How Being Productive Almost Killed Me.

A few mornings ago I was listening to a podcast from Kevin Kruse, http://productivity-podcast.com. I guess you can figure out that he’s a productivity guru.  As I sat there, headset on, reading email, doing laundry and listening to Kevin tell me, in 10 minutes or less, how to get the most out of my spare time… a wee small voice in my head said, “now that I’m not running a business why am I still listening to this?”.  And that Dear Reader was the moment I realized that I’m a Productivity Junkie!

I absolutely get high on being productive.

Yes, it’s a bit of a drug to me. For most of my life, I’ve based a big portion of my self-esteem and self-worth on just how productive I am on any given day. How many things have I rated myself against others by how many things got checked off of my To Do List that day?  If I’m productive I’m worthy of love.  If I’m not, I’m a loser, low-life, crawl in a hole and eat worms and die … you get the point.

I hope for your sake that it does not sound familiar. But if it does, I’ve got you covered, so read on. Do I truly believe any of that crap that spews out of my head?  Well, for a very long time the answers have been, Yes!.  

I was raised a “DOer”.

If you’re not doing something, you’re doing nothing and that means you’re lazy…  The litany starts again.  (I really need to put that to music someday)

After years of self-reflection and expensive therapy, I’ve figured out that:

  1. For me the self-worth/productivity connection that is hardwired in my brain is hereditary. Could it be in my DNA? I hope not. But, for sure it was passed from one generation to the next, like big ears and fair skin. Growing up, love was always there, but it was doled out in direct proportion to what and how much I did.  And was withheld or taken away as a result of non-productivity.
  2. I’m a natural perfectionist. I love the pillows fluffed and the vacuum lines all going in the same direction (usually North to South – I know crazy right?)
  3. I do not judge others based on how much they do or don’t do. But, I do hold productive people in very high regard. And what makes it worse is that I compare myself to them, which usually starts the demonic choir in my head again.  
  4. I let the I’ve done it list feed me and my To Do list defeat me.  
  5. And crazy, mean, self-destructive crisis happens when I’m not mainlining the productivity kool-aid.

Building a Business = Deathtrap

For the past year, yep a year, I’ve been trying to unravel my self-worth/self-loathing patterns while also trying to take my life coaching business to ‘the next level’. Talk about a new level of productivity crazy making for someone like me. The whole building a business thing is full of traps and snags that would send a person with healthy self-esteem into a tailspin for a few days. For me, the business building process was a minefield of crushing triggers that very nearly killed me. Quick, close your eyes and picture yourself putting on almost 70 pounds in about 18 months.  Yep – almost killed me.   

As a solo-preneur, every day was filled with moments and decisions that had the potential to both succeed and fail that rested on my shoulders. For me, the high of the success, like the high of a sugar binge, burned out fast and led me to crash hard. But the fun didn’t stop there.  In an effort to chase that high, I would dive headfirst into over the top, expensive and big risk plans to build the business faster. And, yes, every single one of them ended in overwhelm, burn-out and self-loathing banter with my ego.

My own inner wasteland of self-judgment

So, what did I find at the bottom of those super highs? My own inner wasteland of self-judgment. I could have done better, should have asked for more, I would have done better if I were smarter, faster, more productive…  these thoughts still send me to panic, as I think back on the days I spent trying to balance accounts, find clients and fill sessions. Now that I’m off the crazy train to Falureville, I’m able to look at myself with clear eyes and a compassionate heart, I realize that I set myself up to fail with an endless hyper self-esteem driven productivity, burnout/overwhelm, fear-driven procrastination cycle.

And that is why I finally made the choice to STOP the madness that drove me to gain all that weight, tip over the line from pre-diabetic to official diabetic, lose the trust and support of my ever patient husband and put myself into a boatload of debt.

Yes, completely stop.

On August 29th, 2016 I officially let go of my coaching practice. I had stopped chasing clients and filling the sales pipeline a few months back when I decided to take my son for a little cross-country drive. I’ll write more soon about the journey itself, but for now, know that when we left on June 25th I was only taking a few weeks away from my business.  And when we returned home on August 15th, I’d decided to let it all go. The final decision to JUST STOP and take care of myself happened on August 16th when my last client said, I think it’s time for me to take a break for a while.

And so the Journey of Self Recovery begins…

Hi, my name is Laura and I’m a productivity junkie.

I’m relaxing into recovery and discovering the things that really matter to my, body, mind, and spirit.  One word at a time.

Thanks for stopping by, now go smell the roses or something. 

Laura

 

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