Life’s too short (and what to do about it)

Julia at worthing beach

Life’s too short

Life’s too short – fact. It’s guaranteed that you won’t have time to do everything you want to do, to the high quality you expect from yourself. You will feel guilty about not spending enough quality time with loved ones. You will feel torn between conflicting priorities. That’s life. There’s a lot going on. Particularly now we are all online constantly, we now know what everyone else is (apparently) up to – this can be inspiring or trigger comparison, but either way this leads to an expansion of your to-do list.

But – in parallel with the message from Oliver Burkeman in his book 4000 Weeks –  what if we just accept that “yes, life is too short”?… More about that later!

Life’s too short to be dragged down by the toxic societal norms in business

How many times have you known that you’d feel better if you had a short nap but you couldn’t bring yourself to step away from your desk during 9-5 (even though you work for yourself and can officially make your own rules)? Do you too feel the guilt every time you leave your desk during the working week, even if it’s just to go to the post office?! Do you tell yourself you have to be available to immediately respond to client emails during the working day?

These are society’s toxic rules that have seeped into your consciousness from decades of people just accepting the status quo. Now you’re working for yourself, you get to choose (life’s too short not to!). Yes, it can be a scary step to do things differently from everyone around you. Yes, your brain will try to protect you and will tell you anything to get you back to the “safe” place of conforming. But also yes you can slowly teach your brain that it is also safe to honour your own wants and needs by starting to set a schedule for yourself that feels gloriously nourishing, by actually going out for that walk and cake with your small biz pal, by doing your errands while it’s quiet because everyone else is working. Build that trust in yourself by starting to do the things you want to do and entering into gentle conversation with your brain when it pipes up with “shoulds” and feelings of guilt. And I’m here for you if you’d like some support with that.

Life’s too short to put work before our physical and mental health

At school we have to do the lessons and the sport and the homework whether we feel like it or not. And then at work there is very little space for nuance in terms of adaptations for those with both acute and chronic physical and mental health issues (or even the different ways you feel at different stages of your monthly cycle if you have one). And when you start working for yourself, these “rules” come with you and set up home in your new business whether they are welcome or not. Few of us take the time to investigate whether the “normal” way of working is supporting our health.

Have you ever said that health or wellbeing is one of your priorities? I know I did for many years before I really meant it. (Sidenote to say of course there are still wobbles, we are all messy humans whether we pretend to be otherwise or not). A few years ago I adopted Kate Northrup‘s “Body first, business second” mantra as my own – when said that simply, it’s hard to argue with. Particularly when our own wellbeing (whatever that looks like to you) is a foundation on which to build your business, this is a fundamental mindset shift when working for yourself. “Pushing through” is no longer in my vocabulary – life’s too short to earn money at the expense of my mental and physical health… been there, done that. I’m done with commuting and I’m done with open plan offices – as an introvert, it’s exhausting and it’s not how I work at my best. How do you work at your best? What could you tweak in your business today to make it support you at your best a little more?

Life’s too short to keep waiting until we’ve achieved 6 or 7 figure businesses (or insert other far-off goal here) before we allow ourselves to do the things that truly light a fire in our soul

Have you ever heard yourself say “I’ll be happy when…”? Of course you have. And have you ever promised yourself that you’ll take Fridays off, go to a pilates class at lunchtime, or do a proper course in nutrition or pottery or horticulture… but only when you’ve reached a certain financial goal or got a certain number of clients.

Stop! Life’s too short!

The thing is, our brains are clever little sausages. When you reach consistent £5k months – the goal you set yourself before you are “allowed” to take fridays off – your brain will most definitely pipe up with thoughts of that not being enough, that you need to be earning consistent £10k months before you could do that. Those goalposts are constantly moving away from you – that’s just what our brains do.

So the trick here is to do the damn thing anyway. Take the horticulture course, schedule Fridays as non-work days, do the pilates class, book the citybreak, buy the paddleboard (definitely buy the paddleboard!). Because if you don’t, that moment may never arrive when you feel like you have done enough, earnt enough, worked enough.

Life’s too short to be rushed and busy, leaving us missing out on deeper connections

As an introvert I crave deep connection – both with myself and with those around me. I couldn’t care less about the latest fashions or who is in the pop charts (is that even a thing anymore?!). What I want to know is what you’re passionate about, what makes you tick, what makes you forget about social media for the day, who makes you feel like you’ve got that inner glow oozing from every pore. And when you rush, you lose the opportunity to foster these connections with others, and you lose the opportunity to explore those answers for yourself.

I don’t want life to be about rushing from appointment to appointment, with only time for swift interactions. I don’t want friends who I wish happy birthday to because facebook reminds me and who I send a bland christmas greeting to because I don’t want to lose touch completely. I don’t want clients who come into my life for 3 months to join a programme, never to be heard of again.

Life is too short to rush, when slowing down will reveal the things that truly matter. Is rushing and busyness helping you achieve your goals or is it taking you away from how you want to feel day to day? Here’s a thought to mull over: perhaps when you slow down, you’ll actually achieve more of the things that matter most to you – perhaps that busyness is sheltering you from the vulnerability involved with reaching for your goals. If that feels like an assault to your brain, please do feel free to book a connection session to chat it through.

Life is too damn short. So what are we going to do about it…

So, right back at the start of this blog post I asked you “what if we just accept that, yes, life is too short?”. If we accept that, we can start to get comfortable with the fact that we won’t achieve all the things we have the potential to achieve, we won’t be able to devote enough time to supporting our wider family AND travel as widely as we want AND have a thriving business AND learn a new skill each year AND have multiple hobbies that we have turned into successful side hustles AND find a doer upper house and make it hashtag goals AND nurture all our friendships fully AND AND AND. There will always be things you wish you had more time for. And that’s ok. What a privilege to have such inspiration and creativity and imagination.

So, now we’ve accepted that life is too short to do ALL the things, what an opportunity to CHOOSE what to fill your life with.

  1. Decide what your current priorities are, and set a reminder to review these regularly – remember, if everything is your priority then nothing is
  2. Set intentions for your life, your wellbeing and your work over the upcoming season – the CEO day workbook is a great tool to help you do this if you need a helping hand
  3. Book white space into your calendar – lots of it. When you reach that whitespace, you can use it for whatever is your priority at that time: work, life or wellbeing. But without this pre-booked time to flex to your current needs, you are teaching your brain that your current wants and needs are unimportant
  4. Remember that you can CHOOSE what to fill your life with – switch off autopilot mode and step into proactive (pilot?!) mode. Ooooh the freedom is palpable!

If you too are feeling like life’s whizzing by at breakneck speed and you want to press pause, the CEO Day workbook is a great way to structure a calm and gentle day just for you – you’ll spend the day setting intentions for the season ahead, ensuring that life and wellbeing aren’t forgotten when you set your business goals. Click here to check it out.


If you’d like to hear more about editing your life and business so you feel gloriously nourished, sign up to my email “The Rebel Edit”.

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