What I Learned From My Digital Detox

shutterstock_220489903For years, I’ve been recommending that my clients take daily breaks from online activities– often for as long as three hours a day if they can swing it.

And indeed, daily breaks from the phone have been a practice of mine for as long as I can remember. I know and understand the benefits.

Until last week, however, I’d never done a full-on digital detox– meaning no social media whatsoever– of any serious and/or challenging length.

(And trust me, when you run a digital business (or two), it’s awfully hard to imagine unplugging from what often feels like your professional and financial lifeline by doing this. Fear is often a good justifier/excuse for not doing what you know needs to be done.)

Last week, however, I hit a breaking point.

A coach I’ve been working with– because even the best coaches need coaches themselves; this is the first one I’ve worked with for my own betterment in a while– saw that I was near a breaking point in terms of how hard I’d been pushing myself, the stress I was under, and the almost unbearable effects it was having on my physical and mental well-being.

(Not that my health care and personal wellness professionals hadn’t been pointing to the same thing for months. They had. I just didn’t listen).

By mid-last week, I was feeling truly awful in a number of very significant ways.

And so my coach ordered me, in no uncertain terms, on to a 48 hour digital detox.

“But what about x deadline, y newsletter, all this usual stuff I do all by myself, every week, with no help? Those things have to fire to social media, and if I don’t do them, I’ll be letting everyone down.”

“Nothing that you are doing,” she said to me, “can’t wait a few days.”

And so, at the instruction of my coach, in addition to 48 hours of digital detox, I also offloaded anything work-related, digital or not, that didn’t feel easeful or like an invitation, for the next three plus days.

Perhaps if I hadn’t been feeling so terrible, I would have ignored these instructions, as I had ignored others so many times before. But this time, I did not.

And let me tell you, after 48 full-on hours off digital, and three-plus full days not working, the things I learned were profound.

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How to Make Big, Fat, Scary Decisions, Fearlessly

shutterstock_157129676In my private coaching work, I’m often confronted by clients who, when faced with a major decision like a job change, a relocation, or even a marriage proposal, freeze like a deer in the headlights.

I get this. I’ve been there myself.

Many of us worry that we will make the wrong decision, and that the consequences will then be too high.

Others of us have past experience with making choices that didn’t work out, and as a result now don’t trust ourselves to make the right one.

So how do you overcome the paralysis of a tough decision when the right answer isn’t immediately obvious? Here’s the advice I give to my clients all the time.

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What’s Your Plan?

photo (9)Today is the first day of the second quarter of 2015. That means it’s time to talk about one of my favorite topics: planning.

Why? Well, the answer has something to do with practicality.

Right around January 1, we’re all always hopped up on the start of a new year, the hope of succeeding at our New Year’s Resolutions, and the gift of annual inspiration that comes along for the ride.

By April 1, however, many of those New Year’s Resolutions may have tanked, our financial planning may have gotten a little hinky, and we’ve faced some unexpected challenges that life always brings.

That’s why I love retackling my goals at the start of the second quarter. It’s a more practical, grounded time to look at your goals, and simultaneously a great time for growth– the perfect time to set a revised and detailed plan for the upcoming 3, 6 and 9 months.

As a result, for the past week, I’ve been engaged in some serious updated planning for the next quarter and beyond. Here’s the steps I’ve taken that you too can follow to complete an ideal quarterly review.

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Become the Conqueror of Your Own Life

empire_0The last few weeks have been a time of great transition in my own life and the lives of many of my clients.

In the last week alone, I had a long-time working relationship unexpectedly come to an end, my family began preparing to move, my daughter turned three, and my family faced a number of personal challenges at home.

There are times when everything seems up in the air, in crisis, and demanding of our attention, and this is one of them.

My process for dealing with this past week has involved some tears, a fair amount of wine, and a bit of zoning out in front of the TV– including and especially the new TV show Empire– before beginning to ground myself in the tenets by which I live my life.

But before I get to those, a little interlude on Empire.

In a recent episode, one of the sons who is an heir to the show’s music dynasty came out of the closet, after a huge amount of conflict with his father.

As a way of recovering and honoring that moment, he then recorded a beautiful duet with another artist about what it takes to overcome adversity and rise.

It was a powerful moment that left me in tears the first time I saw it, and the song that has been on replay non-stop on my iPhone ever since.

The title of that song? Conqueror.

And as you’ll note below, I’m embedding the clip of that moment in today’s post as a powerful testament to what it takes to rise in the face of failure, and continue onward in the face of change.

Through my own recent transitions, the song has inspired me to ask of myself and of others in recent days:

What does it mean to be the Conqueror of your own life?

Here’s what it means to me.

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