I recently started reading Danielle LaPorte's The Fire Starter Sessions, her newly-released personal development book. While absorbing the first chapter, a little nugget of wisdom jumped out at me:
"... a weakness is the stuff you do that makes you feel weakened."
So simple, right? It's not what you're bad at, it's not an area that needs development, it's simply something that drains your energy and leaves you feeling depleted.
For so long, I considered "weakness" to be a dirty word. I'm not weak. I wasn't raised to be weak. I was raised to find solutions to obstacles and be generally competent at life.
But you know what? Competency is boring. Competency is draining. But most of all, competency is a waste. Of your time, of your talent, of your life.
While I was digesting this idea, I started running over the parts of my life that make me feel weakened, my weaknesses. The answers surprised me a little; these are areas that I've always thought of as being strengths of mine simply because I thought I was good or someone else told me I was good.
- Child-rearing: I love my children dearly, but the day-to-day of chasing them, diapering them, entertaining them, teaching them, etc., sucks the energy out of me like I can't describe. I find myself sitting down in a chair at the end of the day, completely worn out, and wanting nothing but a glass of wine and an hour of silence.
- Housework: This specifically limited to folding laundry, mopping, taking out the trash, and picking up clutter. There are other tasks that I'm not particularly fold of—cleaning toilets, sweeping, and making beds come to mind—but they don't drain me the way these tasks do.
- Commuting: I adore travel, but I detest day-to-day commuting and driving in local traffic. This is due in part to the amount of traffic that we have in our neck of the woods; I've found that when we lived in less congested areas, I didn't mind going places as much as I do now.
- Waking up early: One of the many reasons that I have not sought full-time work outside of the home is because I am simply not a morning person. I am at my best if I get up between 9am and 10am, laze around the house until about noon, and take a shower after lunch. Unfortunately for me, the rest of the world operates on a totally different schedule, and I find myself rushing around in the afternoon and early evening trying to get stuff done.
If these tasks and activities are life-draining, then why not find a way to avoid them? Clearly, I can't ignore or outsource everything—I still have children to raise, a house to maintain, errands to run, and early mornings for school—but I can reduce my responsibility or interaction. I can put my youngest in daycare for a few hours a week. I can hire someone to do the floors. I can split tasks with my husband so that we're both doing the chores that we enjoy (or don't hate) and have minimal responsibility for the things that we both can't stand. There are solutions.
Doing this would leave me free to take care of the things that I love, the things that fire me up and give me strength: teaching gymnastics, cooking for my family, traveling, and writing. Given the opportunity to do these things on a full-time basis, I would take it. But baby steps, my friends, baby steps.
Does any of this sound appealing to you? If so, you may want to check out Release & Refine, my time & task management course for busy women.
Release & Refine was born out of this idea—that the things that weaken us are not necessary for us to do. Years of trial and error, finding new tools, and combining old methods to birth totally new ones went into this course, and now, they're available for you.
This post was modified on May 29, 2015, November 18, 2015, and January 3, 2016.