3 simple steps to stop making it so freaking hard

This year Mike and I have had a goal to be one of the top 25 growers in the network marketing company we partner with.

Last year we had the same goal and we missed it by one spot. We were number 26. It simultaneously felt great to be that close (you know what they say: if you shoot for the moon, at least you’ll land amongst the stars) and crappy to miss the chance to be whisked away on an all-expenses-paid trip to the Dominican Republic.

So, we set the goal again this year. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

But here’s the thing: until very recently, I had been holding on so tightly to this goal that if it had been a little bird, I would have killed it by now.

The goal had claw marks in it. It couldn’t breathe because I’d been suffocating it with the intensity of my grip.

Suffice it to say, having this goal was not feeling good. It felt desperate, needy, icky, and pressured.

Thankfully, while I was having dinner the other night with Scott, one of the top earners in our company, I shared my goal to be in the Growth 25 and how it wasn’t feeling good. I also shared my action plan to achieve it: work my butt off and sacrifice everything for the next 10 weeks to make it happen.

In his adorable Texas drawl, Scott replied:

“You know, often times we think that in order to make more money we have to work harder. But that’s not always the case.”

Cut to me sitting next to him, a stunned expression on my face.

Do I not teach the power of choosing ease?

Do I not teach how the feminine energy of pleasure and enjoyment attracts to us what we want?

Do I not teach that there’s no inherent value in working more hours just for the sake of working?

Do I not teach that it’s not about working harder, but instead smarter?

Yet here I was with my death grip on a goal, ready to sacrifice enjoyment and well-being to grow my business.

Thank God for Scott and his simple wisdom.

It doesn’t always have to be so freaking hard.

Is there value in buckling down? Absolutely.

Do you sometimes have to forego your freshly homemade green juice for producing good work on that particular day? You bet your bippy.

Is getting where we want to go sometimes uncomfortable? It can be, especially if it’s somewhere we haven’t been before.

But squeezing our goals so hard that we give ourselves anxiety attacks from the pressure of it all is totally optional — and actually possibly not even particularly productive.

Not taking good care of yourself in the name of hitting a goal just for the goal’s sake is absolutely insane.

Working harder and harder for more and more hours without intentionally choosing actions that produce results is asinine.

As I listened to Scott talk about the possibility of growing a business by focusing on efficiency and cutting out the activities that don’t net the results we’re looking for, my shoulders relaxed.

As he waxed eloquent about the power of outsourcing, focusing on the most important, not necessarily the most urgent, tasks first, and having clear boundaries, my soul breathed a sigh of relief.

Go for what you want. Go for it with gusto.

But remember that white-knuckling it and suffering for the sake of achievement is absolutely optional.

How you do it is what you get.

When you make it to the podium, get the gig, win the award, or cash the check, it will feel better if you made the process part of the prize.

And remember, making more money, growing your business, or expanding in any way you desire doesn’t necessarily mean working harder.

You want 3 concrete steps to help you stop making it so freaking hard? Here you go:

1. Get clear on what you want (and perhaps more importantly, why you want it).

2. Choose the activities necessary to get you there without spending a lot of time and energy on extraneous stuff that doesn’t net results.

3. Enjoy the heck out of making it happen.

Then you can smile with the delicious satisfaction of not only having reached your goal, but also of having had a damn good time along the way.

This is what I shall be doing over the next 10 weeks as I grow my business with ease and pleasure.

It doesn’t have to be so freaking hard. How you do it is what you get. (Tweet it.)

Do you have a goal that could benefit from you loosening your grip a bit?

How do you make sure that you enjoy the journey while reaching for a goal?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

180x150-Lightening-the-Mother-LoadP.S. Speaking of things not having to be so freaking hard, my mom, Dr. Christiane Northrup, is teaching a fabulous course called Lightening the Mother Load: Healing Strategies for Daughters starting May 9th. In honor of Mother’s Day and the mother-daughter relationship often being one of the most challenging in our entire lives, she’s teaching a course to give you some practical ways to infuse your relationship with your mother with more ease. Interested? Click to find out more and register.

 

 

Want More?

Everything I’m doing now is with The Origin Company

Head on over

35 comments

  • Lovely. Thank you. As someone who is just starting a business and seriously in the middle of a big sea of WTF, this is much needed balm for my soul.

  • Exactly what I needed to read today. Especially, “By focusing on the most important, not necessarily the most urgent, tasks first, and having clear boundaries.”
    Thank You.

  • Agreed! Just today I was freaking out about a (self imposed) deadline and getting so stressed I almost didn’t give myself permission to go to yoga. So, I had a chat with the boss (me) and decided to push the deadline. Ahhh sometimes we forget we work for ourselves for a reason!

    • Kate

      Nice work! Yoga is important!

    • Anita

      As a very very new self employed person I am virtually drowning in the sea of WTF and I’m tripping over my self imposed deadlines. Thanks for reminding me that the whole point of leaving the corporate world was to lighten up, have some fun and be kinder to myself :-) (need to remember to breathe as well!)

  • Angela

    Wow! This is just what I needed today. My business is homemaker and raising my three boys. We are currently fundraising and planning for a big trip to Maryland for National History Day and it has seemed overwhelming and incredibly stressful and it’s because I’m holding on to tightly. Time to loosen my grip and enjoy the process. Thank you!!!!

  • D

    Great advice Kate, we have to be cautious when our desires turn to worries, because worrying is like praying for bad things. Thanks for the reminder, and good luck with your goal, may you enjoy the process and the prize.

  • Carmen

    Thank you thank you – how timely. I’ve been clutching onto a goal of getting a “better” job and moving and I’m definitely strangling it. Poor little bird. Learning to lighten up is difficult, isn’t it? Still working on that… (lots of deep breaths…)

  • Wow, thanks Kate, this post could not have come at a better time. This week I have been really struggling as to why nothing is happening yet to move me forward in my business when I have been doing so so much everyday to try and get that one step closer, yet not seeing any results.

    Thanks for this reminder!!!

  • Scott

    Chiming in with my Texas draw = ) Thanks for the shout out Kate, glad I could help shed some light. You pretty much nailed it with this post. I still remember the day I woke up and realized I was mistaking movement for achievement. It changed everything for me. Creating my don’t-do list has become just as important in my biz as my to-do list.

  • Kate you ALWAYS amaze me!! WIth your “spot on topics” & your beauty of putting it all into words!
    I am in the process of going to places in my work world where I have NEVER been before! I am SUPER excited and at the same time I am challenged with the balancing act of what to do, how to do it & when to do it…..AND to be in joy along the way! Thank you for your genius:-)

  • This is great Kate! I just had my lesson with this last month. I was trying to do too much (because I love my business and I’m so inspired!!), and wound up getting a cold that put me in bed for a week plus. I realized I was burning the candle at both ends and needed to create more balance, so I decided to let go of one of the fairs I would be vending at so that I could have my health and sanity. It made me realize that I can do other projects that increase my business and my reach that don’t require so much intensity. It is a great feeling!! I spent time with friends and nature this week, which will feed and fuel me far more than crunching to meet a deadline.
    Huzzah to keeping it fun and easy <3

  • Divine timing this article popping in my inbox! I’m trying to squeeze out my goal of cracking 6 figures, but I’m concentrating on the arduous urgent tasks rather than the important i.e. finishing off my e-book.

    Thank you I’m going to loosen my grip and the manipulation. Making sure I keep balanced during this journey!

    I love the line you said about making the process part of the prize.

  • Kate, I SO needed this right now! Not only for business stuff, but just generally life stuff as well. Thank you so much! I’m now going to spend my Sunday afternoon playing outside and just trusting that the work I’m doing will bring some great results in time, without all the stress and anxiety.

    xox,
    Ashlee

  • Great post, when you work too hard you burn yourself out and quality suffers, just best to ease up and do your best.

  • Great post Kate, you have a wonderful way with words.

    I received your book for Christmas – it was totally worth putting it on my list because I’m loving it!

  • I started my own business two years ago. I work virtually as a social media manager from my home office. My days can get full real fast and often I find myself working late. Letting go and expanding my team has been the hardest part for me. Realizing I don’t have to work my fingers to the bone and do all the work. A combination of many minds is better than one, especially in the marketing world. As always I love your blog posts. I wrote a review of your book when it first came out. Your weekly messages are empowering and I’m continuously sending people here to help them and me stay in a positive money mind-thought.

  • So funny…you must be inside my head, Kate. Ease is a HUGE part of what I’ve been working on in my business recently…and reminding myself to put my intentions out there and then let them breathe is so central to finding that ease. And, as you said, it brings the joy back to work + makes me more productive. Amazing! :) Thanks for your post. And Happy New Year!

  • I went through most of last year “white knuckling it”, and it wasn’t pleasant. I wanted everything and I wanted it NOW. It doesn’t work that way. Now I am more relaxed setting and reaching goals, and if I had a piece if the puzzle that was missing it would be here in your message… “Enjoy the ride”. Thank you.

  • […] freedom through your business while taking care of internal money issues as well. Check out 3 simple steps to stop making it so freaking hard, 6 specific ways I make money and the beauty of multiple streams of income, 4 ways to make […]

  • Great points! I just got back from an hour long walk in the park with my puppy today…on a Monday…because I spent the entire weekend working and my body is screaming I need a break.

  • Thank you so much for this post. I am partnered with same company as you. I have had my tight little claws on some leadership advancement goals! My poor little dreams suffocating. Your post has reminded me to refresh and refocus. Love it!!!

  • […] This week Kate Northrup shared an old post of hers from May of 2013– “3 steps to stop making it so freaking hard.” […]

  • WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching forr seo

  • Exactly what I needed to read today. Especially, “By focusing on the most important, not necessarily the most urgent, tasks first, and having clear boundaries

Leave a Comment

Want to stay in the loop?

Everything I’m doing now is with The Origin Company.

Head on over

LET’S CONNECT

I’m an extrovert through and through so if you see me IRL or online, please say hello! Here’s where you can find me:

Connect