By Angie Mizzell
When I met Stacey Crew for coffee in September, neither of us expected our casual conversation about work and life would result in me hiring her as my personal business coach.
Stacey recalls, “When I reached out to you, I simply wanted to see how you were doing and what was new and good.” Her text message said she was thinking of me and would love to catch up. And she wanted to see how things were going with the memoir I’m writing. “As a writer,” Stacey says, “I’m always excited to talk with others about their process.”
I didn’t respond to her invitation for several days because I was drowning in life. I was overloaded with commitments. To be clear, there was nothing on my plate that I didn’t want to be there. But now, those same commitments were piled on top of me, and I couldn’t breathe.
The thought of finding a break in my schedule to grab a coffee made me want to cry. The thought of talking about my memoir and admitting I was still stuck on the third draft also made me want to cry. I cry a lot when I’m stressed.
Despite my intense overwhelm, I wanted to meet with Stacey. We followed each other on social media, bumped into each other at events and the grocery store and occasionally got together for coffee or lunch. I didn’t know her well but enough to know that I enjoyed her company. When we finally scheduled a time to meet, we slipped right back into our comfortable conversation.
In addition to being a writer, Stacey is a coach and marketing strategist. I asked her more about her work as a coach and a sudden curiosity came over me. She went on to explain how she helped clients define what they want to achieve and develop the strategy to get there.
Right then, I had a moment of clarity. I was tired of saying that my book is important to me, yet constantly pushing it aside. I was tired of my dream being just a dream. I’d done so much work already. I couldn’t fathom the idea of staying stuck in this place and not seeing it through. I got an uncomfortable butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling, which is my body’s way of telling me, “You need to do this.” Out of nowhere I said, “I want to work with you!” She looked as surprised and excited as I was.
Stacey and I have been working together for three months. We started by clarifying how to turn the work I do as a writer, lifestyle blogger and on-camera spokesperson into one cohesive brand. Next, Stacey asked me to list my commitments and estimate how much time I spent on them each week. When we added it up, I was surprised to learn that it far surpassed the time I had available.
Stacey says I’m not alone. “I’ve learned that most people have too much on their proverbial plate due to overcommitting, which leaves little time to work on the goals they’d like to achieve.”
Gaining clarity on how I spend my time has been a game changer for me. I don’t have an infinite supply of physical, mental and emotional energy and have a newfound respect for my personal bandwidth. I’m making adjustments to my current commitments and no longer say “yes” to new things, hoping I can somehow, magically, squeeze it all in. Now, I can see the space I have in my schedule, much like I can see if I have room for another pair of shoes in my closet. I ask myself, “Do I have time for this?” and trust the answer.
When I give myself breathing room, I’ve discovered that I can get a lot more done in shorter periods of time. Seems counterintuitive but it works. For an overachiever like me, it blows my mind.
Stacey says coaching works best for people who know what they want to accomplish and are willing to be transparent and ready to examine their habits and change those habits so they can move toward their goals with intention.
I’m entering 2019 more closely aligned with what I value, not just in my work, but in my personal life as well. And, for me, that’s what it’s all about.