“when a woman stops doing she must learn how to simply be”
— Maureen Murdock, The Heroine’s Journey
I have always been a Get Shit Done kind of gal.
I started the practice of having a detailed day planner, and extensive to-do lists, at the age of eight.
I am the fucking MASTER of getting shit done. And being the master of getting shit done has gotten me really far in life. I’ve got an advanced degree, have traveled the world, started a business, and generally made All My Dreams Come True.
I, and everyone who gets shit done really well, get a LOT of positive feedback for this sort of #goalcrushing behaviour. After all, we live in a world that values accomplishment, goal-setting, and success stories.
A great many (many!) women approach me for coaching so I can help them Get Shit Done too. They have dreams of starting businesses and traveling the world and starting to write or paint or dance again.
They say they just need some clear goals. They need a to-do list. And they want accountability, which is their nice way of saying they want me to email them weekly and MOTIVATE THEM TO GET THEIR SHIT DONE!!!
I’ve been turning these women away, lately. I’m killer at setting goals and making to-do lists and MOTIVATING PEOPLE TO GET THEIR SHIT DONE, and I could probably make a tidy salary doing this.
But, I’ve learned, this stuff bores me to tears now.
What I find interesting is why we don’t get shit done.
What I find compelling is untangling what happens when we get in our own way. What deeply embedded stories about ourselves and our capabilities hold us back. What intuitions prevent us from moving in some directions and not others.
What I’m deeply curious about is what magic might happen when we are still, and why so many of us – myself included – are so desperately uncomfortable in that liminal space.
There is a place for getting shit done, to be sure. But most of us have focused so completely on that aspect of accomplishment and life, in general, that we ignore the time that’s needed
to compost old ideas and await the spring of new ones.
We hastily plaster a Get Shit Done Band-Aid on problems and processes that are far more complex than any to-do list can accommodate. We decide to start a daily writing practice and then beat ourselves up for not committing to it, forgetting to tend to deeply-held beliefs that creativity is frivolous, or that the laundry is more important. We decide to start businesses and lament the time it takes to earn a profit, forgetting to tend to the identity shift from employee to entrepreneur.
And even as I coach women to dive deeper than their to-do lists, I am learning to do the same, myself.
Many people say to me “I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you find the time.” I used to say “I just make the time. I just work really hard. I’m just REALLY organized.”
(yeah, I know: total jerk)
Now, I am finding that my creativity flows the strongest when I’ve spent more time with my kids, or in the forest, than when I spend time at my computer.
And then, of course, I forget all that and freak out about my to-do list.
It’s a process.
But it’s one I’m committed to allowing.
What about you? What’s your relationship to Getting Shit Done? Do you struggle with actualization? Or with finding time to rest and just be?