Apr 12, 2016

How To Prioritize Being Over Doing

For the past three years I have been pushing the metaphorical boulder up the hill.

I’ve created a business that more than takes care of my needs, while reaching over a million readers per month with my writing. For this fact, I feel supremely grateful. Nothing touches my heart more than knowing that my words of love and intentionality are positively affecting people the world over.

Over the past six months I’ve found myself in a transitioning point where my constant state of doing was being asked (by my heart/gut/intuition) to switch over to more being.

Let me explain.

Being vs. Doing

We live in a society that rewards and celebrates a doing culture.

Hustle hard. You are what you produce. Be a millionaire by 30 and a billionaire by 40, otherwise you aren’t fulfilling your truest potential and you’re a waste of space.

And while I wouldn’t take back any of the effort that I put into writing my 300+ articles, 8 books, and everything else I’ve done over the past several years, I’m the first to recognize that pushing, hustling, and grinding only gets you so far.

Lately I’ve been putting a lot of work (I know, old habits die hard) into intentionally letting go of being addicted to doing, and I’ve begun to embrace being. Here are some of the highest leverage things I’ve found to be able to make this switch (slowly but surely).

How To Let Go Of Doing

Before you can embrace being, you have to make space by cutting out some of your compulsive doing. Start with these tips.

Take weekends off – if you’re self-employed and/or starting up your own business, then you’re probably fairly well versed in working 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Step one, stop it. Give yourself the permission to actually take days (and, dare I say, entire weekends!) off from work.

Be in airplane mode most of the time – you own your phone, it doesn’t own you. Put your phone in airplane mode most of the time… while you’re asleep, while you’re on dates with your significant other, when you’re home from work at night and watching Netflix like a normal person. You plug in your phone to recharge it without guilt… so allow yourself to recharge your mental and emotional batteries as well.

Stop setting so many goals – goal setting culture is a natural by-product of the societally reinforced doing culture. If you are what you produce then naturally you would want to set hundreds of goals so that you can always be squeezing every last drop of productivity out of yourself. But this inevitably leads to burnout, exhaustion, and a seemingly never-ending eye twitch. Stop setting goals. They won’t miss you. You can set intentions. You can take baby steps towards things that you find pleasurable. But if you’re always corralling your inner child into a corner with your all-work-no-play mindset, then your sense of lightness and joie de vivre is going to die a depressing (and swift) death.

Prioritize your self-care – compulsive doers often forget about taking care of themselves on a physiological level (because hours invested in eating well, sleeping well, and exercising aren’t at the top of their priority list). If this is a problem for you, you’ll probably want to permanently bookmark my deep-dive article on self-care.

Get better at boundary setting so that you can take time to be – the more you say ‘No’ (to additional work projects, people you don’t actually want to spend time with, etc.) the more opportunity you’ll have to say yes to joy, fulfillment, and being. Start working on your personal boundaries, and you’ll free up so much more time and attention that can be put towards the things in life that actually bring you a sense of deep ease.

Simplify your life – if you run three businesses, have 20 “best friends”, and are engaged in a dozen regular hobbies that seem to keep your calendar totally packed, then it might be time for an overall lifestyle shake down. Start cutting things from your life that keep you overly busy. You don’t need to do yoga, spin class, rock climbing, swing dancing lessons, AND pottery making workshops. If your calendar is overly packed with things to do-do-do, then you might just be sprinting away from being with yourself. Simplify your life. Allow the space for down time. It will help, I promise.

How To Embrace Being

Now that the space has been created in your life to start prioritizing being, how exactly should you go about achieving this goal? Start by doing a handful of these things.

Breathe – the best thing you can do is usually the simplest thing you can do. Make time to breathe. Whether that looks like taking five deep, slow breaths before you get out of bed in the morning, meditating to your meditation app for 20 minutes, or lying on your back on the carpet and breathing with your hands over your stomach, regularly taking time to reconnect with your breath will do wonders for allowing you to drop into your being-ness.

Look at this go-getter... just being up a storm all over her floor. Amazing.

Look at this go-getter… just being up a storm all over her floor. Amazing.

Let go of constantly needing to be growing, developing, and optimizing – chances are, if you found your way to reading this article, you, like me, are very good at grabbing life by the horns and getting as much as you can out of it. And while being growth-minded is definitely a skill that I believe that much of the world could benefit from, there comes a point where being overly driven and intentional can start to become damaging.  Put simply, you don’t always need to be improving. Nothing moves forwards 100% of the time. The old adage of “If you’re not growing you’re dying” is bullshit to the extent that if you aren’t allowing time for rest, then your constant need to be pushing and growing could actually be the thing that kills you off faster (heart disease anyone?). So give yourself permission to take down time. Because sometimes the best possible thing you can do for your personal growth, is to stop needing to constantly be growing.

Do whatever ‘nothing’ looks like to you – maybe doing nothing looks like lying on your bedroom floor and listening to your favourite album. Or maybe it looks like regularly having conversations with your favourite people. Or having an Epsom salt bath and drinking red wine. Think about the least productive (and most relaxing) thing you could do, and then go do that. And then make a habit of doing it regularly. You will never regret making being a priority. No matter where you fall on the introvert/extrovert scale, your soul will always need time, space, and quiet to recharge.

So that’s that. Truth be told, I originally had another dozen or so tips to implement between the two sections but I feel like it defeated the purpose. Simple is better. If you found your way to the end of this article, then you most likely need less information and more rest.

You officially have full permission to go and do nothing right now. Just be. That’s all that is required of you.

The world will still be there when you finish diving into your being-state. So enjoy it.

Dedicated to your success (and your emotional freedom),




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