Last week I experienced an insane catharsis. It might have been because of my Bipolar Disorder (sometimes I slip into hypo-mania), but this particular one was EPIC as it caused a major shift in my mindset. I'd been struggling with burnout, but that day a strong wave of calm washed over me, leaving me feeling like a Hindu cow. (Of course, I cried for an hour before that, but nobody wants to hear this part.)
FINALLY. I WAS FREE.
Free of constant hustling, of feeling like I have to do everything, of the expectations imposed on me by me, of the constant need to prove myself, of going in circles and feeling like a hamster stuck in a cage, the wheel my only friend.
You get the picture.
I’ve noticed that this kind of thing is normal. Everyone is doing more and faster. Everyone is looking for hacks and more money. The culture of hustling is alive and growing in power. But do we really have to try this hard? Does it have to be so difficult?
Check out this tweet a lot of peeps resonated with:
It makes sense, doesn’t it? When you push too hard, the Universe has to pull. It’s basic Physics. The only time in my life I found a lot of money on the ground was when I was totally in the moment, letting go of yesterday, tomorrow, pressure, expectation, and most of all, money. On the contrary, try to find money, and it won’t happen.
My catharsis happened just it time to spur a much-needed mindset shift, and maybe yours is about ready to break the surface. To help you out, I’m going to cite one of my favorite books — The Four States of Being by Beth A. Grant.
(By the way, the book is FREE to download. Whaaaaaaaat.)
Beth will tell you — better than I can — why we’re struggling so much and how to counteract it so we can lead more well-rounded, healthy, and sane lives. Not all hustle is bad, but you have to admit, it ain’t healthy either.
The 4 States of Being
Chances are, you’ve been through these states a few times, especially if you’re a highly-sensitive person like moi. The quotes are tiny excerpts from Beth's book, so I really recommend you read the entire book. Let's dive in, shall we?
Waiting is the state of being of stagnation or inertia. It is the energy of getting nowhere. It is the energy of staying put, procrastination, non-commitment or indecision — whatever approach works best to keep you in the status quo.
Waiting isn’t about timing, though. It is really about intense fear of having what you say you want.
I never waited when it came to my work, always jumped right off that plane, whether I had a parachute or not. When it comes to my personal life, though, I’ve waited many times to make a move. And when I asked people to fill my No Excuses survey, predictably, most of them indeed gave all kinds of excuses for not starting their dreams, which makes me angry and sad because it’s never going to be ‘the right time.’ The best time is NOW.
Striving is the state of being of trying but not quite having. A person in a Striving state is very action-oriented. They take so much action, in fact, that they can become burned out if they aren’t careful. They can’t understand why it seems so difficult to get what they want when they are working so hard…
Striving is not about luck; it is really about control and a lack of faith.
BINGO! When I was hustling, it felt like nothing was working, and I was losing hope, and I was comparing myself with others, and everything seemed pointless, so that made me try even harder, until I burned out and realized I can't control everything.
Wanting is the energy of neediness. The Wanting spectrum is quite wide. It can range from minor discontent to very painful desperation and panic. If you are in Waiting or Striving mode long enough, eventually you will end up in a Wanting state.
Wanting isn’t about actually needing the thing you think will make you happier, though. It is really about a warped perspective, and the idea that something outside of you causes you to feel something.
Have you ever felt like something was eternally out of your reach? Maybe you wanted to be a different person or to have a big house but never really made a lot of money? Have you ever felt like nothing you did could ever bring you happiness?
Be careful, this road leads to depression.
Now we come to the PERFECT state to dwell in. Seriously.
Having is the energy of trust, knowing and confidence that what you want will be yours. Having is effortless. It is a state of allowing what is to be. It’s a state of faith and trust that what you want will eventually come to fruition.
Having isn’t about positive thinking, though. It is really about limitless beliefs, high self-worth, and deep faith.
If positive thinking doesn’t come naturally for you, it’s probably good news that you don’t technically need it to enter this state. All you need is to respect yourself and to believe it’s all going to work out in the end. It makes all the difference between spinning out of control and being at peace with who you are, what you want, and what is possible.
What state are you in right now? To find out, check yourself:
Do I feel relaxed and joyful or pressured and exhausted when I work?
Am I trying too hard? Does it feel like I’m spinning out of control?
Am I waiting for something to happen that’s not up to me? Am I procrastinating and wanting for the right time or to feel ready?
Am I making time to play and do the things I love every day?
Do I really NEED the things I’m striving for?
Answer honestly. Make a safe space in your mind for the true answers to flow. Never judge yourself because we all make mistakes, and it’s not shameful to get lost in your work (and it’s nothing to be proud of either). Shonda Rhimes nailed it:
She talks about ‘the hum’ and what happens when we lose the hum. It’s a powerful speech because it describes the state we put ourselves in too often and how taking time to PLAY counteracts it. She says, “Work is not work without play.”
What can you do?
If you don’t have kids to play with, you can try my approach.
Recently I felt overwhelmed and lost inside all of my projects. I kept thinking of deadlines and what I needed to finish, but instead of focusing, I was was spreading myself thin. My solution came in the form of a fun experiment.
Basically, I decided to do a podcast experiment on Soundcloud.
I ain’t no podcaster or speaker, so recording my voice makes me cringe. BUT. Every day I record for 10 minutes and I don’t edit out the awkward pauses and mistakes. I let myself suck and LOVE IT. It’s been such a great exercise in shrugging off my ego and remembering not to take everything so seriously. Life is meant to be fun, too! We sometimes forget that growing up and end up saying NO to the kid inside when she asks to play.
Try Shonda’s method: Every time the kid inside asks to play, say YES. OK? And if you know anyone who needs to read this — who is making themselves sick because they’re trying to do everything — forward this article to them. :)