Episode #32: What Will You Hold Space for in 2020

Woman holding a calendar on a clipboard


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. 

By the time this episode is released, 2020 will be here. Is there someone in your life who would benefit from this podcast in the New Year? It would be my honor if you would select 3 people and share this podcast with them. If you do, shoot me an email at booth@boothandrews.com and I will send a little gift your way!! 

Oh and one more thing!! I have been nominated to speak at Ellevate’s  Raise Her Voice 2020 event in Nashville. You can go to raisehervoice2020.com to read my story and vote!! Voting runs through January 24th. 

This episode captures a blog post I wrote for @steeplechasecollective. The message is resonating so deeply with me right now that I wanted to share it on the podcast as well.


This is the time of the year when many of us start planning for the next year; setting SMART goals and adopting New Year’s Resolutions. Hopes for all we can accomplish are high as we start the year with a “clean slate.”

It is super easy for me to come up with a list of things to do. I can conjure infinite possibilities and activities that could help me reach my business objectives. More “to dos” in fact than time and resources I actually have available.

I spent the first 17 years of my career performing at all costs. Missed holidays and vacations, missed time with my children when they were small, missed time with my mom while she was alive, not being truly present with friends and loved ones because I was either working or thinking and stressing about work. I performed to the detriment of my own well-being until I was wrestled to a full and complete stop by severe mental illness.

So why do I care so much about self-care? Well, because I have no other choice. And if we are being honest, neither do you.

I have spent the last 7 years trying to recalibrate my levels of exertion with enough self-care to help me stay well. It turns out that this is more of an art than a science. When I first asked my therapist “How much self-care?” she said, “More.” How’s that for a non-answer?!

What I have learned over the years though is that the answer to “How much self-care?” is actually, “As much as it takes to feel like yourself again.”

We have probably heard the adage that a dream without a plan is just a wish. And we take this to mean that we should create very specific action plans with timelines in order for our goals to become a reality. While this type of planning is important, I spent years creating plans while skipping a step. Potentially the very most important step.

Many of us set professional and personal goals without considering what type of self-care we require to maximize our capacity to show up in the world with all of our best qualities, skills and talents. We just assume we are supposed to exercise extraordinary self-discipline, perseverance, focus, and to make sacrifices for what we want. Sometimes we think we are supposed to sacrifice things like sleep, eating nutritious food, drinking water, exercising, any such things as relaxation and play, or spending time with loved ones. But we fail to consider that we are human beings who require very specific inputs—mental, physical, emotional and spiritual—in order to have the actual capacity to reach our goals. And then we feel overwhelmed, disappointed and like a failure when we don’t reach our targets.

When I do vision board sessions with clients, we spend time exploring prompts such as:

1. What are your dreams?

2. What are your values?

3. Who are you at your best?

4. What is your perfect day?

5. What kind of inputs (aka self-care) allow you to show up in the world as your best self?

6. What do you not want to miss?

Within this context, our dreams are the WHAT we want in our lives. The exploration of WHO we are at our best, our values, and what we don’t want to miss leads us to our personal priorities and to our unique mix of passions and talents. And the HOW consists of the self-care inputs that are necessary for us to show up in the world as this highest and best version of ourselves; primed to walk the path toward our dreams.

I have BIG goals for my business. But I have also created a business that is fundamentally dependent upon me maintaining my well-being. And the truth is, all of your personal and professional goals are dependent upon you staying well. We like to pretend that we are not subject to the laws of nature, but the truth is, we are just kidding ourselves.

Even as I have learned to respond to my body’s signals and to slow down and rest when necessary (sometimes even before I get sick), I recognize that I have the opportunity to be even more proactive in how I invest in my own well-being in relationship to my personal and professional goals. With this in mind, I have made a list of things I need to hold space for in 2020. When I say “hold space,” I mean that I cannot pack my calendar full of other commitments as I still have a tendency to do, because I want to be able to maintain space in my calendar and life for the things that matter most to me, to my health and to my long-term business objectives. These things are:

·        Exercise or daily movement

·        Reading

·        College tours, searches, and applications for my oldest daughter

·        My oldest’s Senior year volleyball season

·        Sleep

·        Meditation

·        Writing

·        Food prep

·        Community and relationships

·        My kiddos (activities, play, presence, unexpected stuff that always comes up when you have little people)

·        EMDR (which is a trauma healing process I will be going through at the beginning of the year)

·        Continue conversion to non-toxic products in my home

·        Attempt weaning from psychiatric medications (with my doctor and therapist’s guidance and support)

·        Bodywork (structural integration, massage)

·        the Women in Entrepreneurship in Knoxville group that I help lead

·        Continuing to invest in my own learning and development through: Origin (led by Kate Northrup); and the Digital Course Academy (led by Amy Porterfield)

·        House improvements and small projects

·        Stillness

·        Using the Do Less Planner (weekly and daily planning rituals)

·        Morning intention setting

·        A real estate women’s group that I am involved in

·        Teaching Co.Starters; and 

·        Strategic speaking engagements

This is a pretty long list and the year hasn’t even started!!

You might notice that most of the things I am holding space for in 2020 do not have a direct dollar for hours correlation. Put another way, I am not guaranteed immediate income for the majority of these activities. However, these same activities are foundational to my ability to stay well and to continue to pursue my own healing journey. In addition, some of these activities are also business building activities that will have a future (but not immediate) return on investment.

It is so easy for us to get caught up in the here and now and the urgent that we forget to keep the foundation of our house (our personal and professional well-being) strong and healthy. By holding space for the things that really matter in 2020, I will place myself in a better position to stay well and do well in the future.

This means that one of my self-care practices in 2020 will actually be the practice of saying “no” to certain opportunities or requests that I might have said “yes” to in the past. I also know that I am terrible at holding boundaries when I am running hard and fast with a full calendar. So, in order for me to honor my own well-being, I am going to have to maintain space within my calendar and keep a handle on my energy expenditures so that I can stay focused and in alignment with what I have articulated are my priorities for 2020.   

If you haven’t done this before, or recently, I encourage you to journal your responses to the vision board prompts I use with my clients. Reflect on what you hope to accomplish in 2020 and then take a step back and write down what you will need to hold space for in 2020 in order to live your life in alignment with your purpose, passion, values and well-being.

Then, as you think about planning for 2020, be sure to schedule your well-being activities just like you would any work commitment or project. Treat your well-being commitments with the same measure of importance you would treat a commitment to your employer or to another person in your life who matters to you.

I am wishing you a happy and healthy 2020!


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I look forward to being back with you next time!