Last year was amazing in so many ways. We moved to Evansville. I quit my corporate job and took on photography full time. We bought a house. I learned a lot about balancing motherhood and owning a business. And speaking of learning, I learned more about myself than I ever expected to. It was a year of change, a year of incredible opportunity and a year of learning.
With so many things happening and changing all at once, I frequently felt overwhelmed. There were many days of feeling like I just couldn’t keep up. I felt like I’d never be able to pursue this dream of creative entrepreneurship in the way I had envisioned.
I shared my thoughts on this on the blog and on social media on more than one occasion. I talked to friends about it. I talked to my husband about it. I sat in a panel group at Creative at Heart and cried my eyes out as some truly incredible women spoke truth into my heart and into my life.
I had several ah-ha moments in 2016, but Creative at Heart was a huge turning point for me. These women got real with me. They told me that yes, I could do it, but they also presented another idea: the idea that maybe now wasn’t the time for me to push forward so aggressively. Maybe now was the time for me to slow down.
This is a fairly unpopular idea, especially at a conference chock-full of driven, inspirational, successful women. But it was an idea I considered for a period of time.
Long story short, I decided to keep my foot on the gas pedal. In that same vein, though, I knew that how I was going about it wasn’t working. Something had to change. I couldn’t sustain these feelings of overwhelm and stress long-term.
So when I sat down to map out my 2017 goals, this was something that I thought a lot about. I reflected on how chaotic my life felt; on how it seemed that something always had to give.
If I was killing it in my business, then I wasn’t being the wife I desired to be or the mom I wanted to be. If I was being an amazing mom and wife, then my relationship with God was on the back burner. There never seemed to be a way to thrive in all the areas of life that I found important.
Why was this happening though? Why was it that other people could do it, but I just couldn’t quite figure it out?
This is why: clutter, disorganization and not setting my priorities straight.
Now honestly, that’s not an easy thing to put out there. Surprisingly, most people who don’t know me incredibly well think I’m pretty put-together. They’re surprised when I admit that I’m a scatterbrain.
I mean look at my Instagram feed. That grid doesn’t look too shabby, does it? And nine times out of ten when you meet me in person, I look like I’ve got my you-know-what together. My outer facade presents itself well. The things you SEE look polished.
But you don’t know the inner workings of my brain and the chaos that lives in my heart. You can’t see the disaster that resides inside my purse. You can’t see that I literally and figuratively have lived with a million tabs open. I don’t tell you that I lost my keys more times than I can count in 2016.
So I’ve made it a goal to stop the chaos. I’m committing to reducing clutter and getting organized. My word for this year? PEACE. I have many goals for 2017, but this word and idea needs to remain an overarching theme in all of them. If something isn’t bringing me peace and is instead only contributing to my life in a stressful, negative way, then it needs to be eliminated.
I know that I am fully capable of reaching my goals and living out my dreams, but it’s all in how I approach them. So I’m utilizing systems to create more efficiency in both my life and business (huge shout out to my Simplified Planner and Powersheets!!). I’m getting rid of things that I don’t need – I’m talking things as simple as bank statements. All they do is create another layer of “stuff” to dig through when I’m searching for my keys.
I know it’s only February, but I can feel the change already. I’m still as busy as ever, but my level of stress has been reduced significantly. And perhaps most importantly, because of the tools I’m utilizing I know that my time is being spent in the right places.
I certainly don’t have it all figured out, and it will be a work in progress for a while. And I know that I’m going to stumble along the way, and I hope that I’ll be able to give myself grace in those moments. But I know that I’m setting out on a more intentional and productive trajectory than I previously was on, and that is something worth celebrating.
So cheers to you, 2017. May you be productive, fruitful, and may you most certainly be peaceful.