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Action vs. Ease

In 2010, I almost quit my business.

I had a full client roster, an adorable wardrobe, a beautiful website, and a growing audience. I was primed for ever-expanding “success”.

I also had a failing marriage, worked until 2am most nights, was emotionally and energetically depleted, felt numb below the waist, and couldn’t understand why making more money was not equalling more fun or enjoyment in my life.

I was fried, and nearly always on the verge of tears from the overwhelm and confusion.

Then, one day, the ceiling caved in. Literally. Check it out:

ceiling

My husband and I were sleeping, and there was an enormously loud crash in the next room — my office. I was horrified. If someone had been there in that moment, they could have died! What was I going to do with all my clients, all this dust, all the damage? It was so painfully symbolic of how I felt. Done. Fried. Crashed.

I cried for days. All the tears I’d been withholding came crashing down all at once, just like the ceiling.

I started to look – really look – at my life. This wasn’t what I wanted. Yes, I wanted to help people, but not at the expense of my own health, happiness and relationships. I wanted to do good work, but not be a workaholic. Was that too much to ask?

Before we go on, let me say this:
If your vision of a perfect life is doing nothing but sipping coconut cocktails on a faraway beach forever and ever and ever…you should probably stop reading here.

And if your vision of a perfect life is work-work-working all the time, talking about work when you’re not working, and staring at a laptop or smart phone even when you’re on that faraway beach…then this is the end of the road for you, too.

If you’re still reading, then I’m guessing that the truth – your truth – is this:
You want to be in action. You want to end your days feeling productive, like you really accomplished something, like you gave it your best and your best was amazing.

And, you want to feel at ease. You want to feel “in-flow”, spacious in your calendar and mind, and like your actions are yielding you great results.

Great. You’re my kind of woman. Let’s talk about how to do it.

EASE & ACTION. 5 STEPS:

1. Want what you want.
Perhaps you have an inkling of how you want your life to look. But how do you feel about having it? If there’s any part of you that believes that you can’t or shouldn’t want it (we all have these parts), we need to lovingly call in another part — the part of you who’s a Yes to you having it. There’s so much more that goes into feeling truly free to want what we want, but start by locating a part of you who’s a Yes to it. Doing this may create the feeling of the presence of a loving mommy within, who believes in you and is rooting for you, no matter what. Call on her whenever you feel like you can’t do it, to lovingly and firmly get you back on track (remember: sometimes “on-track” means closing the computer and going to bed.)

2. Be devoted to living it now.
Take it from someone who did a lot of waiting until there was more time and money – your life is not going to change on its own. Rework your calendar, and stick to it. Are you supposed to work until 5pm? Then focus. Are you supposed to have dinner with friends at 6pm? Then go. Devote yourself to yourself enough to follow-through.

3. Don’t check email.
Instead of “checking” your email, “process” your email. This handy frame comes from the folks at Inbox Zero, who teach that instead of spending your time looking at your emails, reading and leaving them, get in your inbox with a commitment to get them all handled to completion. Oh, and don’t open your inbox more than twice a day, unless you have a job where it’s a must. I’ve recommitted to this lately, and again, it’s changing my life.

4. Make fun plans first.
When I made my list of the top 10 things I want to accomplish this year (an annual ritual), the top of my list is a trip I’ve wanted to take for years. I see too many ambitious women holding off making plans with girlfriends, rescheduling their massages and “forgetting” to eat all day, because they’re so work-obsessed. Take a look right now at the things you’ve been putting off and get them on your calendar today.

5. Handle that thing.
Most of us have a thing – that thing – that we know we need to do but have been avoiding. Maybe it’s organizing your finances, canceling that project, finally writing that email, or getting that strange ache in your hip looked at. And the more you avoid that thing, the more it takes up precious mental and emotional bandwidth, preventing you from being truly productive and feeling truly powerful. Handle it today, love. It’s been waiting for you, and it’ll feel oh-so-good to check it off the list. You can do it.

I believe in you, sister. Your generous heart, your kind spirit, your wild and simple desires, and your vision. {tweet it}

Please borrow my faith if you need it.

In the comments below, I would absolutely love to hear where you are in your journey, and if you have it, any guidance you have for the rest of us on how to integrate action and ease even deeper into our lives.

// photo credit: In Her Image Photography (top); Nisha Moodley (bottom)

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23 Comments

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    Wow, this couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve had my own business for quite some time now, but have struggled with feeling completely depleted and last year my marriage completely fell apart. I signed up for B-school last year and “didn’t have time” to complete it, but I’m committing myself to really do the work this time around and create a business that feels good to me. I’m also committing to following your tips because they really feel like the right thing for me to do right now, Thank you for such a personal and timely post.Reply
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      Sending you so much love, Jennifer. Excited for you to get back into B-School this year! Much love, NishaReply
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    Nisha! I really needed to hear this today. I just backed out of a commitment that was feeling forced and heavy for me and I was feeling guilty, like I “should” stick with it, but as soon as I sent the email relief washed over me and I feel like I just made space for the right things to surface and come through. I actually teach ease myself, but sometimes even I need permission to honor it. So thank you for that <3Reply
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      Totally hear you, Susan. We so need our own medicine sometimes, sister. Thank you for reading! With love, NishaReply
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    Great, timely and inspiring post as always thank you Nisha. I love how the Universe often forces us to make changes when we don’t listen to our intuition.Reply
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      It’s so true, Nicholette. We can ignore but we can’t avoid forever!Reply
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    This post was crazy on-point today. Luckily my marriage isn’t failing, but it sure is strained with my current work-obsession. I’ve reduced the size of my world to the size of my business. I know this isn’t what I set out to create, and I kind of feel like I just need to pay my dues and make sacrifices up front in order for it to pay off later down the line. Although I don’t know the right answer(s), this was able to snap me back into awareness, at least. Thanks for this.Reply
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      Laura, this is such a great awareness! I truly believe that when we’re over-sacrificing life for business, we’re building an unsustainable business. Some sacrifices will be part of it, for sure, but not the things that are most important — health, relationships, connection to spirit. If you’re depleting yourself, you’re limiting your ability to truly serve. Do you have a coach or are you taking a program like B-School? Having guidance to streamline and take the right steps sounds like it would help a lot! With love, NishaReply
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        Hey Nisha, Sorry for the late post! I don’t yet have a coach nor am I in B-School b/c although I work like a maniac, the funds aren’t there yet (how I’d LOVE to go to Live Free). Once there’s some “play” money, I will definitely invest in a coach… that’s at the top of my Christmas list. :)Reply
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          Wonderful, Laura. Thanks for reading and commenting! xo NishaReply
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    I am supposed to wake up at 5 am to do yoga and meditation? Wake up and do it, after 5 minutes it feels already awesome!! By the way, my inner “Yes you can have it all” part is vey much alive and tells me everyday to quit and relocate to Paris (I am French living now in Germany) to work full time on my coaching business without waiting to have enough clients to earn a living….Crazy am I? Or bold and faithfull?Reply
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      Maybe you’re crazy, bold and faithful, Natacha! Takes one to know one ;)Reply
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      I just love you, too. xoReply
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    Yes my ceiling fell, too, (last year.) Still wondering what that was for! What is the meaning.Reply
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      Kay, hmmm…something to consider! What does your gut tell you?Reply
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    Errrmergerd Nisha! I feel like you have been spying on me! I am uber-guilty of the email thing – and it makes things fall through the cracks! Eek! I am re-committing! Thank you amazing lady – this post if chock full and yet elegant. Side note: I would love to know though, Do you think you had to go through that whole 2am Crazy Period in your life and business in order to get to the other side? (I don’t know anyone successful who hasn’t at least bumped up against burn out.) I know I went through a period like that for most of 2011. All of my equipment and archives were burglarized from my home and I spent over a year depressed, mad and rebuilding/replacing (and nothing else)… A terrible experience, but I really feel I needed to go through it (from where I am standing now) because it made me grow up a lot, re-commit, re-inspire myself…the list goes on. But I never would take pictures the way I do now without that experience – I had to create beauty – not just for my clients but for myself – that blew all my previous work out of the water (since it was all gone). Mucho love lovely xReply
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      I am totally spying on you, Caroline ;) Thanks for the post love, sister. Re: “Do you think you had to go through that whole 2am Crazy Period in your life and business in order to get to the other side?” Yes and no. I think that for sure that was part of my personal initiation, and I can also see that there was a lot of wasted time and energy that – if I had the right focus and support, and wasn’t avoiding other things by working – I could have used for other, more nourishing and fun things, Love you. Witnessing your re-committing. xox NishaReply
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    Hi Nisha, I was so inspired by the B-School video and especially the comments regarding being willing to say ‘no’ to most things – anything that does not call to your heart..to make room for what your spirit desires and needs.. Saying ‘no’ more and more has been the key to feeling flow, space, and energy. I now have the time and space to plan wonderful experiences for myself and will be traveling to Hawaii later this month for a yoga retreat. Thank you so much for the ongoing inspiration. ~AdriaReply
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      Adria, I love this. What a gorgeous lesson — thank you so much for sharing it. Have an amazing time in Hawaii. Sounds just perfect :) xo NishaReply
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    I’m a lot more grounded when I start my day with a journalling session. I’ve skipped on it the past couple days and can feel my head clogged up with all the stuff I haven’t processed yet. I actually quit my business this January (complete with rage and cussing out the Universe), and rebuilt soon after. Right now I’m reminding myself to check in with my intuition through my daily journalling, yoga, and meditation sessions. If I take the time and space for grace in my heart, I have a lot more grace in my day and business. I feel I’m expanding a lot and taking more big, deep breaths now that I’m remembering to live from within, not from my calendar or bank account, because the external things come and go but our internal magic is eternal. Can you relate? My tip would be to embrace more stillness every day and be mindful while you do everything – eat, launder, write, check email – everything. They make all the difference. :)Reply
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    Oh, Nisha. You are so wonderful! I have to admit it, I’ve been “lurking” around you site for a while, but then I just decided…I had to speak! The e-mail thing is HUGE for me, though it’s sometimes so hard, because such a big part of my workday just feels like responding to a billion e-mails. But when I can focus on writing down tasks and doing them outside of my inbox, it really helps. Also, making fun plans is huge. Otherwise, my work ALWAYS expands to fit the time available. Thanks, Nisha. All my love to you.Reply

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