I Let Myself Have the Reward First

May 22, 2021

My to-do list was missing happiness

I jumped on the Zoom call, to meet with my small group. My business coaching program, MasterHeart with George Kao, has us check in regularly to reaccess and net-care. (George taught us the concept of caring for our peers and clients, rather than ‘network’ them.) It was time for a check-in.

The four of us took turns sharing our struggles and successes. I shared my depletion at attempting to write, video, post, share, respond, reflect, collaborate, all while launching classes, finishing my book, and attempting to keep up with my self-care; napping, qigong, walking, cooking, cleaning, meditation, friends, etc. My teammates all nodded their heads emphatically.

Sophie, a solopreneur who lives in Cambridge U.K. shared,

“I used to say, if I finish all my work, THEN I would reward myself by walking down to the river for a swim. Swimming makes me so happy. But I realized, I was never getting all my work done, so I wasn’t swimming. Then I shifted my schedule, and now walking to the river for a swim is the FIRST thing I do in the morning.”

It surprised me to feel tears roll down my face. I had tried to get to the river three times already in the last six days, and I kept running out of time. I didn’t realize how sad this was making me.

The next morning, sipping my coffee as I looked at my schedule, I saw my usual menu: write, edit a video, publish, post, book appointments, and either work on my website, or my youtube, either my Insta or my Facebook business page.

My day felt heavy in front of me, but then I remembered the river! I grabbed my snorkel, put on my suit, and got myself to the Ichetucknee Springs. Going to the river became top priority on my list.

Selfie at the Springs — Tia Ma

In western culture, we use our favorite things to reward ourselves after hard work. But often, our to-do list never shrinks enough to feel we deserve a treat. What if we shift that up? What if we give ourselves our favorite thing FIRST to be charged up to do the rest of our day?

I ended up having the springs to myself — which is a rare treat. The wind was fierce and helped my head clear. The spring water made me feel absolutely blessed, healthy, wealthy. It reminded me of why I’m my own boss! It reminded me if I believe in spiritual living, spiritual business practices, and self-care as a priority, I have GOT to schedule it in. Not as a bonus, or a fringe benefit, but as the main entree.

Driving home, I made every green light on the 50-minute drive, listened to some of my favorite songs, and found I couldn’t stop smiling. My to-do list was the same as when I left, but I was clear-headed and had the energy to get to it.