Giving up

I was sitting with a group of conscious business practitioners the other day talking about how challenging it can be to prioritize all we need to do when everything seems essential. How “overwhelm” is an almost constant companion in our business owner days. How, truthfully, we felt like we were spread way too thin but LOVE what we do and want it to be successful. Later I noticed the same theme cropped up on social media and in conversations with colleagues and clients.

Many, many women are feeling this way – in both work and life.

Most of the suggested solutions centered around ways to cope with the overload. How to be more efficient, grounded, more in tune with guidance. Basically how to keep doing it all.

One woman, who owns a retail business, took a different approach. Her suggestion was to start “knocking things off the shelf.” She shared how expanding her business in a bunch of different directions had led to being overwhelmed and really frustrated. So she took a step back and reevaluated where she was committing her energies. Then she started knocking things off the shelf. In her case, literally. She streamlined her focus and gave up some of the tangent directions her dream had taken.

Giving up? Isn’t that like…failing?

No. It’s not. Especially not when we do it with loving intention and presence. But that failure narrative is what keeps us from considering giving up.

One of my She-roes, Margaret J. Wheatley, talks about it this way…

Giving up is a moment either of acceptance or resignation, two very different states.

Resignation has a beaten up, victim quality to it. We worked hard and we lost. We’ve been defeated. Now it’s time to retreat, to move on, to put this experience behind us as quickly as possible.

Acceptance is a radically different – we’re in touch with reality, we’ve learned that we’re not the savior of the situation, and we might feel humbled, but not beaten. We have a richer picture of what’s going on and, after a little rest, we’ll reenter the fray.

Acceptance is to be relished. It allows us to sink our feet more deeply in the mud, and from there to find real sustenance.

Giving up, when done with presence, leads to acceptance. And that’s not failing.

It’s exercising your power – your leadership – and knowing when to turn loose accumulated bright shiny objects, when it’s time to expand into helping fewer people. It’s accepting that serving yourself first is what keeps you a brilliant, radically present woman able to successfully serve in the ways you choose.

Giving up creates space and frees time and energy. Then, the refreshed you can leap back into a clear, clean, spacious business. You know who wins when that happens? EVERYONE!

So, what are you ready to consider giving up?

Tracie Nichols writes poetry and facilitates group writing experiences from under the wide reach of two old Sycamore trees in southeastern Pennsylvania. She is the co-founder of the Embodied Writers writing group and a Transformative Language Artist helping women write themselves home. You can find Tracie on her website.

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