How I Took Control of My Busy Life
It was in the middle of my second year in a new city. I found myself taking on an unexpected responsibility at work. I was also active in ministry at my church and not to mention my family obligations.
My days would go something like this:
Wake up at 5:00 am. Prepare the house for the kids and husband to awake for work and school. 6:00 am the alarm sounds…
“Good morning momma” is the next sound that I hear followed by little feet making their way into the kitchen to see what breakfast was prepared for them. Soon after, Ken would make his way into the kitchen for the start of his day. The rest of the morning was kind of a blur.
The next thing I knew, I would be driving across the Don Holt Bridge to work.
My commitment to others and my daily routine ruled my life.
Before I knew it, I was back at home, taking care of my responsibilities, in the bed, falling asleep, to wake up the next day to do it all over again.
Like many of you reading this blog, at some point, I realized that I really liked my life. I had a job that I liked. I worked with people I loved. My family is amazing, and I liked working in ministry at my church. However, I was feeling a bit “out of control” or at least in the dark about how to successfully manage all the nuances of life.
There is much debate about whether we can achieve balance in life. You have heard and maybe contemplated how to achieve work-life balance. That seemingly elusive state of bliss where you are Superwoman (man) — where you can leap tall buildings, skirt danger, and keep the people around you safe 😊. Not really, but you know what I mean.
That state of doing well in all things that are important to you.
I began the journey of trying to achieve balance in my own life.
The first thing I did was define what I meant when I said, “I want to balance.”
I dropped the whole work-life balance because I see my life as my life. I didn’t want to pit my responsibilities against each other. If I was engaged in it, I liked doing so which meant that it was of equal importance to me. In the end, what I really wanted was a life of peace and a sense of fulfillment. That is what a balanced life means to me. It is not about multi-tasking to get many things done. That’s a tactic that I use for sure, but it is not the goal.
Today I call my process, developing a personal Eco-system. Just as the environment around us functions properly and is deemed “healthy” because of an Eco-system, I believe that getting to optimal state in our lives requires we operate within an Eco-system as well. I have an entire module on developing your Eco-system that I do with clients over a few days. Let me give you the cliff notes version.
Your Eco-system comprises of four parts:
- Personal Mission Statement
Your personal mission statement serves as your North Star. It is your guiding light where you will always know what it is you are supposed to be “doing” in life. When someone reads your personal mission statement, they should know what you are all about. It should answer the question, “What do I want to do with my life?”
- Core Values
Like companies, we too should be able to state what is important to us. Your core values help you define how you are going to show up in the world. Your core values guide the way you make decisions. They also serve as a source of what motivates you.
- Personal Standards of Excellence
I like to call these your declaration to yourself about what you are going to bring to the game of life. It is the blueprint for success. The word standards imply that this is the “bar” you are setting (for yourself), no matter what situation comes your way.
- The Elements of YOUR Eco-System
This is a summary of the things that are important in your life. I recommend five elements of your Eco-system, no less than three and no more than seven. I have found that five is the sweet spot. The first step to identifying your elements is to make a long list of the things in your life that are important to you. Once you have the long list, go back through the long list and create categories/groupings. Continue the process until you have identified your “elements”. TIP: Your elements, although separate support the whole you.
Doing the work to develop an Eco-system can seem tedious to some and exciting to others. I am not sure where you land on this spectrum. For me, it was exciting because it added a level of clarity to my seemingly busy life. I bounce every decision I make against my Eco-system. Because our lives are complex and our journeys are not a straight line, I revisit my Eco-system annually. I adjust as needed. The Eco-system is not a magic pill. You must do the work, but it has brought so much peace and fulfillment to my life. It continues to do so to date.
I know that the announcement of the closing of nail, hair, tanning, massage, and lash salons sent many of us in a tizzy because those things are a part of our self-care routines. However, I would challenge you that although those things are important (Lord knows I need these gray hairs covered), the real self-care is defining for yourself what’s important to you and how you are going to show up in this world.
“Life doesn’t have to be easy. It just must be possible. I will do the work.” – Kenya Dunn
Who is Kenya Dunn? Kenya Dunn is the visionary and creator of the Power Tribe, a fee- based membership community created by women of color with women of color in mind. To find out more about Kenya and the Power Tribe, www.powertribe.com. #JointheMovement Follow us on Instagram @Powertribecommunity