I am writing to you just a few short hours before getting on a plane to visit my wonderful family in New York. The past five days have been intense. Since Monday, I have spoken at two different events, written a three-page article for a business magazine, had a handful of sessions with my coaching clients, and hosted an Entreprenora event in a room full of amazingly powerful women, all while managing the day to day operations of my two businesses (meetings with investors, P&L reviews, phone calls to partners, difficult feedback to team members…) and my family life. It has been exhausting.
I am generally a high-energy, can-do person, but by yesterday morning I was feeling rough. My head was pounding and I literally felt like someone had taken a straw and sucked the lifeforce out of me. I felt listless and tired and did something I never do: I took paracetamol and lay down for an hour in the middle of the day. But there was still so much to do: emails to send, suitcases to pack — I am a chronic last-minute packer — and articles to write. And amazingly, most of it got done (thanks to the paracetamol and the energy-boosting powers of salted caramel ice cream!).
But oh, how I did not want to get up this morning at my usual 5:30am and write my article. I wanted to stay in bed, harnessing all of my energy for the long flight that I will be doing solo with our high-octane toddler. But you know what? I did get up. At a slightly later 6:25am, but I got up, and here I am. What did it for me was to remember one of my guiding principles: you can make excuses or you can make things happen.
Now ladies, this is not something I am perfectly consistent with. I get it. There are some days when there is too much to do and you can’t do it all or you shouldn’t do it all. And I am never an advocate of over-working or running ourselves into the ground (work smarter, not harder!). But let’s face it, there are times when we could do something, instead of nothing, when we could follow through on the commitment we made to ourselves instead of letting ourselves down because it’s “just” ourselves we would be letting down.
I made a commitment to myself and to all of you (even though you may not have known it) that I would be here every Saturday sharing and writing and hopefully helping you in some big or small way. It would have been so easy for me to not show up, to justify not writing this article by telling myself that I still have to pack snacks and take a shower, and pick up my daughter’s stroller, (and, and, and…), and that you probably wouldn’t notice anyway. But I didn’t. I showed up to write and I showed up for myself.
And I’m glad I did. Because these small disciplines, these small acts of showing up consistently, these small decisions to do instead of not-do, make up our lives. And at each intersection, we can either take the easy way out or take the committed way forward. And I have promised myself that I will, at least more of the time than not, take the committed way forward. That I will make stuff happen, even when I don’t want to.
We all know how difficult life can get. But difficult is just another excuse to stay the same. (And as my husband said to my daughter the other day, “there is no can’t, only won’t.”)
So my tough-love message to you today is to dissect your excuses, interrogate your resistance, and commit to yourself that from now on, at least a little more than you otherwise might, you’ll stop making excuses, and start making things happen.
We’re all in this together.