it. 

Hiking Death Valley’s Golden Canyon. I can do work, capture moments, and enjoy my life all at the same time!

To help find clarity about the next steps, I made a list of the things about my work that bring me joy and what things really are a drain. I’m determined to do more of what I love and less of what I don’t, even if that means hiring someone to take care of the stuff I really don’t enjoy! 

Connecting is My Superpower

People are my jam! I find the human experience totally fascinating and love connecting with others on this journey. Whether it’s a stranger at the bar next to me or my tribe of super close friends and family, I want to understand them and myself!

I’m curious by nature and ask am always examining our behavior in my head. What makes us tick? Why do we make the decisions we do? Why do I feel uncomfortable with being still? Why is my brain like a runaway train sometimes? And the questions are endless… 

In observing my reactions on this road trip and listing out what I enjoy most about my work, I discovered it almost all comes back to connection. Whether it’s time with family, a Zoom call with a colleague, hosting a workshop, or great conversation over a beer, I love the authentic connections with my fellow humans! 

Spent time connecting with a new friend while in Las Vegas in the Container Park. Connection + work = awesome!

How this plays out in the next seasons of life and business is unknown, but the first step is getting clearer what lights me up and finding more ways to do it! I’m so grateful I listened to my intuition and hit the road. A change of scenery always gives me a chance to work through what’s happening inside and regroup so I’m ready to emerge with new life in Spring. 

Your Turn

What lessons have you learned so far this year? What are your superpowers? How do you hold yourself back?

Annie

>