Everyone talks about people having it all, doing it all. There have been plenty of thought-provoking articles and books written about it by everyone from Delia Ephron to Sheryl Sandberg. Not to mention countless posts and responses and retorts about it buzzing around the Internet. But even with that barrage of opinions and advice, I think many people don't recognize one important thing -- how lessons learned and goals achieved in one business can lead to success in another, even if it's completely different.
My own juggling act is a case in point. I live in frenzied Manhattan. For many years I have worked in the highly competitive New York real estate market as a principal managing member of my company. I'm dedicated to being the best mom I possibly can be to my two children. I strive to be an understanding wife. I tend dutifully to my ailing mother. I recently adopted a rescue from a puppy mill that has a multitude of health problems -- and he's not even housebroken! It gets crazy at times, I'll tell you that. And you might think that with a relentlessly booked-up schedule like mine, there simply wouldn't be time to consider branching out into another major endeavor.
But a few years ago, that's exactly what I did. Just when most people at my stage of life might be starting to coast downhill a bit and reap the rewards of years of hard work, I found myself heading up another hill of my own choosing. A really big hill. I decided to start a kind of business I knew nothing about: a brand-new website dedicated to personal transformation and resource for wellness, called Rewire Me.
As it turns out, I had been preparing for the launch of this website for a long time. Many of the life lessons I now share on Rewire Me were developed out of my growing personal awareness over the past three decades. Years ago, I developed an interest in meditation and other activities that could help me sharpen my focus on getting things done and chill out to keep stress under control. As I was managing skyscrapers in Manhattan, I was also looking well beyond the horizon of that cityscape to help me stay relaxed and focused as I tried to keep all those balls in the air. I investigated Eastern philosophy. I attended workshops with wellness gurus. I mastered several types of yoga and healing practices. My explorations ran the gamut from ancient health wisdom to cutting-edge neuroscience.
I'm not a person who keeps secrets, so I discussed whatever pearls of wisdom I learned on my path of discovery with any real estate co-worker willing to listen. Little did I know that what I shared during work breaks in conference rooms and over morning coffee would eventually find a much larger audience. My knowledge base eventually reached a flashpoint; I had the foundation I needed to break ground on Rewire Me.
I've learned a lot from my evolution. Here are six practices that helped me through times when I felt overwhelmed:
1. When I think I'm overstretched, I admit it -- because I probably am. Then I stop what I'm doing, close my eyes, and take three deep breaths. When I reopen them, I see things differently. Taking the time to pause, to ask ourselves how we feel gives our brain the opportunity to recalibrate, to choose to do something differently. Even taking three deep breaths can reset our focus.
2. When I start freaking out and my stomach is tied up in knots because I have so much work to do that I'll never get it done no matter how late I stay at the office, I change my location. I go home and work there or go to a café. I'll also drink licorice, ginger or chamomile tea; their properties are known to aid the achy digestive tract, which can help calm the nervous system and then the mind.
3. When I don't know where my work is because I'm working from two different offices for my two companies, I make sure my IT guy has all the computers networked so I can access them anytime from any location. As far as I'm concerned iCloud is a multi-tasker's miracle.
4. When I feel like screaming... I DO! But I make sure whomever I'm with (or is in the office next to mine) understands that it's not directed at them, it's not personal, it's me blowing off steam.
5. I play music and let the sound carry me away from the stress. It's a great way to get back in the moment. When I get caught up in the beat it makes me happy, or it calms me down. There's something about the rhythm that shifts our brain wave states from high beta (high stress) to alpha (relaxed).
6. When in doubt, laugh. A lot. I do... especially at myself! I've spent many hours being the butt of my own jokes. It's amazingly cathartic... and fun!
For the moment, this crazy split-personality situation I'm in seems to be working out. And as the Rewire Me community grows, I expect to grow as well. Life is meant for us to learn, evolve, share, and evolve further. My wish for everyone is to continue on this path, learning and sharing insights with each other to brighten our futures and to find that wonderful place of peacefulness.