Why being busy in business is not cool (and what to do about it)
When people say they’re “crazy busy in business” it always makes me ponder.
Especially in these turbulent times that I’m certain are here to show us a slower pace of life can be beneficial to us and the planet.
Who wants to get to the end of their life and for it not to be a rich and opulent painting?
Often they’re saying it with a smile, wearing it like a badge of honour. A common misconception is that it implies they are NEEDED in their life or their work. The reality is that it’s covering up a deeper issue of self-worth.
“I’d love to take that course/read that book/start running but I’m way too busy right now”
“I’ve got to stay late again to “catch up” on my emails”
Does it sound familiar? I’ve been there too!
A little bit like why we constantly look to our phones for validation, notifications and other nuggets of love, when we use the busy word, it’s just another way of seeking validation.
I don’t know where the trend for being busy came from but I remember from my working days, people are led to believe they need to stay-late in the office, to “catch up”. or “sorry I’ve been running around like a headless chicken”.
Again a massive reflection on their self-worth and totally unnecessary if they hadn’t had an un-needed meeting or spent half an hour talking about the Christmas party in the office kitchen.
But it’s not their fault, we’ve been fed a narrative and consumed it to death so much that it’s not even clear what it is.
I believe busy is a cloak. And underneath that cloak is the uncomfortable truth, fed over lots of layers. At the top you’re really feeling under-paid or under-valued or like you’ve taken too much on. Externally you’re telling people you’re not productive. But at the bottom is the starker truth that you don’t fully believe your self-worth.
And if you don’t believe in your self-worth, who else will? Your emotional well being is as important, if not more so, than the £ that’s coming into your bank.
So that all sounds a bit dark, but what if I told you it’s possible to move past the busy block?
One of my key phrases for this year – you can call it a mantra if you like – is this: “change your brain, change your life.”
And when your emotional well-being is a well-tended garden, you’ll be at a place of self-compassion and love and that’s generally the place where you can attract anything you want whenever you want it.
What if we just visualised for a second together, and put the internal nomenclature of busy-ness in a little lockable box. What has been and what is cannot be changed. But what’s coming in the future absolutely can.
And the same goes for your business. You go on ALL the courses, jump from thing to thing, expecting miracles but in fact you’re looking for outside validation when the good stuff comes from within. And it’s exhausting jumping from thing to thing. You need space as well as consumption.
I guess this is the difference between being told what to do (knowledge – someone else’s truth) versus being asked really great questions (coaching to bring it from within you – your truth).
In some Mediterranean countries (Spain, Italy for sure) people would think you’re a bit of a loser if you worked all summer rather than decamp to the beach for most of it.
Being busy isn’t seen as being cool. I think it comes from Western working culture, maybe started in the 80s when it was all power suits, cigars and shoulder pads.
But historically, working less was associated with luxury and privilege , but it’s all changed today. This article is interesting and goes more into detail on that.
My own breast cancer journey showed me how valuable a commodity time is and has given me the confidence to say NO to things that don’t feel good, to better protect my energy and to set realistic self-expectations around scheduling.
If you’d like to think about your relationship with the word busy, here’s what you can ask yourself?
- Am I working too hard without the financial or emotional reward? If YES, is the reward planned for the not too distant future, is it in reach, in sight? If NO, why are you doing it?
- How would you say your emotional wealth is right now on a scale of 1-10? If less than 8 what can you do to feel better?
- Does busy feel good to me? What does it even mean to me?
- What can I let go of so I can include more “me time” every day?
- What does a rich and expansive life look like for me?
I’d love to know what comes up for you, feel free to share! I know that for me, space for relationships, friendships, emotional health is SO important to my overall mental health. Plz comment below!