I‘m sitting at the kitchen table, hunched over my laptop. The darkness has fallen around me, and somehow I didn’t even notice. I should be hungry, but my chest and stomach are knotted with tension. I desperately want to stop working, to take a day or a week off, but I feel so behind. Moving overseas has taken up so much more time and energy than I could have expected, especially with with my man spending a week in hospital (thankfully he’s fine, but it was a pretty awful week).

I’m behind schedule on all of my projects. Most of my clients have been understanding, but  I feel like there’s only so much grace I can ask for while maintaining my integrity. One of the clients I’m working with is causing me so much stress I actually had a mild panic attack today. My inspiration tank is beyond empty. My body is screaming at me to slow down. I can barely summon up the energy to show up each day… even though at any other time, most of my current projects would have me jumping out of bed.

My inspiration tank is beyond empty, and  my body is screaming at me to slow down.

 

I’m at my breaking point, and all of a sudden it hits me: I can’t keep this up any more.

Questions chase each other in my mind: If I wasn’t worried about money, or expectations, what would I do? How can I move toward that and still honour my current commitments? Why do I have to be so frickin’ stubborn when it comes to asking for help?

 

By the time I fall asleep that night, I’ve made a few decisions:

 

1. I’ve reached out to another designer, asking if I can hire her for a few hours to help me meet a deadline.

2. I’ve decided that when this project is done, I’m politely firing the client that is draining so much of my energy.

3. I’ve promised myself that I’ll only work on one client project next month (instead of my usual 2-3) so that I have time to BREATHE and figure out where I want to go next.

4. I’m sick of burning myself out, and this mess is going to catalyse a whole lot of change.

 

I didn’t start my own business so I could run myself into the ground, and basically become my own worst nightmare of a boss. The lessons I thought I’d learned about slowing down and taking advantage of my freedom to create my dream business? Well, let’s just say I clearly didn’t learn them as well as I thought the first (or third) time. But this time felt different: the pain of keeping up this relentless pace had become greater than the fear of slowing down.

The pain of keeping up this relentless pace had become greater than the fear of slowing down.

 

So how did it all unfold? My designer friend helped me meet the deadline, and I wondered why I didn’t ask for help sooner. I (respectfully) fired the client who was causing me so much anxiety. I kept to my word, and only took on one client project the following month. And I pulled the structure of my business apart at the seams to figure out what I actually wanted.

I pulled the structure of my business apart at the seams to figure out what I actually wanted.

 

I rewrote my money story, and started reading it every day. I overhauled my money systems, and that structure created a profound sense of freedom. I figured out what I wanted my dream month to look like in terms of income streams and hours worked, and realised I was a LOT closer to making that I reality than I thought.

I took some three day weekends, and started taking the first day of my cycle off. I set some fierce boundaries around my work. I prioritised my health and wellbeing over everything else, because I knew it was the only way to refill my (very empty) cup.

I carved out whole days of the week for my own creative projects, and honoured that commitment. This allowed me to finally move forward on my new website, to make more art than I had in months, and to start creating my first online offering, Awaken Your Creativity.

I carved out whole days of the week for my own creative projects, and honoured that commitment.

 

I’m still here, and the joy has seeped back into my business. Now, my weeks feel more spacious than ever. I just had my highest income month. I’m running regular workshops, and recently co-hosted my first one day retreat. The clients I’m working with right now are SO aligned with what I want to be creating. My creative tank is fuller than it’s been in a really long time, and I’m carving out time each week to nurture that creative energy. I hired a VA and she’s helped me launch my new website (finally). Awaken Your Creativity is almost ready to launch, too.

It wasn’t an easy process, I’ll be totally honest. The month I stepped back from my business was my lowest income month in a REALLY long time. But in terms of my health, the evidence was clear – my cycle shortened from 42 days down to 30, and that simple message from my body left no room for me to doubt my decision.

 

That month gave me the space to tear down everything that was no longer serving me…

 

That month gave me the space to tear down everything that was no longer serving me, and become incredibly discerning about my next steps. To move towards freedom, abundance and prolific creativity. To get clear on what I wanted my life to look like, regardless of expectations or obligations. To tune into my cycles and creative rhythm, and really start to leverage the superpowers that we have access to when we honour those cycles.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I want to give you permission to slow down, too. To stop the relentless pace you think you have to keep up. To relinquish the busy-ness in favour of space. To nurture your creative energy. To set boundaries and say NO, because you’re utterly devoted to your alignment.

If you’ve been waiting for permission, consider this it.

Love & light,

Alisha