Updated: Mar 18
I have a lightness to my step and a weight off my shoulders that I didn't even know existed.
My life was good. I had all the reasons to be happy. And I took a lot of time for introspection and was happy. But yet, there was a a feeling inside that just slightly felt off.
I gave myself time to meditate.
10 minutes at 4:15am when I woke, before toughing a phone.
I worked out daily, with intensity and again, with no phone. But I had aspiration to train to extreme levels and i didn’t give myself the time for that.
I even got myself to read, paint and write occasionally to express creativity. But always, with a timer on it.
Why a timer?
Because although I was my own boss, running a marketing agency, I felt the need to work long hard hours to make something of myself. And I wasn’t shy about it. I caught myself boasting about it just to then realize I am boasting about a negative thing that didn’t align with my values.
Or I would catch myself saying, “I am so busy” to get out of things.
Now… this does play a key role in life.
I try to not be rude, but at all cost, I protect my own time. The issue is when someone says, “Hey are you free to chat today?” it becomes easier to say, “Nah man, I am slammed all day… all week really!” if you do not want to talk.
Versus saying, “Hey, thanks for reaching out it. It means a lot. I am going through a self-development phase where I am focusing on getting my time back and unfortunately I am just not prioritizing this conversation. It would be best to fit this in whenever it works for me. I know that is selfish, and risks us not connecting, but I am willing to risk that. Sorry, and hope to connect soon!”
That is some Tim Ferris 4-Hour Work Week shit right there!
Here is why this is an issue.
Your words and your thoughts become your emotions.
Your emotion are how you feel. And if you feel busy, you are busy.
Anyways... I really was busy. But that is not such a bad thing. I was busy with great things. I lived in Hawaii at the time and hit the beach 100 straight days once. Yes, I counted. I am very analytical.
Hence why I was micro managing my own time to ensure that each 15 min block… every day was used wisely.
But being busy and analytical of my time did not allow me to stray from the plan much.
It forced me to check in with myself and the world frequently.
Both of these things led to… distractions.
Distractions… one of the ugliest word in the english dictionary.
Distraction can be checking the time at the gym and seeing an email that you reply back to.
Yes, this is “productive” to send an email. But I go to the gym to enter a meditative state that can not immediately be re-entered. This distraction has a major cost.
Worse, it didn't allow a full expression of myself.
When writing… whether a sales email or a chapter of my book… one eye was on the clock!
Sometimes you are on a roll and just want to keep writing, running, reading, or thinking! We need that time.
I soon realized that I was practicing repression.
Why would I practice repressing my feelings?
As you could imagine, this was sub-conscious.
This was a defense mechanism to justify my productivity in the workplace, which centered around a monetary goal and was not as in line with my values as I would hope.
Speaking of Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Work Week, his exercises for reversing repression are great! They are early in the book as I remember, at the end of the chapters.
This led me on a search to change my ways.
You know those searches you don't even know you are on? You don't know the outcome? But you know you are searching.
I felt drawn to a book of Dr. Joe Dispenza’s, Breaking the Habit of Being yourself.
He walks through exercises to dive deep into limiting beliefs.
Here is where I found my word. My main limiting belief.
I felt guilty.
Guilty when I was not grinding and earning every inch I deserved.
I am not one who likes to say, “this is because how I was raised” or tie it back to a specific event. That seems to be an exercise with many assumptions and can be damaging.
But… I don't think if you see trends in your life.
Trends that come to your mind when you soul search.
Those are good.
I was raised around hard workers man. Something I am consciously proud of.
This is something I am still proud of! My family works hard. I believe in hard work.
I take responsibility for letting this take me down the wrong path.
One where I started to limit my ceiling based on hard work.
One where I tied time & money together.
One where if I had a client i made $10K/month on, did a good job, and only work 2 hours a month on them, I felt bad. Even if the client was HAPPY!?! Go figure! I would find work to over report to them, hold unnecessary check in calls or worse… a brainstorming call!
[side note to all… stop holding brainstorming calls. Take to the way of young successful tech start-ups and set a clear agenda for all meetings. Have everyone do their work prior to the meeting and have meetings to make decisions... not to brainstorm… okay off my soap box.]
Once I was able to identify that guilt was my limiting belief, I was able to see guilt coming… before it affected me. I set my self up to not feel it. I became aware of the sensation around it.
I let it go.
I let my guilt go.
Do I struggle with it daily still? Yes.
Does it blindly control me? Absolutely not.
This inner work is what let me take a day off to hang with some family friends... during the work week!
And as a stoic philosopher would love to hear me say… I know my ideal state is guilt-free, I know I am not completely there yet… and that is okay, as long as I am progressing towards a worthy ideal, I am a “success.”
Today was a great example...
Wim Hof felt great and it is something that checks a ton of “productivity-boxes” for me as a good use of time (meditation, conditioning, discipline, breathing)...
I went 30 minutes and started to feel GREAT. It was getting better every round , too.
Better yet, I don't take meeting son Mondays and it was Monday!
WIDE OPEN SCHEDULE.
Maybe I explore new limits, text my curiosity, and surrender to the Wim Hof method for as along as I feel inclined to!
Well I stopped myself.
Right at round 5 - per usual.
Why? I don't know.
But then I realized a voice in my head said I should get to the gym, eat, shower and get to work.
Why? This is work! This is the inner work - the real work - but I didn't let myself continue.
I didn't even have that much work honestly! Well I did but NONE of it was time sensitive down to the minute? Or even the hour!
My suggestion is to learn what it feels like when you feel your limiting belief.
Identify. Visualize when it happens.
Get ahead of it.
Build your environment to help you overcome or avoid it… and be aware enough (which come with mindfulness practice) to move past it.
Also, make sure to check out one of my latest articles, "Wim Hof Breathing."