I could feel myself grimace as I turned over my “card for the year." Show up.
“What does that even mean?”
Instantly my mind flooded with Facebook ads telling me to “build a six-figure sales funnel,” and “get more visible to attract my dream clients."
I’d come to equate showing up with “the hustle” and I feel entirely allergic to “the hustle.” “The hustle” almost broke me. “The hustle” feels icky. I most definitely don’t take part in “the hustle” anymore.
But they’re not the same, these two concepts I’d been equating. Of course they’re not.
The thing is: I tend to swing like a pendulum from one extreme to the other.
Previously I’d been in full on hustle mode building my life coaching business: writing daily blog posts, creating content upgrades, writing courses, scheduling social media, starting my podcast, booking calls with clients. All while working a full-time job.
I wore my hustle like a badge of honour. I defined myself by my hustle.
When I reached that place of burn out, my body wouldn’t let me do it anymore. I needed so much time to rest and heal that my life looked entirely different than it had before.
And critically, it made me really examine the way I’d been living and what I’d been chasing. Because, really? They were someone else’s dreams. I’d been following a whole bunch of “rules” in order to build a business the I thought I “had to have” in order to gain the freedom I wanted while making a living from my passions.
But I didn’t feel free. Even after I quit my day job I was working as much as ever. I felt chained to sales funnels and discovery calls and posting schedules.
So I stepped back. Waaaaaaaaaay back. The pendulum swung the other way.
I was spending a lot of time on the couch because that’s what my body required but I also needed to take a break from social media and blogging to really figure out what I wanted to share and what the most authentic way to do that would be.
I needed that extreme swing to come back into balance. But eventually things needed to swing back to a more level place.
Hence the signs and calls around every corner to “Show up.” Thanks, Universe.
Somewhere along the way I’d gotten things pretty muddled up. Being seen. Attracting readers. Getting consistent online. All of it felt too “hustle-y.”
The fact is, this year I’m writing a book. I'll be juggling my business alongside a baby. There are things I want to learn, experiences I’m going to create. How am I going to manage all of that if I don’t show up and do the work?
Trust me, I’m not afraid of hard work. I just don’t want to hustle anymore.
The hustle is…
pushing and striving and trying to control every aspect of your life in order to reach a very specific outcome …and feeling like a failure if you don’t get there
being told you’re not trying hard enough if you’re not working 17 hour days
letting work overshadow every other area of your life
- trying to fit yourself into someone else’s mold because you think it’s the only
Showing up is different. It feels different. It’s…
- sitting down everyday and doing the work but not being too attached to the outcome and recognizing that “the work” isn’t always going to look the same
- focusing less on tactics and strategies and more on consistently putting yourself out there, being as real as possible, genuinely connecting, and trusting your people will find you
- getting clear on what’s really important to you and giving your energy to those things
- honouring your own cycles in order to show up for your internal and external needs in equal balance
One of my goals this month was to write 20,000 words of my book. Combined with what I’ve already written, that would mean finishing half my manuscript. But after taking a month off from writing, I felt disconnected from it all. When I sat down to write each day, the words just weren’t flowing and I kept getting guidance that at this time of year, we’re still in the dark. It’s a season for germinating and planning and ruminating and growing roots. Let the doing wait until after Imbolc.
At first I was frustrated. Wouldn’t it be so much more impressive to write half of my book? [insert incredulous, impatient Sarah voice]
But I kept showing up every day and now I’ve written half of a book proposal. The document that will guide the rest of the writing and hopefully grab the attention of a publisher later on down the line. I have so much more clarity around what I’m writing and who I’m writing for. When I sit down in February I’ll have a thoroughly researched outline to jump off from, making the whole writing process so much easier.
That’s what showing up looked like for me this month. I still did the work every day but the outcome looks different than I expected.
I didn’t push or struggle against the flow to do something I wasn’t ready to do. I didn’t stay up all night worrying or banging my head against the keyboard. I didn’t hustle.
Because: screw the hustle.
I've realized that I spent the second half of last year getting clear on what I want to show up for and building a life that allows for that. Where it once felt full and restrictive, now my life is becoming spacious. I have space to show up for my clients, show up for my creative work, show up for my relationships, and show up for myself.
I’ve always been diligent about showing up for my work and that’s not going to change but pulling that card, seeing that as a theme for my year, is a call to show up for myself. My dreams. The balance I want.
Knowing that it feels good (and scary!) to show up because there’s no hustle required.