So, about 10 years ago, I decided there was more to life than stress and success. I followed my joy and I spent most of my days living in the now, doing yoga, meditating, reading sacred texts and teaching my friends yoga.
I was not particularly motivated to go looking for new strategic planning projects, although this was my only source of income as a single mother. I was living and breathing the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Until my son Miles, then age nine, spoke to me one day in the kitchen while we were having lunch.
“Mummy,” he asked, “when’s your next project?” I answered, smiling in my blissed-out yoga state: “Oh, Miles. I don’t have a next project.” “Mummy,” he replied earnestly, “you know you can’t just be doing yoga all day. I really think you should call a few people.”
And he was right. He woke me up .
My carpe diem approach was not really a sustainable long-term strategy in terms of our economic survival. I needed to take uncomfortable action to make projects happen. Because while joy is good today, tomorrow usually comes. Too much carpe diem can leave us broke and unprepared for tomorrow. But at the same time, too much planning or worrying about the future can leave us missing out on the joy we have right here, right now.
For lifelong achievement junkie and worry-driven control freak like me, the yoga world of breath, movement, and spiritual connection was in stark contrast to the high-performance business world that I was used to.
Yoga and mindfulness helped me switch off my worry and learn to be fully in the joy of the present moment. But as the full immersion strategy I had chosen was not really sustainable over the long-term, I needed to find a better balance between these two worlds of yoga and business.
My solution has been to become more conscious about how I plan my days. I make time for what brings me pure joy, which for me is meditation, yoga, and exercise. But I also make sure I’m moving forward on tasks that secure my future, even if they are hard things that make me feel uncomfortable, like making phone calls to prospective clients or creating social media posts like these.
So how about you? Do you get the balance right between living for today, finding joy in the present, and finding the courage to do the hard things that make you feel uncomfortable but are necessary for securing a better future?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments below.