I was sitting with a group of intentional business practitioners** the other day. We were talking about how challenging it can be to prioritize when everything seems essential. How overwhelm is an almost constant companion. How, truthfully, we felt like we were spread way too thin, but LOVE what we do and want it to be successful.
The same theme cropped up throughout the week in groups on Facebook and in conversations with colleagues and clients.
Many, many women are feeling this way. In both work and life.
Most of the conversations and suggestions centered around ways to cope with the overload. How to be more efficient, grounded, more in tune with guidance… Basically, how to keep doing it all.
One woman took a different approach.
Joan Rubendall (who gets to work with flowers all day!) suggested we start “knocking things off the shelf.” It was a great image. And a great idea.
Joan shared how at one point she had expanded her florist business in lots of directions, and how that led to being overwhelmed. So she looked at where she was committing her energies. Finally, she started knocking things off the shelf. Streamlining her focus. Giving up on some of the tangents her dream had taken.
Giving up? Isn’t that like — failing?
No. Not when we do it with loving intention and presence. But that myth is what keeps us from considering it.
One of my She-roes, Margaret J. Wheatley talks about it this way…
Giving up is a moment either of acceptance or resignation, two very different states.
Resignation has a beaten up, victim quality to it. We worked hard and we lost. We’ve been defeated. Now it’s time to retreat, to move on, to put this experience behind us as quickly as possible.
Acceptance is a radically different–we’re in touch with reality, we’ve learned that we’re not the savior of the situation, and we might feel humbled, but not beaten. We have a richer picture of what’s going on and, after a little rest, we’ll reenter the fray.
Acceptance is to be relished. It allows us to sink our feet more deeply in the mud, and from there to find real sustenance.
Giving up — done with presence — leads to acceptance. And that’s not failing. Not by any measure.
It’s exercising your power – your leadership — and knowing when to turn loose accumulated bright shiny objects. When it’s time to e x p a n d into helping fewer people. It’s accepting that serving yourself first is what keeps you a brilliant, radically present woman able to serve in the ways you choose to serve.
Giving up creates space and frees-up time and energy. Then the refreshed you can LEAP back in to a clear, clean, spacious business or life. And you know who wins? EVERYONE.
So, what are you ready to consider giving up?
**Some of you know that I’m a foremother of the Intentional Business Gathering; a group of business owners and practitioners who meet to nourish the heart of intentional business in our local community. If the idea intrigues you and you’re an intentional business practitioner in southeastern Pennsylvania, please do contact me.