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LABOR DAY MUSINGS – ON OVER-PRODUCTIVITY AND OUR CULTURE’S SCARCITY MINDSET

Why can’t we just slow down and rest? What is it that keeps us running around all day from thing to thing, exhausting ourselves and ending up spread too thin, working on too many projects, or simply staying on the computer reading blog posts like this one way too late at night?

Why do we always think we need to do more? BE more?

This problem pervades our society and of course ends up deeply impacting the way we run our businesses.

And yet… we know deep down we must slow down and rest, like everything in nature does.

A Culture of “Not Enough”

The idea that we are not doing enough, and that we really ought to be doing MORE, is all around us in our culture…

Think about how much you think, say, or hear the words:

There’s not enough money.

There’s not enough work.

There’s not enough time.

And then it gets personal…

I’m not enough. 

This is reinforced everyday by the media that tells us all about the stuff we need to be prettier, stronger, sexier, and more loveable.

Yuck. You can see how toxic this belief of “not enough” is. And frankly, this cycle of feeling not enough and buying more to compensate is the reason our species and our planet as we know it might not make it through this stage.

We hear so many voices that say, “grow bigger, buy more, be more awesome, more epic, more unique!” It’s exhausting. And it’s harmful on both a personal and planetary level.

So how do we stop this cycle?

Believing That There is Enough

I wish I could wave a magic wand and make us all believe that there is enough and we are enough. Because it’s TRUE. But it’s a journey. Where you can start is by simply deciding it is so and noticing when you slip back into a place of scarcity, or “not enough.”

Notice when you are acting out of fear that you won’t get what you need…

Are you taking in clients or jobs that aren’t in alignment with your vision?

Are you working late into the night because you think one more blog post is going to make the big difference in your business this month? That you’ll somehow fail if you don’t get it done?

If you feel very stuck in a place of scarcity, I highly recommend the work of Lynne Twist (see the end of this post).

Another practical way to generate the feeling of enough, or sufficiency as Lynne calls it, is by taking a hard look at your big picture goals and your daily to-do list. Feel into what is truly do-able, and what would be sufficient to accomplish at a minimum that would still feel good to you. Be easy on yourself.

Account for all the other things that come up in life. Cut down your to-do list and goals. See where you are trying to achieve unnecessarily, going above and beyond the call of duty, or letting others set your agenda for you. Cull your goals and to-do lists.

And then, when you complete your goals or tasks, require yourself to stop, revel in it, and take a break.

I know. Easier said than done. I didn’t say this doesn’t require some discipline.


Is Working Long and Hard the Best Strategy? 

Because of our culture and possibly our individual upbringings too, there’s a belief many of us hold that in order to make money and be successful, we have to work really, really hard, and what that often translates to is working a LOT.

If you hold this belief, it’s worth looking where it came from (other than society in general). Did people in your family work tirelessly to make their living? Did they talk about how hard work is rewarded? Were you given approval only when you had major achievements?

Look, I’m not saying we shouldn’t work. Creating a running a business does require work!

But if at the core we believe there is enough for everyone (enough clients, enough money, enough love), then we could entertain these other possibilities…

  • What if we could work more strategically, more efficiently, more effectively… instead of just MORE or HARDER?
  • What if work could be easeful?
  • What if as a result of resting more, we had more energy to get our best work done in a shorter stint?
  • What if we could – gasp – earn more money without working more hours?

Let’s call into question the tacit belief that working harder and longer will actually find us the most success… that more is necessarily better.

You are in Charge of Your Business’ Work Culture

One of the best parts about having your own business is that you get to decide your business’s culture. Ever work someplace where people expected you to answer email late at night or go on business trips every weekend?

Your business doesn’t have to be like that if you don’t want it to. YOU get to decide.

Stand up for sufficiency and be a role model to others in this crazy sped up world where more almost always seems to be better.

So In Closing, On this Labor Day, Let Me Say…

It’s time to take a rest.

You’ve done enough.

You are enough. 

PS: I have been very inspired Lynne Twist’s work on this topic over the years. After reading my post, if you feel inclined to dig deeper into the myth of scarcity, and the truth of sufficiency, as Lynne calls it, I highly recommend her books, audio trainings, and live events. In particular, her audiobook, Unleashing the Soul of Money is short and excellent.