Lately, this quote:
Beware the Barrenness of a Busy Life. (Socrates)
Has been important to me, and has been something I've been keeping in mind.
Professionally, I work with clients in the world of deathcare (think funeral homes, crematoriums, etc.) and wellness (think yoga studios, wellness professionals, companies targeting wellness initiatives). To put it bluntly, when you're dead, you're not busy. But man, when you die, the people you knew end of getting crazy busy dealing with the process of 'death.' It's exhausting when someone dies. And if you are living a life of 'wellness,' well, you being busy doesn't really work there (at least out-of-control busy doesn't work). This concept of 'busyness' appears time and time again in the lives of individuals within these professions. (And others, too, I'm sure.)
Did you know this? You can have a packed schedule; all day every day, and accomplish nothing. And not be one single step closer to your primary goal in life.
You are left feeling leeched off of, emptied out and maybe a little lonely. And it happened when you weren't looking....it happened when you were busy.
Beware the barrenness of a busy life.
Better to be focused than busy. Better to be intent than busy. Better to be driven than busy.
This is something I've been running with as a kind of 'theme' when I work with clients. Many of them work for themselves and own their own business. Almost all struggle with the pull to do more, work harder, give more. I struggle with this, too.
In deathcare and in wellness, we are expected to give. In deathcare, we're serving families in need; families who are dealing with a loss. In wellness, we're serving people who are broken, tired, lost, searching and hungry. They come seeking, and we are ready with answers.
It is easy to get pulled every which way, but if I have learned anything in my years of owning and running a company and working with others on their own businesses, projects and self-directed goals, it's that we are all better when we are focused on one major goal. We can go further faster when we are working towards supporting that one thing that is so important to us. It's not that we shouldn't volunteer here, or donate services there or go the extra mile.....it's that we should place intention behind all of our actions. We need to understand the role they play in our own lives.
In 2010, I was a board member of 5 organizations. It was great, lovely and rewarding. Today, I am not a board member of any, but I work with 2 organizations at present in smaller capacities. I realized I'd be of better service to my community, my profession, my company and the people I work with by doing less.
I think people still perceive me as busy, just like a bumble bee, and that is absolutely fine. The difference is that there's been a shift internally, on my end. I have kept the things that support my primary focus, and have transitioned the other items off into other well-equipped hands.
A few months ago, I suppose I was reflecting on this to some extent, and I ended up doing a series of etegami focused on the bee. The bee is busy, yes, but the bee is also focused. All it does supports the focus of its life. I think there is something to be learned from this.