The first half of 2017 has been a whirlwind of amazing experiences and way beyond what I’d imagined when setting my intentions for the year. It has also challenged what I believed resilience to be and has me questioning is it possible to be too resilient and optimistic?
This year I made a commitment to the theme of Creation. I work better with themes rather than super specific goals. Within 24 hours of writing this intention I received a message via LinkedIn that I never imagined possible.
It was from a director of an indie feature film saying that she is looking for an actress who uses a wheelchair for the film – would it be up my alley. At first I thought it might be dodgy but after doing some research/stalking I saw it was legit and replied even though the thought of being a leading lady in a film scared the crap out of me.
A series of phone calls, emails and eventually a meeting with the writer/executive producer, director and producer of the film ensued and was offered the role of Sarah in The Casting Game. Shit got very real then!
I did freak out for a while, all of the limiting beliefs possible reared their head, telling me there’s no way I could do this, feeling an immense pressure having such a big part with zero acting training or experience. I got caught up stalking out the cast’s profiles and experience and bit by bit felt even more overwhelmed and out of my depth. I was petrified that I would let everyone down.
Part of me wanted to bail. Then I tapped into the resilience you know me for and looked for evidence of why I could do this. There have been so many occasions in life where I’ve said yes to things I’ve had no experience with and found ways to make it work.
I reminded myself that if they had major doubts about my ability to do this they wouldn’t have asked. I reminded myself that I was getting coaching from very experienced actors and director in how to create the performances needed to bring Sarah’s character to life and give it the energy and strength it deserved.
I told myself that this was the most amazing apprenticeship I could get and the detour it was taking me on from my core business direction for the first half of this year was totally worth the growth experience and committed to giving it my all, loving the process and having no attachment to the outcome.
Looking at the filming schedule planned and immersing myself in learning and rehearsing, I began to feel guilty about neglecting my business and felt sick when I looked at my cashflow projections for the period I was committing to the film.
Instead of looking for one way to invest my energy in to kickstart the cashflow, in true Stacey overachiever style I committed to running 3 events in 2 states (even though I’d only ever run one of my own before and these events were totally new!)
I set about drafting the outline, setting up venues, promoting the events and then added in attending a series of events in the same 7 day period my events were planned and a series of business development meetings that I was super pumped about. At my events I launched and presold 2 new programs that I hadn’t created yet! On top of that, I was working out, eating badly, getting dehydrated, sleeping only 4-5 hours a night and running my body and mind ragged.
After pulling everything off without a hitch I got back home in Sydney and was patting myself on the back about the awesome job I’d done. I still have the draft post I was going to write – “The Week That Epitomised My Theme Of Creation” – with a summary of the schedule complete with a big smiley face and heart at the bottom of this handwritten note. The next day the cracks started to appear.
I woke up the day after flying home with a pain in my foot I’ve never had before. Instead of rest or getting it looked at, I ignored it and continued working out, not enough sleep and continuing the follow ups while planning another event collaborating with a like-minded friend.
The pain got worse day by day, and 5 days later angry red patches appeared on my foot and I knew immediately it was a cellulitis infection. I’d had this once before and with some antibiotics and rest I was as good as new in a fortnight. The next morning my foot was enormous, the redness was spreading, I had a fever, nausea and sat with my eyes closed most of the day to fight the headache and sickness. I went to the doctor and started on antibiotics.
A few days later I felt better but the foot was getting worse. By now I had a serious cankle and my foot was close to 4 times the size of the other. I went back to the doctors, changed antibiotics, and resisted the suggestion to go to hospital for it. I was still telling myself it would be fine!
A couple of days later I ended up seriously ill from an unrelated incident and ended up in an ambulance. At the hospital they took one look at my foot and had me on 3 different IV antibiotics within hours. This was the first time I’d been to hospital in around 16 years.
I was discharged the next day with a nurse coming to my house twice daily to give me IV antibiotics for the next 10 days. I missed my first scheduled film shooting day, I couldn’t leave the house and lost a lot of independence having a cannula hanging out of my arm and a massively swollen opposite leg that I couldn’t put a shoe on!
It was during this stint at home feeling terrible and frustrated that I started to see the signs I’d either missed or ignored that the Universe was giving me that I was overdoing it and heading for burnout.
As much as it pained me to admit it, I realised then I am human. I’m not as young as I was. I needed to prioritise my health and emotional wellbeing and to lighten the load. I rested as much as I could but my recovery was slowed by having ridiculously tight hamstrings which meant I couldn’t elevate my leg and couldn’t lie on my back in bed.
Under schedule pressure, I squeezed a shoe back on the swollen foot and spent the following couple of weeks acting like nothing had happened. I got 2 weekends of filming done, some speaking engagements locally and quite a bit of business development and felt like all was good again.
Then the Universe kicked my ass with a relapse of the infection. I’d not heeded the previous warnings and now it was making sure I couldn’t ignore this.
Another 2 weeks out of action gave me even more time to reflect. I threw away the shoes that had been the cause of these problems, got specialised shoes that are better suited to the feet I have, and I started a 3 month weekly Physio program to have intensive work on my legs to get the flexibility back that is needed not just for being comfortable and healthier, it is essential to getting me back on the Athletics track.
During this time I did a lot of “just being”. Learning to be at peace with calm instead of chaos and to let go of the urge that I always needed to be doing something.
Since going more inwards in my focus and energy some wonderful things have been happening. My resistance to distractions has strengthened, energy has increased, I’ve been more effective and great gigs and award wins have come my way.
It took a closer examination of my priorities and being quite ruthless on what had to be scrapped, delayed, or delegated. I prioritised healing, the film, spending time “just being”, while social events and networking was scrapped and sport was delayed.
The breathing mantras I adopted, and still use today, were Healing and Patience. Patience has been my biggest area of growth. It was something that has been, in hindsight, a glaring weakness of mine.
Now, I’m ok with not getting everything done where in the past I’d beat myself up about it. Spending time feeling and thinking has sharpened my clarity and renewed my enthusiasm.
My approach to life has been “say yes and figure out how later”. Over time I’ve been narrowing this statement down to clarify that it isn’t blindly saying yes to everything. It is asking whether you have the desire to do it, do you have the confidence you can do it, is it in alignment with your vision, mission, and values, is it adding value to your life or is it a convenient distraction from something more important?
It is important to determine the WHY behind the no. If it is a no rooted in fear or is it a no that is protecting your energy and keeping your focus?
Increasingly I am saying no. Increasingly I am looking for things to scrap. Increasingly I am realising the importance of environment to being present, at ease and allowing things to flow rather than forcing them to happen. Right now, I’m writing this a month after I started this because it needed to flow.
Every time I’ve lightened the load and scrapped things from my life exponential growth has followed. By letting things go you are creating space for things that are meant to come instead of hanging on to things you feel should be there.
This hasn’t been easy though. Every day there is the temptation to slip back into my over scheduling, mad juggling and over achiever ways. The self-awareness to recognise this has been crucial. With this it is possible to get back in flow and on task way quicker than ever before.
I have learned how important rest, reflection and presence is to being truly resilient and how optimism doesn’t mean being borderline delusional on how much I can actually do. Now, I listen to my body. I have been reminded of the difference between being functional and being in optimal shape.
You will start to see the evolution of resilience I’m discovering in what I share, and more new elements around these lessons learned in my work as I’m committed to making sure you can learn from my mistakes instead of making your own.
You will also begin to see changes in how I share these messages with you. More blogs, videos, and social media bites to help you become more resilient and optimistic while also finding your own balance in life are on the way. Making good use of technology allows me to reach you more often and when not travelling too much, I can manage my energy to connect better with you and serve you from a place of abundance.
As challenging and painful as these past few months have been at times, I’m grateful that the experience has taught me that it is possible to be too resilient and optimistic.
Let me know what challenges you are having with managing resilience, optimism and having a healthy balance in your life? Would love to co-create the ideal outcomes with you.