“...chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away.”
Heal Your Inner Martha Part 5 of 5: Decision & Permission
Receive More by Doing Less
High-performing women are some of the busiest people on the planet.
There are so many things to do and so little time.
Maybe you can relate to this –
- You feel pulled is so many directions that there’s no opportunity to reflect or focus
- You feel like your life has become one big long to-do list
- You are so on-the-go that you’ve lost sight of where you’re going
- You wish you could feel present instead of constantly rushed
Many high-performing women have been conditioned to believe that our value is determined by what we achieve.
Despite this being false, this fear-based lie drives our behaviors – and leads us to burnout.
But what if being busy and stressed is causing you to miss the point, and miss your true purpose?
What if living a meaningful, impactful life requires that you do less, not more?
What if you’re making it harder than it has to be, and are getting in your own way?
What if having the energy you need to live your purpose happened with ease, focus, and flow instead of stress, resentment, and exhaustion?
Would that feel weird? Would you feel guilty?
Do you even know who you would be without the “I’m so busy,” and “I’m exhausted” badges of honor?
Turns out, doing less is the path to receiving more.
You don’t work yourself to death so that you can rest.
You live rested so that you can do great work.
You just have to decide…and then defend that decision.
Beat Burnout and Heal Your Inner Martha Concept 5: Decision & Permission
There’s a well-known Bible story in which two sisters are contrasted.
One sister, Martha, needs a Health Detective. Martha’s patterns of behavior and expressed emotions indicate that she is on her way to burnout, if she isn’t there already.
This story shows us five elements with important lessons for beating burnout:
5 – Decision & permission
Let’s take a look at the story of Mary and Martha:
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.
She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’
‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:38-42
Choosing What is Better: Mary’s Example & Martha’s Resentment
Mary provides the perfect contrasting character in this story. Unlike her sister Martha, Mary is not irritated, stressed, resentful, or angry. She is calm, focused, and gives her full attention to the most important thing instead of dividing her attention between multiple things.
Mary is clearly receiving more. And she is doing a LOT less.
But Mary has a subtle superpower that is key: she is ignoring Martha.
Have you ever been around someone whose stress is palpable? Like you can feel it radiating off of them? It’s hard to ignore. It affects the atmosphere in the whole space.
Maybe you have been the person whose stress is palpable. I know that I have.
No doubt Mary has noticed her sister’s frustration. She can hear Martha bustling in the kitchen. She can tell that Martha is annoyed with her. She can hear Martha angrily telling Jesus to make Mary help her.
And yet, she is unphased. She has complete confidence that she is choosing wisely. She has strong boundaries around her time, energy, and attention.
She knows that she is receiving more by doing less.
Defending What is Better - Martha’s Resentment
Martha is attempting to overstep Mary’s boundaries and make her do what Mary doesn’t want to do.
She is attempting to guilt Mary into participating in Martha’s drama.
She doesn’t understand that, to receive more, she needs to do less.
This is what people who do not have boundaries do: they attempt to overstep yours.
This is what people who do not have strong convictions about their priorities do: they attempt to pull you into their drama of over-obligation, resentment, and exhaustion.
This is what people who don’t understand doing less to receive more do: they criticize, rage against, and resent you.
Decision & Permission
When you make the decision to…
- Stop being driven by “should”
- Start living aligned with your purpose
- Let go of over-obligation (and over-obligation-induced resentment)
- Take responsibility
- Choose to focus on one thing, and one thing at a time
- Live in alignment with your values and priorities
…there are people who will attempt to stop you.
Once you become Mary, the Marthas of the world will criticize, resent, and attempt to derail you.
Choosing what is better for your health and happiness will require discipline, continuous commitment, on-going learning, and support.
The world will attempt to take away your permission to choose what is better.
Like Mary, you have the strength to ignore these attempts.
This is why it is so important to connect with a coach who can guide you and a community that will support you.
Once you choose what is better, it will only be taken away from you if you allow yourself to get sucked back into Martha-type patterns of thinking, feeling, and choosing.
Once you choose what is better, you may feel compassion for the Marthas who are over-obligated, distracted, and missing out on the alignment and meaning you are experiencing.
Feelings are Physical - and Addictive
A common misconception is that our feelings are separate from our bodies – that our feelings and our health are different and unrelated.
Nope. Feelings are actually physical.
What you feel becomes how you feel.
In his book, Personality Isn’t Permanent, which I highly recommend, Dr. Benjamin Hardy states that, “…we tend to think of emotions as abstract, residing only in our minds. They are not. Emotions are physical.”
He goes on to describe that…
“Emotions… have physical markers in your body. According to molecular biologist and neuroscientist Dr. Candace Pert, the surfaces of every cell throughout the body are lined with ‘receptors’ that receive messages through neuropeptides, which are small protein molecules that relay information throughout the body and the brain. Dr. Pert calls these peptides the ‘molecules of emotion,’ explaining that the information relayed throughout our brain and body is emotions.
In other words, the information relayed throughout the brain and the body are emotional in nature. That information – the emotional content – becomes the body.”
What you feel becomes what you are.
Further, emotions have corresponding biochemistry.
The performance-enhancing chemical cocktail of stress-induced cortisol, adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine is highly addictive.
Stress, anger, and resentment all cause the body to release these stress-response chemicals.
As you are letting go of stress, anger, and resentment, your body and mind will actually miss them.
Feelings of calm, focus, peace, and joy also have corresponding biochemistry.
For a recovering “Martha,” this biochemistry will be unfamiliar.
The body craves what is familiar. As such, there will be a transition period – a chemical detox – during which physiological changes will challenge your commitment to creating change.
Having a coach who can guide you through these physical, mental, and emotional changes, and a community to support you as you evolve, will be critical to your success.
The Difference for this “Martha” \
My Alignment Coaching client Stella is the Senior VP of Operations at a large, nationwide chain of fitness centers.
As she is becoming aware of and choosing what is aligned for her, she has experienced pushback from the people around her.
She keeps getting pulled back into what she let go of, and is still susceptible to the influence of other Marthas, who are frustrated with her new boundaries.
She has been the Martha frustrated with the Marys – irritated with teammates doing things like actually taking their time off and shutting their laptops down at reasonable times.
Now, with a greater sense of self-awareness, stronger boundaries, and greater alignment, she is feeling the pressure to make choices that will spiral her back into burnout.
We are focused on choosing that which is in alignment with her goals, values, strengths, and sense of meaning, and she is making tremendous progress.
Heal Your Inner Martha
I want you to have the energy you need to be fully present and live your purpose.
Beating burnout and restoring your energy will require your willingness to put boundaries in place, to choose what is better, and to ignore the people in your life who attempt to pull you back into burnout.
Here are some recommendations for healing your inner Martha and choosing what is better – so that it will not be taken from you:
1 – I highly recommend these two books:
- John Townsend and Henry Cloud’s book, Boundaries.
- Dr. Benjamin Hardy’s book, Personality Isn’t Permanent.
2 – Observe the people in your life who do not support you choosing what is better. Be clear with them about your boundaries…and ignore them when necessary. You might also consider whether they need to be in your life at all.
3 – Create an environment in which you have the ability to choose what is better. This includes surrounding yourself with a supportive community that shares your values and understands your priorities.
Questions for reflection, beating burnout, and healing your inner Martha:
What are some of the ways in which you can receive more by doing less?
How does the concept of doing less to receive more make you feel? What resistance comes up for you in your thoughts and feelings?
What tasks on your to-do list are there only because of fear-based obligation? What tasks are draining your energy and distracting you from what is truly important? What action can you take to stop doing these tasks?
When you choose what is better, what steps will you take to prevent yourself from falling back into “Martha” patterns of thinking, feeling, and choosing? How will you set yourself up for success?
Alignment Coaching: Healing, Aligning, Thriving
Are you a driven, high-performing, health-minded woman who is tired all the time, looking to transform exhaustion into energy, so that you can be fully present and optimally productive?
Are you seeking deeper self-understanding so that you can live aligned with your values, achieve your potential, be fully present, and optimally productive?
If you want to crush it at life but don’t have the physical symptoms of exhaustion that lend themselves to functional lab testing, then the Alignment Transformation program is for you.
Alignment Transformation coaching gives you insight into how to create an environment in which you can truly thrive, based on your unique talents, skills, needs, and personality.
So that you can have the energy you need to live your purpose, you will…
- Develop a deeper self-understanding in the areas of your interests, passions, talents, skills, and goals, as well as your limiting beliefs, mental models, triggers, and past-trauma-responses.
- Identify the sources of energy-draining, dysfunctional stress in your life and build an action plan for addressing and overcoming those exhaustion-inducers.
- Learn how to set the conditions for your energy, success, presence, and productivity.
- Learn how to proactively listen to your body, providing you practical strategies to support the way you want to feel.
- Connect with a community of other high-performing women so you feel supported throughout and beyond the transformation of your personal alignment.
Stop missing your life! Set the conditions for success by aligning with your goals, purpose, vision and values, so that you can have the energy you need to be optimally productive and fully present.
If you are ready to live aligned and transform your energy so that you can stop missing your life, then click here to set up a Decision Call with Laura! Schedule a Coaching Program Decision Call!
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