Yesterday I talked about how
annoying deliciously ironic it is that the thing that sucks most can so often end up morphing into the best thing that ever happened (even though at the time it was awful and we still wouldn’t do it again).
And I said I had a list of “Things I’m Going To Be Insanely Grateful For Later On” for my agonizing months of not being able to use my arms.
Here it is. Eight of them.
Some of these have to do with my business. Some are — very — personal. Some are long. Some are short. And each one makes me shake my head in a mix of aggravation and bewilderment, awe and wonder.
Thing 1: I’m over my fear of having a staff.
Over the past year or so, I’ve watched biggified friends (like Mark Silver) and other colleagues start hiring part-time or full-time assistants to work with them in their actual office.
Okay, I have an excellent virtual assistant who works in Texas. And I have the lovely Marissa, my personal assistant and shining star, who is in Indiana. And I have a guy in Germany who sets up my workshops in Europe. And a part-time programs coordinator.
But it’s all extremely …. you know, online.
For another, one of the perks of working from home is the pajamas.
In the meantime, I’ve been getting time-management help and um, “productivity” coaching from the amazing Cairene McDonald. Who, by the way, will kill me for just having used the word “productivity” because she despises that word. With a passion.
In fact, her hatred of that word is so awesome that it’s one of the biggest reasons that I hired her. She gets me. She really, really gets me. But I’m using the “p”-word just so you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Anyway, Cairene had been hinting that this would probably be the next step in my business and I had been pushing back.
Not anymore, though. Now that I can’t type, scroll or click things, I need someone to do my work for me while I’m sitting next to them telling them what to do.
And it’s life-changingly great. Never going back.
Thing 2: A new non-yucky relationship with massage (and with bodywork in general)
I’ve never liked massage. Had some really uncomfortable experiences with it, and I don’t mean the kind of uncomfortable where they work your muscles harder than you’d like.
And, like many people with some kind of abuse history, I don’t exactly enjoy being alone, passive, and unclothed with someone who has even the tiniest hint of authority. I dread checkups. I have issues with doctors. I cry a lot.
So massage therapy has always been one of the healing arts that I appreciate theoretically, but in reality don’t actually want to have anything to do with.
But massage (for me a combination of myofascial release and reiki and wacky-stuff-with-stones as well as some old-fashioned pummeling) has been hugely helpful for my arms.
And I’ve gone from thinking of it as something I “have to” do … to something that I genuinely look forward to. I’m planning on continuing with my weekly 90 minute massage ritual long after my arms have healed.
Thing 3: My business is all grown up. And now I recognize that.
I hadn’t realized to what extent I’d been treating my business as if it were still a little kid … until I wasn’t physically able to run things anymore.
The truth is that since January, I’ve barely been able to work and everything I do is at a hugely reduced pace.
Some days it’s all I can do just to get a blog post “written” (with Stu, my voice to text software), edited (by my gentleman friend), and formatted and posted (one of my assistants).
But you know what? My business is doing fine. Every day people go into my wonderful online store of treasures and they buy things. And this is keeping my business afloat.
To the point that I can still afford to turn down private clients when I want to, and there are still more people who want to work with me and my duck than we are willing/able to work with.
I don’t want to say that it hasn’t been scary, because it totally has. I haven’t wanted to learn to trust it, and what trust I have learned… let’s just say I got there kicking and screaming the whole way.
It’s almost as if my business has been saying, “You can rest, sweetie. I can carry you. It’s okay.” And I’ve been ignoring it. Or not taking it seriously.
No, my baby is all grown up now. So no more curfew and no more nagging. I’m impressed.
Thing 4: My meditation practice.
I’ve had a daily morning meditation practice for a long time. But the experience of chronic pain has taken it in a new direction.
Sometimes sitting and breathing and practicing the art of not doing is just too hard. And when that’s the case, I use the meditation time as a way to go inside my body and talk to myself. And I’ve documented many of these conversations for you.
And this has been an incredible experience for me.
Thing 5: I’ve had to get over my dislike of asking for help.
Of course asking for help is something I’m constantly advising other people to do.
I just don’t like doing it myself. And now I’ve had to. A lot.
You find out who your friends are when you can’t operate a pair of tweezers. :-)
Seriously. I’ve had to lean on my friends. To test how much my gentleman friend can put up with me (answer: a lot). To ask my brother to give me an hour or so of help every day. It’s been intense.
Thing 6: I now work half days. Which is what I’d so dearly wanted.
When I first read “The 4 Hour Workweek” (some of you will recall that I’m not exactly the world’s biggest fan), it was clear to me that I wasn’t willing to put in the kind of 18 hour days you need to do in order to get to the point where you can do a four hour week.
But when Milana Leshinsky (I’m not her Right People either, but it doesn’t matter because this is brilliant) started talking about a 20 hour workweek … I was in.
Because twenty hours a week was something I could actually imagine happening. And it was something I was actively working towards.
Well. Now I’m there. Not by choice. Just because that is the absolute limit of what I can do. But still.
Going through this painful experience has forced me to transition to half-days. And made me realize that it really is possible for me to do. It’s made me re-examine my relationship with time and make different choices about time.
It’s exactly what I wished for. Just not the way I wished for it. But at this point, I’m just happy to have it.
Thing 7: I get stuff done. Like a madwoman.
When you can only work a little, you do it right.
In the past few weeks I’ve finished projects that normally would have taken way, way longer. Because I’m focused. I have to be.
In fact, there’s no time not to be.
Because what’s happening is that I’m paying someone to sit next to me and do what I would do … and we only have three hours to do it in. So stuff gets done.
We got the new Fluent Self store page up. We’ve transformed the way everyone on my team communicates with each other. We’re launching new stuff all over the place.
It’s knocking me out. In a good way.
Thing 8: It’s made me take my email sabbatical seriously.
I can’t cheat on my email sabbatical. And that’s a good thing. A really, really, really good thing.
It’s a lot. It’s enough.
I’d say more, but this is a ridiculously long post as it is. Plus, all this gratitude stuff is making me sleepy. Bed.