I sat down to my computer this morning feeling very overwhelmed.  Just with the usual things.  Work, motherhood, homeschooling, responsibilities, life, not feeling like there are enough hours in the day to get it all done the way I want to get it done.  My oldest daughter is still at her first slumber party, and I’m still grieving (since I dropped her off last night) over the little girl that she isn’t anymore, and the young lady that she is becoming.  I even took a picture of her before we were in front of her friends so I could commemorate the event.  She was still embarrassed.  Where does time go??  There’s times I can barely remember what they were like as a baby, and then there are these stark moments of remembrance, and feeling like it was just yesterday that I held them in my arms for the first time, tears streaming down my face with joy and wonder at the life we would experience together.  And now here we are, still in the young years, but feeling like we are on a freight train that is barreling through life, not slowing down for one moment.  Thanks, John Mayer, for the metaphor.

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It’s fitting that when I sat down, feeling all of these feelings, that I should look up the topic I scheduled for myself to write about for today.  And low and behold, it says “Balancing work and motherhood, 365”.  Well, I don’t feel like I’m balancing work and motherhood very well at all right now.  And I have been royally failing at my 365.  Like, King size royally failing.  So, the first thing I did was get off of my computer,  play a few games of Uno with my middle, get in a few minutes of snuggle time with my still sleeping hubby, enjoy a second cup of coffee whilst pondering the fun my oldest is having, and watch my youngest hang off my leg.  I needed to just calm down, be all in with my family, and feel grateful for it all so that I could erase that yucky “I suck at balancing” feeling.  Sometimes when I think I’m checking the block to overflow their cup with love, I realize that it’s really my cup being filled, too. Refreshing.  Gave me such a new perspective for this blog post.

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The morning reminded me of my very first (and still only) Connecting Things event I went to last November.  It was a chilly morning, I was feeling so nervous I wanted to barf all over my carefully picked outfit and one of my only pairs of “business” shoes, as I call them.  ( I own more “mom” shoes than “business” shoes these days).  My friend tells me that my barfing feeling is really just living.  So now I call them my barfy butterflies.  Because that sounds more palatable to me.  I’m barfing because I’m living!  Anyway, I’m on my way to Connecting Things, feeling barfy/alive because I’m hugely stepping out of my comfort zone, and into the arena, to go put my introverted self into a situation in which I must be social, and represent myself as a business person.  ACK! I feel afraid of that sometimes.  People looking at me like I’m a business person, and then laughing hysterically at me, pointing and saying “Who do you think you are?!?” But I digress.  I took the risk, and walked into the mob of people that come to these events.  I only talked to the people sitting in front of me, but that’s okay.  Baby steps, right?

So, the speaker at Connecting Things, Dane Sanders, wrote his speech to speak directly to me…and the hundreds of other creative entrepreneurs in the crowd.  You can watch it here.  It’s truly inspiring.  He talked about what it means to decide to be a BUSINESS OWNER, and how it’s attitudinal, you have to choose it.  I left owning my Business Owner title more proudly than I ever had.  And have been working on owning that ever since.  Dane said “Deciding to BE an owner is the most difficult part of becoming a creative entrepreneur.”  And I would totally agree.  The business end of this shindig has been at times excruciatingly painful, but it has also brought great joy and satisfaction.  And I have to learn to take each in stride with grace and humility, and continue to walk the path I know is right, even when it’s difficult or painful.  Because the joy and satisfaction always trumps the excruciating pain, if not makes it even more beautiful.

But my take away was this…  BE ALL IN.  In whatever you’re doing, in that moment.  Be all in.  Taking care of business?  Be all in.  Spending time with your kids?  Be all in.  Doing you?  Be all in.  Hanging with your man? Be all in.  Barfy butterflies?  Definitely be all in.  And when you feel like you can’t be all in?  Be all in.  It’s worth it.

My even bigger takeaway was the note I wrote myself when Dane talked about being “all in”…

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When I thought about why I’m really scared of being all in, I realized that when I’m not, I’m looking at everything from a birds eye view, making my lists of things I need to do to make myself feel like I accomplished something that makes me feel productive that day, or makes my life feel more organized and less chaotic.  The people in my life are not productivity tasks, so we have a problem there.  Furthermore, I shouldn’t be doing a bunch of things on a To Do list, just to feel productive, because truly at the end of the day, productivity doesn’t mean anything to me.  I end up thinking about all of the missed opportunities with my kids because of what I felt I needed to do instead.  Instead of just being ALL IN, wherever I’m at at the time, I spend time making lists so that I don’t have to be all in.  So I can check boxes, and maybe not feel that fear that I am not being productive in life.

Dane talked about lists, and said “Don’t create a To Do list, create a To Be list.”

Here’s mine:

  • Be a kind and loving person, to others and to myself
  • Be authentic, courageous and honest
  • Be the mom and wife I want to be
  • Be a person who makes a difference in the world
  • Be a BUSINESS OWNER
  • Be an artist
  • Be a creator
  • Be a mover and a shaker

So, onward and upward.  I stopped using the word “balance” in my life, and started practicing being all in, wherever I’m at.  Being all in to me means just normal, authentic me, doing my best at whatever I’m doing at the time, and trying to put my heart and soul into it.  Even when I don’t particularly enjoy what I’m doing.  And giving myself grace when I fail.  There’s growth in failure.

What’s YOUR To Be list??  I want to hear it!

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I have to be honest, I had barfy butterflies about posting this blog post.  Because it’s vulnerable and honest.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about being all in, it’s that you have to take risks, even when it feels uncomfortable (or barfy).  Full photographer’s disclosure:  No matter what you see displayed on websites or social media, it is not always possible to capture every meaningful moment in perfect lighting and composition.  Those shots are almost always set up, or stumbled on by coincidence.  Even photographers take photos that aren’t great in technique, but are still so meaningful!  When I’m using my iPhone, my photos are often if not almost always imperfect.  So to accompany a post of discomfort that is lacking in photos, here’s a real life look at some of my 365 photos I mentioned I’ve been failing at, sans any editing or filters, straight from the iPhone:

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Sisters <3  I just love them

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A little photo shoot set-up for Kaylan’s birthday.  You will NOT want to miss that blog post  😛

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She started her own business, Caring for Cleaning.  Some days she shows me up and teaches me what it means to choose: BUSINESS OWNER!

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Getting instructions from on of her customers…

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Out on the job, making herself proud!

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A little theater rehearsal…

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Baby Hulk resides here…No really.  She does.

If you’re wondering why some of my iPhone photos are smaller than others, I’ll be sharing some photo tips on the blog next week to help you with taking good quality photos from your phone!  It is possible!

Thanks for reading along and joining on my vulnerable journey of trying to live all in.  I’d love to hear about how you choose to live all in!

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