By Amanda Delamer, MSc, ACC, CPCC
I am always amazed at how many times in a day I hear people talk about how busy they are. And how often the response to “how are you?” is “busy”. I totally get it, life is full. This is in not a criticism. It does, however, make me curious about how many people are choosing “busy-ness”, and how many people are thriving in this state? Do our schedules make our choices or do we choose our schedules?
I was working with a client that was holding on tightly to resentment towards her schedule, and ultimately her children because she saw her role in life as a taxi-driver. In time, she came to realize that it was her who was choosing to be a taxi-driver and ultimately making the choices that resulted in her driving around and spending at least 4 hours a day in her car. I remember her saying “oh crap!, it’s me doing this to myself!”.
She had chosen to have each of her kids in four or five activities. She had chosen to fill in every day of the week with an activity resulting in not one day of the week “off”. She had chosen to keep putting her kids in many activities because she was telling herself she is “supposed to” and she “should”. Her kids, on the other hand, were trying to communicate with her that they were not enjoying being so busy and wanted some down-time built into their week. It wasn’t just her that was longing for the “busy-ness” to stop, her family wanted it too.
We started working together when she was ready to press pause and consider making some changes – when she “couldn’t do it anymore”.
What helped? Getting clarity around what she values. Identifying what’s most important to you can help you better understand the “why” behind you being pulled to say “yes” or “no” to something. (Side note: you saying “no” to something or someone does not mean it or they are not important to you).
For this particular client, it was a huge “aha” that she was not acknowledging herself as part of the family. Sounds crazy, yes, but when asked “what works for your family” she realized while she was always sure to consider the impact of a choice on her children and partner, she didn’t always consider or dismissed the impact on herself.
Ultimately, we are responsible for our choices. It can be quite freeing to own that we do not have to be and do all things to and for all people all of the time.
So, what level of “busy-ness” works for you and your family?
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Amanda Delamer is a self-awareness and fulfillment coach. Amanda coaches and supports people in living healthy, balanced and joyful lives. She coaches and honours the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Her clients experience fulfillment in all parts of their lives – health, family, relationships, career, and beyond – and they value and appreciate that all parts of their lives are connected, and that we all have responsibility in and for the world around us. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and three children.