The Art of Being More By Doing Less: Let Go of Fear
Today’s mantra goes something like this:
Do everything. All the time.
We live in such a “work until you drop” mentality that it’s hard to lift our heads from our phones or computer screens long enough to even notice what’s going on in the real world.
We are bosses. We have businesses to run, people to manage, mouths to feed, podcasts to listen to, causes to fight for, a world to save, a body to train, a relationship to nurture. We are running so fast so hard so often that we stop realizing that our reactions to our daily lives can tell us more about what we should be doing than anything else. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what drives 95 percent of your activity?
FEAR! Yes, that’s right, fear drives 95 percent (if not more) of our daily activities to get things done. As human beings, we are hardwired to fear. It comes from our earliest ancestors who were running away from tigers and crocodiles in an effort to not get eaten. Then, centuries more of warring with people through the ages.
We have countless centuries of programming to thank for our tendency to be driven by fear. This isn’t a bad thing though. It’s just who we are. Most of us don’t like the feeling of fear. But, it’s just a feeling with energy behind it. What if we transformed that feeling into something else, like pure energy? What if we used that energy consciously to propel us into our days and have fun at the same time?
The problem mostly exists when we are unconscious and reactionary versus conscious and responsive to our fears.
To start to make the transition, let’s look at a few practical tips you can think about as you transition from doing into BEING.
Raise your hand if you’re a control freak? Same here. This is fear on steroids. If you run a business (or even if you don’t), you know how you like things. You know how you want something to be done. But if you assign a task to someone, after you have clearly explained what you’d like to see, then let that person do it. Completely. Don’t micromanage. Don’t interfere. Check in occasionally to support, but for the most part, stay in your lane, focus only on tasks that are specified for you, and watch how much free time emerges. If there’s a specific problem, designate a window of time everyday to address work issues. Once that window is closed, the discussion is over. This will keep you focused, on task and clear-headed for actionable items to cover. It will also help you trust others more and be in better relationships, thus easing your fears of being alone to do it all yourself.
Know your order.
Will the sky really fall if you don’t respond to your latest twenty emails right this very second? We have become so accessible to our employers, clients, our friends, and our digital worlds that we have a bloated sense of importance and expectation around response times. We hate to wait (and we hate to make people wait). But multi-tasking does not work, and it shreds your energy. Actually, multi-tasking is a myth! Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. We all have a multitude of things going on at the same time. But if it’s not a necessity, “tag” second-tier items as a to-do for later and spend your time and energy on things that matter.
Most of us have become yes people. We say yes when we really mean oh my God, never. But we never want to miss out on an opportunity to further our businesses, a friendship, or even a relationship. In those moments, ask yourself: Why am I afraid to say no? Is it fear of rejection, fear of being wrong, fear of being right, fear of standing up for yourself? Fear, fear, fear. Saying no allows you the space to figure out what it is you actually want and need. If you use your feelings as a barometer, only say yes to those engagements or commitments that make you feel satisfied. Ones that bring you to life. Remember: If you don’t feel a yes inside, it’s a no — and a fear you’re not listening to. Thus you’re doing a disservice to yourself and others. So how does all of this chucking fear to the wind and coming into being relate to your space? Well, have you ever heard of that little thing called the never ending abyss of c-h-o-r-e-s? The same principle applies here.
- Delegate all the laundry to one day, and get the whole family to help. You can even enlist them to have fun with a reward at the end. Put on your favorite Netflix show or Pandora station and vow to get it all done by a set time. You can even make a little competition out of it for added joy!
- Prioritize what has to be done, whether that’s bills, a quick kitchen clean-up, making lunches for the next day, etc. Make a real list with absolutes and those that can wait.
- Identify your gripes. What do you gripe about the most at home? If it’s cooking, get a meal delivery service, or split the responsibilities with a family member or friend. If it’s the house, find an affordable housekeeper. If you need help, ask for it! You are never alone!
Whatever it is, it’s not that critical. Your to-do list will get done. If it doesn’t, then it wasn’t that important.
If you really want to be more in your life, then listen up: Do what you love the most first every day. Even if it’s for five minutes. Whether that’s meditation, working out, writing, blogging, laughing, do it every single day before you even think about opening an email. If you make doing what you love a priority, you will start to do it more often. And then everything else, in comparison, will start to feel like less.