You know when you hear a reference or a certain quote twice in a short period of time? Oh, coincidence. Ha! I think not...the universe speaking up is what I say. Yesterday I was in Book Club and we are reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown which I read a few years back. It's interesting to pick up a book like this again, I'm reading it with a completely different lens. At the beginning of book club we do a clearing. It's a time where we go around the circle and give everyone the chance to spew about what's impacting them on that day so that we can discuss the books content with a clear mind.
I was 15 minutes late to book club that day. I hate being late. My inner perfectionist has an absolute conniption fit when I'm late. If I know I'm going to be late and I'm driving somewhere, I will stress and have anxiety the entire drive. I'm constantly worried while driving that I'm going to be late, even when I'm early. It's not unlike me to call someone I'm meeting to let them know I'm going to be late, only to arrive right on time.
Well, I was late, so I was feeling very rushed and behind. When it came to my time for clearing, I just offloaded how overwhelmed I feel these days. I'm used to training for big races, I've done that for years. And I'm used to coaching my monthly one-on-one athletes. At times those two things, plus being wife and mom, really fill up my life. Well, throwing in my new coaching company RTTC has really taken things to a new level. I'm delivering much more content to my athletes these days and really stepping up the communication factor with them. At the same time I'm developing a new coaching product called IronTide which I'm totally jazzed about, but holy moly, it's so much work.
The nice thing about book club is that we are all trained to hold space for each other. This means nobody jumps in to solve my problems, they just listen, nod, and ask questions that might help me get to the bottom of what I'm experiencing and how I feel about it. It's a really safe place to open up. Their questions and dialogue helped me to really drill down further.
" One of the most universal numbing strategies is what I call crazy-busy. I often say that when they start having twelve-step meetings for busy-aholics, they'll need to rent out football stadiums. We are a culture of people who've bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won't catch up with us" ---Brene Brown
My entire clearing could be summed up as crazy-busy but my next question is "what if you are crazy-busy because your life is so full of everything you want in it?" I'm not numbing, I'm trying to SLAY LIFE. Is filling my life with what I want in there helping me to not deal with some of the hard bits? I guess, yes, but I often tell Troy "I'm overwhelmed by the awesomeness of my life."
Discussing that with book club and bouncing these ideas back and forth I came up with this: I think this stuff is like a recipe. Baking a cake shall we say. I have the right ingredients sitting on my counter. I've worked really hard to realize that I don't need hot peppers or spinach in my cake. I put those back in the fridge. I'm looking at all the right stuff in front of me. But, I don't have the ratios right yet. My cake still has a bit too much flour, it's missing an egg, and I don't quite have the baking soda, baking powder thing down because it's either flat, or over-puffed.
This was such an ahh-hah. You can have the right stuff in your life and still feel out of alignment, out of whack, overwhelmed, anxious, and ready to throw in the towel. At times I just want to clear all the ingredients off the counter with one swift act of aggression.
Today I saw this tweet from Mary Beth Ellis that made me realize I had to post this blog because it adds another layer (pun intended) to the situation.
Ahhhh, another cake analogy!
As I seek to get the ratios correct in my life recipe, I'm still looking at yet another obstacle, and that's temperature and time. I can get all the right ingredients, and get them all in the right amounts and then the oven is too high, or too low, and I can leave that cake in for too long, to take it out too early, thus rushing or stalling the process. The possible pitfalls are endless, but thinking about things this way I started to get a little clarity.
This is life. LIFE IS NOW. It takes constant evaluation. If you wake up every day and endeavor to make the best cake you can, after some fixed amount of time you will probobly have a darn nice cake on your hands. If you however wake up every day, go into the kitchen, throw some ingredients in a pan, with little regard to what you intend, then the likelihood that you will end up with a cake in the end is slim, much less a tasty cake.
It comes down to knowing what kind of cake you want to bake, and waking up every day with that goal in mind. But then backing up enough to know that there are a lot of moving parts to success and it's a constant experiment. It's also about trying something, and then looking back and writing down the lessons learned and tweaking from there the next day.
I realized I'm frustrated and overwhelmed because I wake up in the morning, get out all the right ingredients, put them together in ratios that I think is right, pop it in an oven that I think is the right temp, and my cake comes out a mess most the time. That piece of reflection from day to day is missing for me. I'm waking up the next day, and trying a different mix of ingredients, a different oven temp, and getting a different type of crappy cake. Where I am missing the mark is getting deliberate with what ingredients are too much, what are too little, and incorporating MINOR tweaks so that I can really see the outcome of those tweaks.
This requires a deliberate assessment of the now. What's in, what's out? What is the current ratio? Getting real with now is the first step before I can start experimenting in a deliberate and calculated way. And we aren't talking about a cake, we are talking about life, and the difference between thriving and spinning my wheels. It's not an easy assessment, but I think having my newly developed cake analogy is going to help me put some processes into action.
I'm wondering if this resonates with any other athletes who are balancing jobs, training, families, etc? What happens when you toss in an extra ingredient? Does your cake get all gross for awhile?