Important Public Service Announcement: Hard Work is a Waste of Time

by Amy on May 14, 2014

Amy yoga

I nailed a toe stand this morning… My 3 year old captured it on camera. Impressive since getting this shot was a little like trying to snap a group photo of 3 kids on Easter Sunday.

In the old days I would run five miles at a time or hit the gym for a near torturous hour of bootcamp.

But nowadays it’s 15 minutes of yoga.

It’s so easy to do and it feels sooooo good.

Giving myself the gift of a good stretch every day for an easy 15 minutes feels so nice after all those burpies that I don’t really mind falling backwards trying to attempt a headstand or forwards trying to balance in half moon.

The old me would have somehow managed to make the serene practice of yoga into a competitive sport. If I wasn’t “the best” then I just didn’t make the team.

It’s no surprise that when I started my coaching practice and embarked on my journey as an entrepreneur 6 years ago, I wanted it ALL and I wanted it NOW.

I spent tens of thousands of dollars on courses and programs hoping to find THE silver bullet that would get me results STAT.

I was desperate for the quick fix, like a brand new yogini who can’t even touch her toes, I wanted to nail a side crane.

I thought results came fast if I just put in enough hard work. And if they didn’t? Well, I clearly wasn’t cut out for the job.

In those days I held myself hostage to results.

Until I could call myself a “successful” business owner, I wasn’t allowed to feel proud of myself.

Unless I could master Revolved Upright Big Toe Hold, I wasn’t a “real” yogini.

You get the idea…

I was sitting there impatiently flipping through magazines in a “waiting room” I had created in my mind. The present moment was nothing more than a means to an end — for working hard so I could earn my reward.

And somewhere along the way I realized something…

It wasn’t working.

My business was an “expensive hobby.” I was the laughing stock of my husband’s accountant. Hour long bootcamp workouts were putting me in a near catatonic state by lunchtime.

(Oh and I wasn’t having much fun.)

So in an act of complete submission, I stopped thinking about my To Do List as a means to an end and I started to think about the things I do as a way to Actually Enjoy the Moment (gasp!).

I got pretty militant about it. “Brazen” you might say…

This is how I talk to myself these days:

Hey wanna go to that networking event tonight?
Do I have to talk to people and stay out past 8 o’clock? Forget it.

The sun is out. How about a five-mile run?
I think I will try that today. But I might stop for ice cream along the way.

What feels better, writing a blog post or formatting a sales page?
Writing a blog post duh. There are people I can pay to do that other shit.

How does 7 minutes of bootcamp sound?
Oddly energizing! Okay!

How about an hour of bootcamp today?
I’d rather be folding underwear. Don’t bring that up again.

How about taking the day to work on your book?
Not.

How about taking 20 minutes to work on your book.?
I can do ANYTHING for 20 minutes. You’ve got a deal.

The crazy, magical thing about this approach?

You get results.

Radical ones. That just kind of sneak up on you.

This is me imperfectly balanced in a binded half moon (notice I am not even phased by cat sniffing of the fingers).

Amy yoga with cat

Here’s a 3 Step Process to Achieve Radical Results by Doing What’s Easy:

1. Get Your Ass Out of the “Waiting Room!”

You have got to stop using results as a way to justify your existence. [Tweet that!]  Claim your right to Just. Be. Enough. AS IS. Repeat after me: “I have nothing to prove. I am enough. I have a right to be happy now. Amy Pearson is brilliant (this part is optional).” Go write it on a note card.

2. Enough with the Protestant Ethic.

If you think that “hard work” is the only way to get results than I’ve got news for you… You’ll do nothing but work really hard your whole life and you probably won’t be much fun to talk to at networking events. That’s cool but it’s not the only way to get results. So if you want to actually enjoy yourself while achieving results you have to start believing in that as a possibility.

3. Choose Your Goals Wisely and Have Fun.

Figure out what you really want for YOU and not because you’re good at it (You’re good at a lot of things! It’s no reason to actually do that crap) or because it will impress your sister (trust me this will never work). Once you know what YOU actually want (half the battle) figure out how to have fun getting there. Delegate the shizzle out of any task required that doesn’t feel good.

That’s it!

Namaste.

Joy yoga

What’s one way that you make things harder than they have to be in business and life? Share your story in the comments below!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Elisia May 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm

You are amazing, Amy. Inside and out. So inspired by you and grateful to have you in my corner. Love, love, love this very “timely” post. 🙂 xoxo

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Amy May 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Thank you Elisia! It is such a huge honor to be in your orbit. So excited about the work you are doing.

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Janet McLellan May 15, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Erm…. never asking for help and assuming because I landed myself a single parent it’s all my responsibility and I have to be very responsible all the time or the sky will fall!! Oh and how about if I try ever so hard my business doing massage and reiki will be successful and I won’t actually scare folk away with the intensity of my furrowed eyebrows?? Lol yeah I’m learning……. Love & thanks….. Janet x

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Amy May 16, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Oh Janet! I get it. I double dog dare you to ask for some HELP mama. Give it a try and see if the sky stays intact. You can do this. xoxo

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Daggi May 15, 2014 at 2:18 pm

And another nice reminder …. Thank you!
FYI I am typing this with my toes while doing the pigeon pose…and it rhymes

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Amy May 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm

LOL Daggi! That is very impressive. I’ll have to try that one today!

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David Durand, M.D. May 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Amy – Love the way you challenge the commonly held beliefs that make people miserable until they realize “I don’t have to be miserable!” The mind can either bind you or free you. There is great freedom in your article.

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Amy May 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm

The mind can even bind you are free you. Like a binded half moon! Love it David. Thanks for the comment. xoxo

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Linda Ursin May 15, 2014 at 5:05 pm

One way I’ve made my life and business a lot harder than it needs to be for a loooong time, is hanging on to a failed marriage. I’m taking steps to fix that part.

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Amy May 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm

That’s a BIG one to turn towards Linda. You are so brave. I am sending you so much love and light.

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Dena DeCastro May 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Amy, I loved this post! I read it today as I was avoiding working on my novel. (ahem). But what I realized is, hey, I’ve been working on my novel for like a half hour already, and maybe it’s okay to take a break?

One way I make things harder on myself than they need to be is when I get into “all or nothing” thinking about how much time I have to put into my work as a creative writer. I say: “I must put in 3 hours today or I might as well just clean the house if I can’t put in that time…” So, my house gets very clean as I avoid writing.

I would say it’s so important to take 20 minutes or whatever little chunk of time to work on what’s important to you. You might want to go longer, you might not. But at least it is progress.

xoxo You are brilliant!
Dena

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Linda May 18, 2014 at 3:56 am

I have been seriously thinking about trying yoga recently. “thought” about it quite a bit the last two days and then your post arrived. I have fibromyalgia and I know that yoga would be very helpful. Of course I want to be perfect immediately in spite of all the work I have done in that area. I like the idea of having fun on the journey. I would have called it the Midwest German ethic rather than protestant. I’m married to someone of German background but I grew up in the mid-west with a mother from England. The mid-west made its mark even if I have spent 27 years in Arizona. Thanks for making me aware of this limiting belief that I have. Your poses are amazing to me.

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