I’m exhausted and I don’t have time! Two hidden reasons why you don’t want to work on that project.

People are busy. They often tell me they don’t have time to work on a project they love, like a side business, a second business, painting, writing, or starting their taxes early. Just kidding about the last one. Let’s call this project Freedom, whatever it might be.

But, there’s no time for Freedom, you say. You have crazy, packed schedules, with little room to breathe. You’re exhausted. And then, if you have kids, forget it. It is practically impossible. These little humans surely won’t bathe themselves, drive themselves to soccer practice or eat a sandwich that has crust left on one side.

I know it’s hard. I know you feel exhausted and you sometimes feel like throwing up from how busy you are and how alone you feel through it all. 

I would like to tell you something that will help you with your time, if you keep your heart open to hearing it. Understanding this has helped me tremendously in raising my energy levels and working on my Freedoms. 

The reason why many people don’t start Freedom is not because they don’t have time, but because they feel emotional resistance when they think about it.

Here’s an analogy I love. Imagine, if you will, that there’s a rope tied to your body and to a tree behind you. It’s a long rope, so you can move around freely, but every time you try to go further than the rope’s length, you can’t. You feel pulled back and you don’t know why because you don’t look back. You get mad and you push harder and harder, because you really want to go far into the beautiful horizon. Eventually, because you have strong willpower and a powerful body, the tree breaks. Now you can walk into the horizon, except you still have this big tree log you’re dragging after you no matter where you go. It could all be so much easier if you looked back and cut the rope. 

Photo credit: Aaron Burden

Photo credit: Aaron Burden

The tree is a metaphor for the resistance people often feel about Freedom. They don’t know that there’s something pulling them back because they don’t question the weight or the exhaustion they feel when they think about working on Freedom.

When you cut the rope after you’ve been pulling hard for a while, you’ll instantly feel propelled forward, literally, because that huge weight has been released. It is physics, I promise. 

So, what is this resistance about? Everybody has their own tree and all trees are different. Nonetheless, from what I’ve seen, this resistance often falls into 2 big categories:

#1. We’re afraid of what others will think if Freedom is not a roaring success. 

Everybody’s seen your success in your career so far. What if you start something new and it fails? Even worse, what if you make a fool out of yourself? You might even think to yourself, then they’ll think I’m a fraud. I’ll feel like a fraud. I don’t want to be a fraud. 

A project’s success doesn’t define a person’s success. Rather, it’s the courage to do what you love that makes you become successful. 

There is so much freedom in letting go of what other people think. Most of us have been taught to pay attention to what others think of us. Therefore, not caring about what others think starts with simply deciding to not care anymore. 

Apart from the fact that it feels like hell to worry about what others think, you’d never be able to impress every single person out there, even if you tried. They all have their own perspectives on life and their own unique life experiences. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense mathematically to waste precious energy trying to earn others’ opinions of you. The more authentic and the more interesting your project is, the more likely that it won’t resonate with every single person who’s watching.

What will make you feel the happiest at the end of your life? Pleasing others? Or, satisfying your true desires, following your bliss and taking charge of your career?

Photo credit: Max Hofstetter

Photo credit: Max Hofstetter

#2. We’re afraid of contradicting the image we’ve painted about ourselves in our minds.

For example, maybe working on Freedom will make you feel like a parent who’s less present with her or his kids, or a business owner who’s not dedicated to the growth of her or his business. Or, maybe you’ve thought of yourself as a super professional, elegant VIP. If pursuing Freedom makes you feel unprofessional, then you’ll feel the weight pulling you back. 

The images we hold about ourselves in our mind are subtle. I think it’s hard to understand we even have an image until we’re faced with a situation that makes us question this image. This self image is like a beautiful painting. Throughout our lives, we’ve added a little color here and there, until it became a complete painting, ready for the world’s most refined collectors. For example, when you were a child you may have looked up to somebody who held a certain profession. Unknowingly, you added that idea to your painting. 

This painting doesn’t serve us when it’s very specific and when it doesn’t allow flexibility. For example, a flexible painting would be that of a person who chooses joy, fun or abundance, no matter what. That is a self image that serves you well because these three ideas can morph into and come from various activities. On the other hand, a specific painting would be that of a person who is a highly ranked executive in a big company. That is a self image that doesn’t serve you well because if you’ll feel called to start something that you believe doesn’t fit that criteria, you’ll feel at odds and you won’t know why.

I think it is always best to be flexible with the image you construct about yourself in your mind. The projects we pursue in life do not define us. They are simply rocks we stand on as we cross the river of life. They give us stability, a chance to take a closer look at ourselves and room to experience life more deeply. You can start a new painting any time. 

With so much love for you and for your Freedom project (as long as it’s not doing your taxes),

Mihaela


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Mihaela Akers