Career life Reflections travel

Things To Say Yes To

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I got invited to something really cool – KiwiFoo. It’s in New Zealand, and my schedule for April is hectic but when have I let little things like long flights and jetlag stop me?

So I did what I usually do, booked a flight and told myself I would figure it out. That I could get back and give a talk to let’s not think about how many people the following day. That I could crank out a bunch of work on The Project sometime during the 40 hours of transit… each way. That I could use up 7 vacation days, to spend 5 full days and change in New Zealand. That I’d meant to go to Auckland anyway. That this might finally cause me to get around to sorting out my driver’s license.

Pulled out my Amex.

And then I went back and forth, alternatively looking forward to it, and panicking about all the stuff I have to do, and in the midst got approval for this big project at work for Q2.

Woke up one morning, calm, decided, realising that what I’m most in need of right now is not inspiration, or connections, but just time to get sh*t done.

Not to disparage inspiration or connections – sometimes I have totally needed that, and these experiences are always amazing. But I’m in a serious execution phase right now. And sometimes, however amazing things are be they chocolate cake, lovers, unconferences… the timing can be wrong.

So I sat with this conclusion for a bit, to be sure it was calm and not panic in disguise, and then I cancelled my flights. Status + upgrade restrictions had forced me to buy a flexible ticket (behavioural economics makes me wonder if this wasn’t the case, would I have just felt committed and more OK about it?), but still it was a relatively expensive lesson in priorities, costing about the same as my last extravagant night out (sushi + drinks + desert for two back in January). But cheaper than therapy or a life coach, and longer lasting than the sushi.

Because the wider thing I’m taking from this is – what am I saying yes to right now?

I’m saying yes to execution. Work is crazy busy – in a good way – I’m really psyched for what I’m working on and my career prospects right now. Meanwhile not at my day-job, it looks like I’m about to fulfil a long-held dream, and I’m stepping up my public speaking (again – something that merits it’s own blog post) with a training course and a big talk in April, another in May, and four to hear back on. I’ve been consistently hitting three blog posts a week for approaching a year, and I have a number of other projects in varying stages between planning and a couple of focused hours away from shipping, that I want to keep at.

I’m committing to say yes to well-being. Last year was really rough. I feel like my 29th birthday is looming closer and it makes me think of the disaster that was my 28th (with gratitude to the friend who took me home in tears after dinner at one of the swankiest restaurants in Sydney) and whilst that was a low point, it wasn’t even the worst of it. A talk with one of my mentors and an email exchange had me reflecting on how much more confident I am since leaving Sydney. I guess 9 months of… I don’t even know how to describe it… does something to you that it takes a while to come back from. Finally, I feel like I’ve reached this precarious balance, but that it’s still precarious. So this is me making time to sleep, exercise, eat reasonably and generally rehabilitate myself. This is my project to like London, and my weekly blog posts of things I saw and did which sometimes gets me to the art gallery when I’m tempted to curl up and hide. This is time with my family, and weekends on the continent.

There should be a snappier conclusion and life lesson here, but instead I’m reminded of that quote about work-life balance, that goes “you can have it all, just not at the same time“. Each to their own, but for me at least right now balance isn’t about being pulled in every which direction. It’s about focusing on some fundamentals, rebuilding, and achieving some things that as my accountability parter from a development course last year put it “what are you going to do to make you feel worthwhile?

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