When I was little, my family sat in a circle on our living room floor by candlelight on the darkest night of the year (December 21st for those in the Northern Hemisphere, aka the Winter Solstice).
We wrote out what we wanted to leave in the darkness and what we wanted to welcome into our lives as the light returned. Then we burned the stuff we were ready to let go of and lit a candle for what we were calling in with the light.
I can’t recall what my childhood self wanted to release (likely something about feeling obligated to ride the school bus with my little friend up the street who would always figure out a way to convince me to, even though the free-for-all of unsupervised kids in the back of a bus tormenting one another in whatever way was subtle enough not to be seen in the bus driver’s giant rearview mirror freaked me out).
But I do recall how good it felt to let the stuff go that wasn’t serving me. I love my mom for making this ritual part of our yearly reality so that letting things go was seen as an important part of life instead of as a failure.
If you struggle with knowing what to let go of because you’ve made being able to handle things an important part of your identity (I only know because I’m healing this one in myself), then it’s important to know the signs that something needs to leave your life so that you can let it.
When it comes to your work, this is critical because you only have so many hours and so much energy to devote to it, and if all of that time and energy gets sucked up by projects that aren’t serving you or your grander vision, you have nothing left to devote to the projects that fill you, your team, your bank account, and your customers’ lives up.
Here are three signs that it’s time to let a project go (whether it’s already on its way out the door, or it needs an extra push):
- When you think about or work on this project, you feel irritated, resentful, and/or drained.
- From the moment this project began, it has felt like a slog, or things have gone wrong or been difficult the entire time. Things (and people) tend to tell you what they are right at the get-go. Projects that are a slog at the beginning are a slog to get over the finish line.
- The project is not going to directly deliver the bigger result or vision that you’re after.
Success does not have to be a struggle.
You can and need to let the projects go that don’t feel right if you want to have the bandwidth for the most powerful, impactful work you’re capable of.
Am I saying that your work should never feel challenging? No. There are projects that are well worth your time and energy that will, at times, feel hard. But the overall trajectory feels joyful, aligned, and in flow.
You know the difference. Some projects feel like dragging a sled covered in paste across a floor made of sandpaper, and some feel like gliding your well-moisturized hand over a freshly washed marble countertop.
This Winter Solstice (and as frequently as you can after that), look at the projects you have on your plate and ask yourself:
Where’s the friction and where’s the glide?
Let the ones with the friction go and reallocate your precious resources towards the glide.
OVER TO YOU:
What will you be pruning from your project list based on the three signs above? What questions do you have about letting things go? Tell me in the comments!
You’re out there serving your people (your clients, community, kids, family, etc.) and making sure they’re living their best lives…but there’s also you.
How are you taking care of you?
One of my favorite things to learn about leaders is how they take care of themselves because I get inspired with new ideas to enhance my own wellbeing, capacity, and performance.
This week on the podcast, we have the extremely good-looking and insightful husband and wife team behind the fitness and adventure brand Bee The Wellness, Vanessa and Adam Lambert.
I was on their podcast over the summer, and I resonated with them so much that I invited them on for a conversation with Mike and me.
During this episode we covered:
- The super-weird wellness trick that has Adam feeling way better than before
- How their background as firefighters has helped them dial their business in
- Their best techniques for getting ahead of the content machine that online business can become
- How their business model is actually one of the ways they take care of themselves
- How they use plant medicine to move through their blocks
And so much more!
Identifying our non-negotiables for taking care of ourselves is so critical not only to our wellbeing, but that of our clients, our family, and our whole community. I know I’m not the first person to say this to you, but I hope that if you’re not caring for yourself right now that this might be the time that it actually sinks in.
You matter. Your wellness matters. Your body matters. Your emotional landscape matters. Your mental health matters.
As we near the closing of this year, know this:
There is nothing worth investing in more than yourself because your wellbeing magnifies your impact in a way that’s not possible when you’re not nourished.
I’d love to know what you learned and what inspired you during the Vanessa and Adam episode and/or what your insights or questions are around caring for yourself as a leader.
Sending you so much love,
Kate Northrup is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, and mother who supports ambitious, motivated and successful women to light up the world without burning themselves out in the process. Committed to empowering women entrepreneurs to create their most successful businesses while navigating motherhood, Kate is the founder and CEO of Origin Collective, a monthly membership site where women all over the world gather to achieve more while doing less. Her first book, Money: A Love Story, has been published in 5 languages. Kate’s work has been featured by The Today Show, Yahoo! Finance, Women’s Health, Glamour, and The Huffington Post, and she’s spoken to audiences of thousands with Hay House, Wanderlust, USANA Health Sciences, and more. Kate lives with her husband and business partner, Mike, and their daughter Penelope in Maine. Find out more and receive your free copy of the 5 Simple and effective ways to get the results you want in your business at katenorthrup.com.
Image courtesy of Paige Cody.