It was as if I had blinked and another year had gone by. Another year of broken promises, constant work, and exhaustion. When somewhere along the way, “It won’t be this way next year” became a cliche that I no longer had the energy to muster.
I found myself overwhelmed by the very thing that once inspired me, crushed under the heaping weight of my daily routine. And none of this compared to the overwhelming feelings of guilt that consumed me each and every time I had to say no to the things in life that I cherished the most.
I had started to believe the lie that things would calm down if I simply had a few more hours in the day. That somehow getting “caught up” would allow me to turn an unsustainable workflow into the lifestyle that I so desperately needed.
If it was just running a company, I could handle it… but we’re taught that today’s entrepreneurs need to be so much more than business people. We need to have well styled Instagram Feeds, instantaneous turnaround times, and Pinterest-perfect homes. We need to look a certain way, fit into a certain mold, and measure up to impossible expectations that we, so often, place on ourselves.
We heap more and more onto our plates until they are too hard to carry and the sheer weight of them brings us crumbling to our knees.
I had gotten to a point where I couldn’t handle the pressure any longer. I wanted to be an entrepreneur so that I could impact people’s lives. I wanted, as naive as it may seem, to change the world.
There was a day not all that long ago when Huey came home and I was literally crying into my keyboard. Tears streaming down my face, my shoulders crumbling into my desk because I simply couldn’t take it any more.
But unlike all the other times before, my husband said something that I had never heard him say. My constant encourager looked me square in the eye and responded —
“You are doing too much… and it’s killing you. Every time you say ‘yes’ to more work, your are saying ‘no’ to building a life with me.”
Oh, friends. This hit me like a ton of bricks that I never saw coming. I had gotten into the terrible habit of saying yes to everything. Yes to every email, every request, every opportunity. My desire to please people turned into an unhealthy inability to say no. “No” is an incredibly empowering word if you allow it to be.
Saying no allows you to say yes to the things that truly matter in your life.
We don’t need more hours in the day. We need to be more dedicated to prioritizing, more diligent in protecting those hours that we reserve for our friends and family. When overwhelm begins to weigh on you… I want you to remember…
You are building a business in order to build a life.
It’s not the other way around.
Photos by: Krista + Davey Jones
To all of you who have ever felt exhausted, overwhelmed, overworked, or lost along the way. You’re not alone. To every person who has said yes to everyone, only to realize you’ve been saying no to the ones you love the most… I’m right there with you.
Give yourself permission to say no. Give yourself grace. Give yourself the freedom to stumble, fail, and get back up again.
These are lessons I’m still learning each and every day.