When you’re exhausted, you make decisions based in fear. This is inevitably the wrong path. Decisions based in fear will always leave you with giant messes that may take weeks, months, even years to fix.
I speak from experience here: during the first phase of my business, I kept pushing, pushing pushing when I was beyond exhausted.
The damage this ultimately did to my body took two years to heal—and this is with shockingly amazing medical miracles that landed in my lap like magic.
Get this: most people with the kind of health consequences I conjured up for myself take five, ten, even twenty years to even be functional in the world again.
I am aware that I am one lucky lady. Let’s just say my gratitude is enormous.
And let’s just say I learned my lesson.
But let’s also just say that a passionate, high-strung, jump-off-the-cliff, adrenaline-loving temperment is not something that just goes away.
WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO INVENT MY ERRAND-CLONE?
Even at this very moment, as I type, about 25% of my brain is wishing desperately for 72 hours and a clone of myself to be magically folded into my world between tonight and tomorrow morning.
See, I really want to assemble some Ikea shelves, totally unpack my office, catch up with three weeks of one class I’m taking and two weeks of another, map out a 10 year plan for this one thing I’m doing, and also possibly do a whole bunch of leg lifts or something.
And make about twenty phone calls.
Of course, as much magic as I have received over the past two years, this extra 72-hours wish is clearly not gonna happen.
The only way out of the compulsion to keep pushing into exhaustion, for me, is to know that I am a total lunatic once I get wound up. To know that I absolutely cannot trust my instincts once I start wishing I could clone myself or rearrange the space time continuum to better suit my to do list.
I know that I have to force myself to stop. That I will not remotely be interested in stopping. That it will seem impossible. That the pull of the next thing and the next and my big plan I want to create is where every cell of my body lives.
THE BIG TRICK IS: JUST ONE CELL
My big trick here is: I just need one cell. Even just one molecule of myself that knows that I am working from exhaustion and fear and cannot be trusted.
If I can get that one molecule somewhere in my field of vision, I know how to listen to it.
(The only way I know this is from the huge consequences my previous mistakes have rained down on me.)
But I have a chance here, if I can get that one molecule of my being to know: this is NOT IT.
The list is not it.
The schedule is not it.
Do you remember what IT is, my friend?
THE OPPOSITE OF FEAR AND EXHAUSTION IS:
Space. Light. Beauty. Peace. It is rest. It is breathing in and really seeing the garden in front of me. The pain in front of me. The joy. The great stuff that has come to me in the past few years and past few days.
The bullshit clutter that I can just take to the Salvation Army already. The stuff I am trying to do that I really can wait on. My own resistance to being exactly where I am.
And the beauty and opportunities that are exactly where I am, that without a nap and a day off and my brain away from my giant to do list, I would never have seen or even thought possible.
The opposite of fear is the space for miracles to happen. It is the space for rest and for love to come in.
And there is one more thing:
WE ARE BLIND TO MASSIVE SUPPORT AND RESOURCES
Get this: the average revenue of women-owned small businesses is still only 27% of men-owned businesses. According to the Wall Street Journal, this has very much to do with our lack of access to resources.
We are in a huge historical transition, where women are coming out of the experience of working with ALMOST ZERO RESOURCES. We are used to pushing and working and making soup from a stone. We are not so used to assuming we are worth actually having enough time to do what we actually want to do.
My theory is: when I get all strung out and am pushing through exhaustion, I am falling into exactly this trap.
Because there are resources out there. Because there is support out there. Because I always thought I had to do it all by myself, and this is what literally almost killed me.
And then once I was broken enough, exhausted enough, that I had no choice but to find and accept support and resources, the miracles happened.
I healed really fast.
(The healing process seemed glacial at the time, but that’s just because I’m such a fire baby.)
Lots of love came in.
Lots of opportunities came in.
My life started to shift towards ease in a way I never really understood it could.
ELIZABETH + EXHAUSTION = TRUE LOVE FOREVER
So yes: exhaustion is in many ways the enemy.
But it also is my dear, dear friend: because it always shows me exactly how I am getting in my own way, how I am repeating my stupid mistakes, how I am resisting the amazing stuff that the universe is hurling at me, how to stop and shift and appreciate and rest and let all that amazing stuff IN.
Thanks, exhaustion! You’ve always got my back, and I will always be grateful for that.