I often ski on Thursdays.
I took off for Hawaii for a month, and Europe for a month — twice.
Read below to find out how I get away with having so much fun.
A lack of work-life balance is why so many professional women are unhappy.
Are you tired of feeling like you spent all day “working” but crossed only one or two things off your to-do list?
Do you take work home with you on the weekends, or spend half of your vacation at the desk inside your hotel room, glued to your email?
If so, you need to reclaim authority over your time.
Many professional women actually don’t have authority over their time, because they haven’t claimed emotional authority over their own lives.
This may sound a bit shocking or insulting, so let me explain.
Many smart women got to where they are by doing all the things that their parents, the educational system, their workplace culture, their supervisor….has expected of them.
And the smarter and more promising a young woman appears to be, the more all the “authorities” around her make it very clear that in order to be considered a good girl, a worthy person, smart enough, good enough, etc., just do what we say.
And so then the woman grows up to look very powerful on her CV or resume, but she may feel very trapped and lost inside.
That’s what happened to me.
Smart women might not seek out to people-please authority, but they certainly don’t feel free to break from convention.
I remember when I was a young, new attorney in Alaska. I naively thought that moving there would allow me to have a law career with work-life balance. Alaska is this big outdoorsy scene, right? Everyone gets to take off Fridays and go hiking, right?
Well, wrong. I was so afraid of what my employers would think of me for taking time away from work to recharge, and having a different personality than most of the people around me, that my health and happiness suffered, and I was criticized for seemingly everything.
I was in good little student mode, still trying to make the authority happy because my nervous system was in total flight, flee or fawn at the thought of getting punished.
And as a result, I really wasn’t getting as much done during the day as I could have. I was a ball of nerves, glued to email, and wasting time worrying about what other people were thinking.
My worry about being “unproductive” or “not good enough” made me less productive.
And this is something I hear so much from smart women. A project that takes an hour for them to do often breaks down to something like 20 minutes of work and 40 minutes of ruminating.
I started to unravel this problem when I left litigation for two years early in my career and went to work for nonprofits in various roles such as grassroots organizing, lobbying and fundraising.
When I stopped living in “good little student” mode, and stopped giving a shit about “authority,” my productivity dramatically increased.
In nonprofits, I found myself in a culture of people who generally placed quality of life over money and results. It was a nice break. People weren’t breathing down my neck as much, and suddenly I had the headspace to realize that I was actually a pretty efficient worker.
I had this attitude that “they’re not paying me enough to have me just sit there if I’ve finished my work. I’ll just let my work speak for itself.” Initially, it felt so rebellious and flippant. But it was the beginning of being a professional grown-ass woman instead of a professional girl.
Without the drama about being “good enough” clogging my head, I realized that I had the capacity to take on the job of two people and still take Friday off for hiking.
And that’s when something deep within me clicked: I am the boss of me.
You are the boss of you.
After that realization, it wasn’t long before I marched in and asked for a raise and more responsibility. When I didn’t get it — the organization was intent on using its funding in certain ways and spreading the work around more positions — I left for a smattering of legal contract work. When that dried up, I went to work for another nonprofit just long enough to pay off my credit card before becoming self-employed.
And one of the first things I did to celebrate my freedom was go skiing mid-week.
Whether you’re self-employed or work for someone else, you control your time because you control yourself.
Within a few years of starting my own law practice, I adopted business strategies that were based on two concerns: (1) keeping overhead to a minimum, and (2) keeping my free time at a maximum.
I was paperless and remote before that was widely accepted. I spent a tiny bit of money on advertising a couple times, but then stopped because it was unnecessary.
And most importantly, I learned how to leverage the power of my mind and emotional management to get my work done efficiently so that I could have plenty of time to take excellent care of my physical and mental health.
And I got very good results early on despite my youth and relative inexperience, largely because I had unshakable belief in my own authority.
How I get more done so I can have more fun
In order to get more done so you can have more fun, it is largely an inside job. There are three steps: (1) understand what the patriarchy has done to strip you of your own authority through the education system and your professional culture; (2) recalibrate your nervous system so you’re not vaguely afraid of authority and paralyzed when you are working or playing; (3) make some deliberate decisions in your work and your life.
1. Understand what the patriarchy has done to strip you of your authority.
Over the past several millennia, women have had to fight for the right to go to school, to vote, to hold the same jobs as men, and be paid the same as men. And this fight is not over.
And the thought that we are “getting a seat at the table” is f’d up. Trial lawyer Sara Williams has asserted that “women should make their own table.”
But many women don’t, because in order to get the job they’re in, they had to be judged as “correct,” “obedient,” or “plays well with others” by the conventional standards to get there. They felt they couldn’t break any of the unwritten rules.
And feminine-energy women, who are especially prone to people-pleasing, can find it the most difficult to take the very steps to reclaim their authority so they can finally meet their more feminine needs like health, hobbies, time in nature, or time with family. We are more prone to burnout. Feminine-energy women need this proclamation of their own authority more than anyone, but we’re often the least likely to do it.
It simply feels so scary to rebel. This plays out in things like: “I can’t get away with not checking my email every 5 minutes. I can’t get away with going to Europe for a month. I can’t leave early to pick up my kid from school. WHAT WILL THE OTHER PEOPLE THINK?”
2. A woman must first recalibrate her nervous system before she subverts the dominant paradigm.
But when you try create such productivity-enhancing freedoms for yourself, you just….can’t. “What will people think?!?”
That’s because your animal body fears that you’ll get thrown out of the tribe. If you act like you’re not one of the gang but at the same time don’t project a powerful vibe, they’ll kick you out out of the cave, where it’s dangerous and a saber-toothed tiger is going to eat you. That is literally what the primitive brain and the nervous system can think.
And if they can unconsciously smell fear, it is human nature — like something out of the novel Lord of the Flies — to criticize and ostracize the oddball.
That’s why it is essential that you get over the visceral fear before you take action. That is where a combination of Deep Dive Coaching and Flower Essences can help you dissolve the broken-record thought errors and dissolve the fear from your body.
3. Make decisions about your life and time.
Once the fear is dissolved from your body and you deep down know the truth that you are the boss of you, a grown-ass professional woman instead of little girl teacher’s pet, suddenly you aren’t going to want to be a doormat to your job anymore. You’re not going to be the waitstaff to your email, or a ladies’ maid in a Boss suit like it’s some time-travel mashup of Downton Abbey.
With the visceral fear gone from your body, you’ll be able to clearly see which emails actually need a response. The hourlong project that entailed 20 minutes of work and 40 minutes of rumination is going to now be a 20-minute project, and you’ll project a real confidence that will inspire people to want to do business with you and listen to what you have to say. You will be able to renegotiate your “contracts” with everyone and it finally won’t be so one-sided against you.
And then when you get all your work done in 3 or 4 days that used to take 5 or 6, you will feel unapologetic about pursuing a hobby, picking up your kid from school, or going to Hawaii for a month.
I love helping professional women reclaim their time by first understanding how the patriarchy has gaslit them, then releasing the fears stored in the body, and then making bold decisions about how to use their time in ways that finally serve them.
A woman who reclaims her authority reclaims her time, and can finally fill up her life with what really matters.
Stop suffering, and start being the boss of you. Contact me to set up a consultation! Your life is waiting for you.