How to unplug in a hyper-connected world
A glimpse of my “perfect day”
The pandemic, with its many days we were at home with nowhere to go, left me days and days of blank canvas on which to paint my ideal day.  For me, it is several cups of coffee on the back porch as the sun went up, with my Bible in my lap and a pen behind my ear.  I just LOVE my mornings with the Lord with the sun on my face.  Then, I roll inside to greet my family and have a beautiful breakfast of peace.  Hubby leaves for work, and the kids and I start on our school.  We read a few books together, and after lunch, we enjoy the afternoon, reading some more, playing the cello, violin, or piano, and then head out for sushi in the evening.  Yes, this really happened recently.  Then we culminated the day with a cult classic, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”  Didn’t expect me to say that movie?  Ah, you thought about it some, and you agree!  I know, right?  My kids really enjoyed it, and I loved reciting the lines! 

Back when I taught at the Christian school, in 2010-2011, when I was running out of the house every day at 6:45 am, with two tiny kids in tow and half my curriculum still on the bedside table, as I was teaching at a Christian school 30 minutes from my house, I was not enjoying my life.  That was hard, and it was hard on my kids.  I quit the soonest chance I got, which was 8 months after I WANTED to quit.  However, I did need to keep working.  It was a HARD life.
When my son was 3, just a year and a half later, I got introduced to a stellar home-based business with products I adored and knew I’d keep buying.  I decided to go for it.  I’d buy the products anyway!  Why NOT offer these products to my friends?  Why not also introduce them to the concept of also having their own businesses?  The compensation plan was amazing.  Here’s the latest official Income Disclosure Statement.
What happens when you’re wildly successful, but you don’t expect yourself to be?  You end up saddled with the burden of figuring out how to scale when you didn’t even expect you’d get this far. Combine that with several moves as a military wife as well as several geographic separations due to military assignments, and you realize that you NEED to change for your family’s sake and for your own sanity, but you don’t know how to. You struggle for several YEARS, but don’t really identify your problem so you can’t really make changes.

One day, you realize your business owns you rather than the other way around, but you don’t know what to cut.  So, you feel the pressure for a while and think, “if I don’t do it, nobody will!”  Entrepreneurship is in my blood.  My grandfather owned a store, and he was always there.  He didn’t pay employees; he and my grandmother kept that store alive until they weren’t, themselves, and the store promptly closed.  

So, I realize that I’m hard wired to completely throw myself into my business because I’m an entrepreneur.
However, without going into much detail, I stumbled on a matrix I first saw attributed to Bob Kiyosaki, which included the categories, “employee, owner, systems creator, and investor.”  The idea is that as you move through those types of employment situations, you gain freedom.  I was stuck on “owner” forever.  I’ve been working on moving to “systems creator,” and finally, to “investor,” through investing time, love and interest in others intending to grow their own businesses.  

The most glaring signal to me I have been stuck on “owner” as someone who is working when the lights are on is how few movies I’ve watched with my family over the years.  Now, this is no one’s issue but my own. I’ve contributed lots, treated many instances as emergencies, and made myself feel important when people were reaching out asking questions. I also realized that I was not transitioning well enough to systems creator in looking at my budget for paying an assistant to help me.  My assistant budget in 2015 was very similar to what it was in 2022, despite a large team size increase.  Ideally, my systems would have been automated and grown to accommodate the team growth.  Over the years, I missed Thanksgiving dinners, Friday nights, weeknight dinners, walks outside, because someone texted me and I made myself feel like the only answer was to respond.  I didn’t grow with my business; in other words, I didn’t create boundaries around my business and automations that would help people with their products.  I inserted myself as the service rather than the product.  UGH.  Think about that. People bought products and I tried to insert ME as their commodity!

In July 2022, I took a terrifying step.  I confronted my addiction of work. I let my assistant go, at least for the time being, till I could figure out what could be automated, then identify what I could have her do in a systematized fashion for me.  And more so, I stopped doing what I would normally have done for my business.  I am auditing all my practices right now, determining what to delegate, what to automate, what to batch, and what to eliminate.  I unplugged from my former way of operating.  It may seem terrifying to do that, but it was robbing me of life to continue the labor-intensive process I had set up for myself.  

The potential repercussions could have kept me up at night.  Did people think I wasn’t doing my job?  Would I lose business? Would people miss me or think I was taking advantage of a situation?  When I see it presented like this on black and white, I realize that everything I feared was an illusion, and I really owed it to myself and my family to take my family back, and to reorient my business practices to a system so that my time could be used well, people could be served well, and I could get back to living.  How ironic to have a solid income if you have no outlet to enjoy it.

One of the first days I did this was one of the most ironic days in my business to do it!  I unplugged on the last day of August, and the first day of September.  Traditionally, those are the busiest days of my month.  The kids and I went to a sushi restaurant almost immediately after school, and enjoyed green tea, sushi, and sashimi, and mochi.  It was a lovely evening.  Then we capped it off with a home viewing of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”  My kids loved it!  They asked me about mine and my husband’s romance and wedding, and questions about Greek culture I could only answer because of my time in the Orthodox Church.  It was a marvelous evening, and I didn’t have questions waiting for me in my inbox, as I had conditioned myself to believe, almost to my detriment.
What would your ideal day be?  How does it compare to your typical days?  Take some time to write both scenarios in your journal.  What do you need permission to do and not do?  What is a hard-core priority for you that you need to refocus on and reorder in your day?  I give you permission to reorient that item!  Spend some time talking with your spouse or significant other or praying over this exercise so you can gain clarity on small shifts you can make that will have a monumental impact, as my shifts did.  How soon can you implement this change?


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