When you’re clear about what serves you, you don’t have to buy what everyone else is selling.
A couple years ago I tried and find the “perfect” daily routine. I wanted to know the BEST way for me to start my day, be productive, & end my day. I assumed this plan would probably involve some combination of meditation, green juices, lemon water, yoga, cardio, to-do lists, calendars, some new tech software or app I didn’t have, a new day planner, and/or self-help books. Then, I’d be set.
All of this hoop-jumping was an attempt to find “BALANCE” (which for me was synonymous with PERFECTION).
I wanted to do it right.
I began my research with a self-selected list of people I saw as successful; Oprah, Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, Elizabeth Gilbert, Kris’s Carr, Marie Forleo, and Stephen King. A random, hodgepodge, of authors, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and Oprah (a class all to herself).
My “research” comprised of Googling them, reading their blogs, streaming their online videos/interviews, listening to their podcasts, and reading their books. I was starting to get a pretty good handle on what Danielle’s perfectly balanced-self system 2.0 would look like:
- Wake up at 5:30am (because that’s what you have to do to be successful)
- Contemplate the universe, mediate, and journal (because you have to be spiritually connected to be in a state of creative flow).
- Drink lemon water, make green juice, then coffee (the jury is still out on whether coffee was allowed, but I made a compromise). This is balance Ph, jump start healthy digestion, and the coffee was for survival…Did I mention that this process started at 5:30am in the MORNING?!
- Do yoga, then cardio, and weight train.
- Now, your creative work begins. Stephen King writes at least 4hrs a day, Elizabeth Gilbert made a contract with her creative genius that she would commit to writing everyday, even for just a half hour, and while I was making this list Gary Vaynerchuk already published another book. This translated to me sitting with a blank expression on my face (on cup of coffee number 3) and staring at my computer screen.
- Business time. This step will be the rest of the day. Map out your to-do list, accomplish it all, eat a healthy meal for lunch that you prepped the Sunday before, and keep working, never stop working while listening to Rihanna sing “Work, work, work, work, work…” (This turned into me stress sweating and becoming mentally exhausted).
- Come home, connect with nature, walk your dogs, contemplate your place in the universe some more, drink a cup of Oprah chai tea, read a book (because somehow everyone I researched seemed to be finishing at least one book a week), and go to bed (because you’re waking up in 5hrs to start the day over again).
This process was exhausting, and FOR ME, 100% unrealistic.
Ultimately, my issue wasn’t in wanting to learn from successful people, nor was their an issue with wanting to be the best version of myself.
The issue was that I stopped listening to myself in the process and was holding myself to a standard that had taken these other people years to cultivate.
I was looking at their process through a VERY narrow lens, which was “ALL OR NOTHING.”
What I heard in my head was,
In order to be successful you have to do all of these things, in this specific order, & in this specific way. If you DON’T, you’re lazy, you suck, and you’ll never achieve your dreams.
….Do you see how this might have been counterproductive?
I had a lethal combination of:
Not believing I was enough + Comparing myself to others = Anxiety, Overstimulation, & Generally feeling like doo-doo
I dug myself into a whole, and needed to climb out.
Gut check, intention, and BE KIND to yourself.
There is true value to wanting to learn from people who may know more, or have more experience, in the world of business, writing, nutrition, etc. But no one knows more about you THAN YOU. You know yourself better than anyone else does, and what took me the longest to learn was that these other people have a plan that’s right for them.
Generally speaking, the one thing they all have in common is a clear sense of what works for them and they’ve shaped their life around that. THAT was what I wanted, CLARITY, which doesn’t come from someone else. It comes from within.
3 things that I do to center myself and get clear:
Journaling: This process is different for everyone, but for me it’s starting my day (after I’ve kissed my husband, pet my dogs, and made my coffee) by taking 5-10 minutes to check in with myself. It centers me. It creates space in my day, before I have to answer emails, work with clients, or DO anything to check in with me. It’s relaxing, centering, and usually takes about 5 minutes.
Walk through my day like window shopping: What feels good, what doesn’t, and why? It’s amazing how asking myself what I like and why has given me so much peace.
A selective distraction: When I hit a mental block, my initial response is to push harder, and keep pushing until I figure it out. This could be seen as “determined,” but for me this is usually where I make messy/costly mistakes. It’s when I decide I’m going to hang all the pictures in my house. The first 5 are measured properly and handled with care, and then 4hrs later I have ONE more to hang and I just want to get it done and if I keep going and don’t quit THEN THIS STUPID PROJECT WILL BE OVER! It’s moments like these where I get sloppy and have 5 large holes behind a picture frame.
A selective distraction could be an episode of a TV show I like (usually, Parks and Rec or Grace and Frankie), stepping outside and watching birds (silly but true), or looking up puppy videos on Instagram.
Until next time,
Did you find this helpful? I would love to hear from you!