I was an addict! There I said it.
It took me a long time to realise that I was addicted to busy. I started my business in 2008 with the perhaps naïve goals of having more flexibility and time to do what I wanted to do personally. I say my goals were naïve because they weren’t well thought through and I certainly hadn’t defined what that meant for me or put any plans in place to support the goals. What I was really focused on was the high level goal of building my empire!
The irony was that I left my corporate career because I felt it was conflicting with my values. We were heading in different directions and I felt unhappy and unfulfilled. I needed to do something I was passionate about and something that inspired me to get out of bed in the morning rather than continually hit the snooze button. Unbeknown to me, my new venture was devouring my values. And I was too busy to notice.
Whilst I was playing all roles in my business, CEO, CFO, R&D, marketing, IT, administration, fulfillment, copywriter, I was busier than ever just doing all this stuff and feeling very important! And once I had a full book of clients it seemed to become even more of a challenge – how can I fit more in? How late can I stay up and tap away on my MAC at night before I fall asleep on the keyboard? What else can I do? What else? What else?
Until the year when I was continually sick. Every month I would get some sort of illness and it would last for ages. I even embarrassingly fell over running (in front of others) and grazed my knee quite badly. It got infected and took months to heal. Needless to say my body was shutting down but this isn’t a story about exhaustion – this is about busy consuming my values and I had no idea.
I always pride myself on being healthy. Of being energized and what I call ‘on’ in a professional sense. Whilst I like to think I was always ‘on’ I certainly wasn’t a picture of health and vitality – something I value highly. I was sick, tired and exhausted. And I don’t think that inspired anyone.
Needless to say things changed, they had to, I didn’t leave the corporate world to run a business that conflicted with my values too. I could’ve stayed where I was thank you very much with a supported infrastructure and take home a secure fortnightly salary.
Values are often a casualty of busy, to the extent that people can become confused and unsure about what their values are because they have been operating in a way that was similar to me – simply addicted to being busy without any regard to what busy was actually busy doing.
If you can’t reel off your top five values in this moment or understand how your day-to-day actions support your values you may be an unconscious busy addict also. It may be time to stop and consider what your values are and if you are living congruently to them. Because if you’re not, you could be heading for fall too.