Back before we started our family, my husband and I lived in Santa Monica, California. That's right on the coast, outside of LA. And back then, we had lots of free time to do things that we enjoyed. And one of the things we would do maybe once or twice a year would be to go spend the weekend in Las Vegas. It's about a four hour drive.
We’re not big gamblers, but we would see all the sites we would take in a show, we would go hiking out in the desert, and of course we would gamble a little bit, but also our favorite thing to do would be to indulge and eat at the Bellagio food buffet. If you've never been to the Bellagio hotel and casino and visited their buffet, let me tell you, it is unlike anything I have ever seen. It has every type of food imaginable that you could ever possibly want. They have everything from New York, cheesecake to prime rib, to Alaskan King crab legs to butternut squash soup, fettuccine, Alfredo, you name it. They have it. And it is amazing. And of course it's an all you can eat buffet. When we would go, we would eat and eat and eat.
We would always leave being very full, like uncomfortably full, but yet we did it every single time because we'd love the food and it was kind of expensive. So we wanted to go ahead and get the most from our money. Now, why am I telling you this story? I've noticed a trend among high achieving super busy entrepreneurs, and it is this:
We tend to treat our time as if we are eating at a buffet.
Except, instead of it being an all you can eat buffet, we can get multiple plates and refill them as we want. We only get one plate and we don't consider what it is that we put on that plate before we fill it up completely.
As entrepreneurs, we are busy running our businesses, taking care of our personal life, taking care of ourselves. We have a lot going on and it's almost as if every single day we wake up and someone hands us a clean plate right before we go and walk into that very tempting, pretty amazing buffet. Each and every day we are filled with lots of choices that we have to make about how we are going to fill up our time or in this case, how we are going to fill up our plate.
There's a lot of things to consider. A lot of times we are kind of not really thinking about it before we start adding things onto our plate. What we often end up doing is walking around and taking a little bit of everything.
We load up our plates with the things we are supposed to do. We load them up with the things we want to do. We load them up with the things someone told us we should be doing.
Then, on occasion, we load it up with the things that are just purely indulgent that we love.
This is exactly how we manage our calendars. We fill it up with a lot of things, but they're not necessarily the right things.
More importantly, we don't fill it up with the right things for us.
There are two things that happen when we both eat and manage our time this way.:
→The entire plate becomes a jumbled mess of flavors all mixed together, and we don't get to enjoy any of it.
→We have so much on our plate because we kept adding to our one point that we overindulge and feel awful because we've just had way more than we can handle and we're stuffed and full and it doesn't feel very good.
Why do we do this to ourselves? When I look at entrepreneurs and talk to my clients and honestly take a deep introspective look at myself, I have discovered that for almost every single time, some part of us feels like we don't have a choice.
In my observation of watching other entrepreneurs talking with my peers and my clients, and also taking a deep introspective look at myself. I've realized that some part of us feels like we don't have a choice in how much we do and how we spend our time.
Although to be completely honest, that's not how the story goes in our head. It tends to sound more like this, “I don't have enough time to do everything I need to do. I just need to finish this one thing and then everything else will get easier. It's my busy season. When the season's over, that's when things will get back to normal.”
When we tell ourselves these stories, we start to believe that we are stuck eating from an over full plate. We believe it's true because every time we look at our plate, that is what we see - lots of things piled up on top of it.
What we forget in those moments is that we get to decide what gets put on our own plate. We also get to decide what does not make it on the plate at all.
We decide if that plate before us is a balanced plate full of should wants, and must have an equal proportion or if it's unfavorably skewed in one area.
Where we go off the rails is that we spend most of our time, effort and energy responding to what's on that plate than we spend being strategic about what we are allowing to get on the plate in the first place.
Being strategic is the key to becoming balanced.
And the first step to that is to practice discernment before anything else ever gets put on our plate. We do this by asking ourselves a series of questions:
• What do I want?
• What can I skip?
• What can I slide onto someone else's plate?
• What are my indulgences today?
• Have I created a balanced plate?
• Are these choices going to create the results that I want?
These questions will help you to decide in advance before you start filling up your plate to make sure that you're being intentional about what gets put on there.
Here is a suggestion to help you with this process. First of all, don't be afraid to experiment, move things around, try something new, try something you've never tried before. Get rid of something that you think you really need, move things around and experiment until you find the right combination of items on your plate that works for you right now.
Here's a tip to help you get through this process of evaluating what is and is not on your plate. First of all, when you are presented with an opportunity to add something new, no matter how tempting it is, ask yourself, “What am I removing so that I can add this in?”
Remember, just because something gets moved off of your plate, that doesn't mean you need to replace it with something else, at least not right away.
Give yourself some time to live with that extra space before you decide if it even should be filled with anything else.
When we're intentional about how we fill up our plates and fill up our calendars, we end the cycle of overwhelm and hustle that we so easily get trapped in.
If you want to achieve balance and alignment in your life and business, it. It starts right here with being strategic about your time, your attention and your focus.
I invite you to look at your calendar today and decide what do you want, what can you slide onto someone else's plate, what can you get rid of entirely, and did you make some space for the favorite things that you like to indulge in?
That's it for now. I'll be back again next week with more practical tips and insights to help you become the next best version of yourself.
Danielle's message is spot on with achieving goals. Not only does she practice what she preaches, but she's your guide to help YOU achieve the best version of yourself! A must listen!
Grow a biz & feel good! Danielle is really skilled at bringing both the actionable steps plus the mindset work so we can feel good as we grow our businesses while being present for our families. I look forward to listening every week!