As I’ve been speaking, writing and teaching more about the Curse of HyperCompetence (click here if you’re wondering whether you have this affliction), I’ve expanded my hunt for its Cure. While I have yet to find a miracle antidote, I have been collecting a long list of stories that exemplify why we must find and employ treatment (pronto!), along with a growing list of Salves.
(Before I dive into all that, I’d like to share that it’s taken me 1.5 hours to settle into the writing process in which I’m currently (and probably temporarily) engaged. Both of my kids (their school is closed today), a guest kid, a visiting dog, the mailman, a home contractor, a friend on the phone, and my own distracting thoughts have all come into my space during this time. Now I have 43 minutes available (assuming no more interruptions – ha!) to write this blog post. This is a representative sample of the weekday story of my life.
Back to HyperCompetence (aka HC)… during a recent dialogue with around 20 women professionals, I heard the story of one in-shape lady who had a heart attack at age 38. She considered that moment a rude awakening to her own HC. With kids, a demanding job, and a husband with a chronic illness she was in so deep that she didn’t even feel particularly stressed anymore. She was like a frog in slowly boiling water; she was so used to the heat that she couldn’t even feel the temperature rising. Since then she has engaged in meditation and mindfulness, letting go, and actually asking for help. These are wonderful ideas; so much easier to say than do. Definitely keep them in mind and try them out. She is healthier and less stressed now.
In recent weeks, as a complement to the Brilliance-BasedTM Success System, I’ve been modeling for my clients and teaching about one Salve called Creative Renewal Time. The Creative Renewal Time guidelines are as follows:
1. Book your sessions in advance, whenever possible. Mark them on your calendar as Creative Renewal Time (CRT). Each session should be at least 30 minutes long, ideally 1 hour or more. Book at least 2 sessions per week. You may prefer to do fewer, longer ones instead of more frequent, shorter sessions. Schedule what works for you.
2. During CRT you can do any activity you feel like, including sleep, EXCEPT listen to other voices speaking through media (like television or talk radio) or stare into an electronic device. You can even do CRT with a friend!
3. Wait until the moment your CRT begins to decide how to spend it. No planning in advance. Spontaneity is key. Do what you feel like doing. Follow your energy.
4. Let go of any guilt or shame that arises during your CRT. You deserve to take time for you! It is essential to your wellbeing and to your work that you have time in your week that’s not pre-planned.
5. I recommend texting an accountability partner at the beginning and end of each session so that person can hold the space with you. Having a “witness” may help you stick to your planned CRT, rather than wander back to your desk, your laundry, etc. My clients have spent their CRT in a wide variety of ways. Recent examples include napping, journaling in a coffee shop, painting, people watching, reading and coloring.
Although the goal of CRT is not productivity (it is relaxation!), I’ve seen CRT have phenomenal impact. From just a few hours of CRT last week, in addition to coming up with her next big idea, one client found herself actually doing (instead of procrastinating) more of the dreaded items on her to-do list.
Please share your ideas and results in the comments below.