Busy Work or Life's Work

Uncategorized Feb 03, 2020

“On the one hand, we all want to be happy. On the other hand, we all know the things that make us happy. But we don’t do those things. Why? Simple. We are too busy. Too busy doing what? Too busy trying to be happy.”
—Matthew Kelly, Bestselling Author


In 2016, I gave birth to my second child, my son. A few months later, I decided to become a full time investor and entrepreneur. I put my first BRRRR (Value add investing) property under contract on his first birthday. Two years later, when he turned three, I had built a $4M portfolio. In 2019, our revenue crossed the $1M mark. I launched the coaching arm of my business in 2019 too. I have been mentoring others who are interested in Real Estate Investing for the past couple of years and seeing my students' consistent success, I realized I was good at presenting complex ideas in simple, easy to follow way and felt fortunate to have the freedom to create another business.  This whole time, I would take at least one or two days off each week (not including the weekend) to spend with my kids. I would pick them up from pre-school at 3:00 pm on the rest of the days and spend the afternoons cooking, playing outside, doing art projects and having a life I dreamed of as a mother with them. My husband and I invested in household support so I could spend this quality time with them. It was a beautiful balance between work and family life.  I was living my dream - and as an immigrant woman of color who grew up on hand-me-downs, this was truly a life that I could only dream of.


As amazing as it was, my health was slowly declining. The lines between the kids, the business and my health had blurred to a point where I couldn't see clearly. I didn't know where to find the time to take care of myself. Let me be clear - when I talk about self-care, I am not talking about spa days and girls' nights out. I am talking about the discipline of self-care.


Somehow, I just wasn't feeling motivated to put my health first. What's the fun in putting "exercise" on top of my priority list when there are deals to be analyzed or snowmen to be built with my delicious toddlers. Why block your calendar to focus on getting appropriate nutrition at lunch when your time could be spent growing a passive rental portfolio.


But I knew I had to do something about it. I decided to turn it into my next project. I was convinced that if I didn't do some thing about it, I will get even more comfortable with a lifestyle that was dependent on caffeine and sugar. As my coach and author of the book Million Dollar Women , the magical Julia Pimsleur, often says, "success is 80% mindset". I knew it was a mindset issue. It wasn't like I didn't know what to do. The question was, what was stopping me. 


Motherhood and entrepreneurship can be exhilarating and all-consuming journeys. They can both show you parts of yourself you didn't know you had. And that growth can be addictive. I didn't want to compromise my time with my kids so I decided I would reduce my work hours by 5-10 hours per week and focus the rest of the time on health.


I hired a health coach. Not a personal trainer (tried that!) or a nutritionist (tried that too!), a holistic health coach. Someone who had figured out what stopped mothers and entrepreneurs from bring their best selves when it came to health. It wasn't like I didn't know what to do: exercise and eat right and you'll be fine. But the extra 25 lbs I was walking around with every day was a reminder that I wasn't fine. Let me be clear, I am all about loving your body the way it is. But I felt lethargic, and I knew it was the added weight. This WAS me loving my body - by hiring someone to help me get out of my mindset and put myself first.


There were many "Aha!" moments during my very first month with her. But I want to write about one specific moment when it clicked. My coach: Jennifer T. Johnson of Craft your Life Coaching made it mandatory for me to wake up and spend time journaling - with pen and paper. If you know me, you know I am 100% paperless in my office. And I was not sure what that would accomplish. But after two weeks of trusting her coaching, I can say that it has made the utmost impact.


“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris, told the New York Times. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain. And it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize,” he added. “Learning is made easier.” 

SCRIBE is also an integral part of SAVERS, a miracle morning routine that provides you with six habits or rituals that can improve your daily morning routine. If you haven't read the book, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod, I highly recommend it. 

Instead of typing a few lines, journaling by hand requires more subtle and complicated motion from the fingers, I learned that it actually increases activity in the brain’s motor cortex, an effect that is meditative. It can feel therapeutic. And for me, it increased my mindfulness. 

My life is totally electronic. Using ink to put my thoughts down on tangible paper, helped bring me into the current moment, the present, the NOW. Being mindful in the morning for just a few minutes was only the beginning. I have started incorporating mindfulness into my eating habits, sleep, hydration, parenting, business and general relationships around me. 


Being a mindful entrepreneur has made me realize how much time I actually waste during the day. And I don't just mean social media scrolling or watching TV (which is huge time suck!), I mean working on your business without being intentional. As Brendon Bruchard says, “If you leave your time to randomness, you are stealing from your greatness.”  He talks about how smart people are mis-aiming their potential. He goes on to say that we are so distracted by things that are meaningless and insignificant that they aren’t meaningfully and significantly getting ahead.  And it’s not that we are lazy, we are busy but Sometimes our busywork is not our life’s work. He goes on to add that "Sometimes, we are doing all these activities, but activity disjointed from strategy and purpose is just distraction. There’s nothing that costs us more in our lives over the long-term than distractions."


So, this new chapter of my entrepreneurship journey is full of meaning and significance. It is about figuring out what moves the needle and only moving forward in that direction. 



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