Episode #26: Fishing Line

Instead of living our lives on autopilot (or entrenched in long-held beliefs, habits and behaviors that no longer serve us), we can choose a different path. On a short vacation with my family, I had the opportunity to practice choosing to be present instead of defaulting to "productivity" or disappearing into my Instagram feed. My reflections on the experience are in this episode.

Welcome to the Freedom from Empty Podcast: Building Strong, Effective, Resilient Leaders and Humans. My name is Booth Andrews, and I am your host. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode. 

I am really excited about the resources I have in the works for 2020! And guess what, I want YOUR help! In the coming weeks and months, I will be asking for your input on what resources and programs would serve you best! So, if you haven’t already, please hop on over to @theboothandrews on Instagram and follow me there. Also, when you subscribe to my newsletter on my website, you will be among the very FIRST to know when new resources and programs are available!

On to today’s episode. 

My name is Booth and I am a recovering workaholic. I do not say that flippantly. Just because workaholism is socially acceptable, doesn’t mean it isn’t an addiction. 

And even if you aren’t using work to cope with life, it is so easy to get caught up in the windstorm that is our performance-based, perfectionist culture.

Perhaps because of the world we live in, and because it takes a long time to re-wire habits, patterns and beliefs, the path to well-being is not a “one and done.” The path to well-being is a lifelong practice. 

The practice goes like this: noticing our tendencies, challenging our beliefs and patterns, and making a CHOICE to behave differently.

Here is a case in point:

My family and I went on a quick vacation this weekend. Leading up to the vacation, I was sick for a week with a chest cold.

Because I was sick, I limited my schedule to the things that I HAD to do (as in it would have caused significant inconvenience for me to cancel and I had enough energy to do those things. But in between those “must do” commitments, I rested. 

I don’t know about you, but when I feel really bad, it is easy for me not to worry too much about what isn’t getting done. Because frankly, I can barely focus anyway. And I have gotten a whole lot better at giving myself permission to rest when I am sick. 

But when I start to feel better, and usually before all my energy and focus have returned, I start to re-gain awareness of the things that have been put on hold; some of which, due to the passage of time, have become more urgent. 

So, off we went to the beach just as I was starting to feel better physically.

When I anticipate space in my schedule, I start to think about the content I need to create for my business. Because I love to create MORE and I create more FLUIDLY and EASILY when there is some space in my schedule. And if I am being completely honest, I also experience fear when I am anticipating space in my schedule. The fear is that I will not use this time wisely, and that I don’t know when I will have this time and space again, so I should maximize the return on investment! Lurking in the background is the voice that is ready to beat myself up for failure to use this time well.

So there I was, on vacation with my kids for the first time in 18 mos for only 3 days. And part of me imagined that I would use one of those days to work on my business. 

One of the reasons I share stories like this because I want you to know that, even with all I have learned and practiced over the last several years, I still tussle with the head game of what I “should” be doing with my time. 

So, back to vacation . . . 

Did you know that providing tech support for fishing rods can be a full-time job? I didn’t either, until now.

Saturday morning, I found myself spending several hours working to repair fishing rods and untangling fishing line. And again on Sunday morning.

More than once, I started to think about giving up on the fishing line and to do something “productive.” And then, I would come back to the fact that I was absolutely, 100% fully present while I was untangling the fishing line. 

I was with my daughter. I was outside. On the water. On vacation. And so, each time I started to consider that maybe I should be working, I made the affirmative choice to stay exactly where I was; untangling the fishing line. 

I gave myself permission to be fully present, knowing (aka having to remind myself repeatedly) that spending this time being fully present would almost certainly have a positive impact on my future creativity and productivity.

Even though I have seen for myself, time and time again, that rest and recovery and spending time in the present moment have exponential benefits for my well-being and my productivity, I STILL have to challenge old habits, beliefs and fears. 

So here is another quick vacation story. This one might be throwing myself under the bus just a little bit. My instagram feed (the people and businesses I follow) is carefully curated. I follow other people who are sharing their authentic journey, mental health advocates and organizations, other companies focused on well-being, and a number of feeds that include gorgeous nature photos, animals and flowers. As such, my instagram feed is a “safe” place for me to go, and I use it for ideas, inspiration, affirmation and beauty. I also use it as a distraction. It is probably the equivalent of my “Netflix and Chill.”

The same Sunday morning that I ultimately spent untangling fishing line, I first sat down on the dock with my phone in hand. And started scrolling through Instagram. And then I caught myself. I WAS SITTING ON A DOCK ON THE WATER ON VACATION. I didn’t need my Instagram feed to breathe and relax (or escape). I put the phone down. And was shortly thereafter rewarded with the benefit of watching dolphins swim by within about 50 feet of the dock.

By the way, I didn’t beat myself up for almost succumbing to old habits. I just noticed when I was tempted or sliding into something that didn’t serve me in that moment, and I made a different choice. 

Notice, challenge, choose. This is the simple formula that we can apply to any habit or belief that no longer serves us. And this is the practice by which we develop new habits and new patterns and new ways to support our lifelong well-being. 

I hope you will spend time over the next couple of weeks noticing some of your habits, challenging whether those habits and patterns still serve you well, and recognizing that you can choose to engage in your life and your work and your relationships differently.  

As I wrap up this episode, just a reminder that in the coming weeks and months, I will be asking for YOUR input on what programs and resources you need to manage stress, build resilience and prevent or recover from burnout. So please hop on over to @theboothandrews on Instagram and follow me there. And also, if you subscribe to my newsletter on my website, you will be among the FIRST to know when new resources are available!

Thank you for listening. If you haven’t already, please hit subscribe and remember to rate this podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

I look forward to being back with you next time!