I'm what they call a solopreneur. I have multiple passion projects, including mental health advocacy, podcasting, blogging, and building a speaking and coaching business. Trying to balance them with family life while continuing to be a good caretaker of my own soul is often a struggle. My wife reminds me that I'm "all or nothing." And she's right. My personality and energy levels tend to work in extremes. It requires a great deal of intentionality for me to hold onto focus and calm, remaining centered when life is crazy.
I started writing the first draft of my upcoming book, Catching Your Breath, in November of 2017. After multiple rewrites and edits, plus completing a successful Kickstarter campaign and building a launch group, my soul felt depleted. I was stressed, anxious, and desperate to find some inner peace.
I started wearing thin in April, and by the end of May, I knew it was time to take a break. I wrestled with the idea for a while because my business was really gaining traction. To put my passions on hiatus seemed less than ideal.
But one of the most important lessons I've learned in nearly six years of recovery from a suicide attempt is this: who I am matters more than what I do. If I have all the success in the world, but lose my sense of calm, become disconnected from my true self, and forget to keep my family and marriage in their rightful place - it's worth nothing.
If you're looking for 3 reasons to take a break when life is crazy, here's what I learned after taking a month off:
1. I'm a human.
More specifically - I'm an extroverted introvert. As such, I require regular doses of non-religious Sabbath if I want to hold onto my sanity and serenity.
I'm not a robot or an algorithm. I'm not a spreadsheet or superhero or savior of the whole damn world. My name is Steve, not Jesus Christ or Clark Kent. I wasn't born with a cape or a cross on my back.
I'm a human: that’s a cause for celebration and a call for radical grace. Humaning ain’t easy.
2. Becoming intentionally quiet is hard work. It's easy to fill our sacred stillness with new kinds of busyness.
Busyness comes in all shapes and sizes. I took a break from my blog, podcast, and newsletter for a month. But I watched more television than I usually would, and I traveled three times in the past month for work.
That doesn't sound very Sabbath-y, does it?
Intentional rest requires constant mindfulness about how we're spending our newly cultivated free time.
3. I love my work. But that's not where I find my worth.
I love to blog. My podcast makes me feel like I'm making a difference. And my free weekly newsletter is a connection point for my tribe and me. But because I'm a hustler, it's great to take a break from those things on a regular basis, to remind myself that my worth doesn't come from what I do.
Taking a break from my passion projects gave me a full month to step away from the sin of comparison. These days, countless people struggle with the idea of what a "perfect life" should look like. We’re cursed by social media. We are wearing ourselves out, trying to keep up with the Joneses (this is why I no longer have a personal Facebook page or Instagram). We are comparing our insides to everyone else's outsides and we're intimidated by the illusion of success and happiness that other people present.
In case no one has told you lately: you are worthy. Not because of what you do. Or what you stopped doing. Not because of who your parents are, or how smart and talented your children may be. You are not worthy because of one external thing. Your worth is found in who you are, and Who created you.
You are worthy.
If you're feeling worn thin, exhausted, burned out, and lacking motivation, consider this your big ass permission slip: take a break.
I spoke recently at Unity of Chattanooga on a similar topic. Check it out here:
I am Steve Austin. As you check out my site, my goal is to encourage you to do things like: silence your inner critic, cultivate a lifestyle of self-care, and recover from whatever has wounded you. Fear, shame, and guilt have permeated our culture for far too long. It's time to be embraced by Divine love, exactly as you are.