All of a sudden, I’m finding it hard to write about this topic. I am surprised. I guess I feel blocked. For as long as I could remember, I’ve seen myself as a person who has discipline both in my personal life and my work. Five years ago my life changed. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I now live with fatigue. This fatigue impacts all aspects of my life including my ability to work a “normal” work day. On a good day I can manage working a 3 to 4 hour stretch. I was self-employed before my diagnoses so I’m grateful I can work from home.
As I share my experience with you I can feel my energy drop. I guess writing about this blog piece is much harder than I expected. It brings up feelings of shame and sadness.
I used to work 10 hours days and be fine. Not that I want to live my life like that any longer, but the reality is that even if I wanted to, it is no longer an option.
I’m learning, I say learning because I’ve not yet been able to master not beat myself up or calling myself lazy because I work less and accomplish less most days than I wish I could.
It’s hard to be a motivated, goal oriented person and just not get to the finish line as fast as I used to.
It is painful for me to completely let go of my past abilities and fully accept my current life situation. Sure, if I had a pile so money, maybe I would worry about supporting myself but I think there would still be a longing to do something meaningful in my life. Something where I feel I am contributing to society. Something that I feel helps other people and brings relief, understanding, care, and resonates with others.
So, right now I’m starting redefining many “labels” that once defined who I am and how I operated in the world. One of those labels I am discipline.
These days, discipline is not only tied in with my work and personal goals, it’s tied in with what I need to do to take care of myself.
I am discipline about shaping each day so there is time to take a nap. Taking a daily nap is essential to my well-being that it is pretty much a non-negotiable.
I am discipline about allowing myself to change my course of action during the day if I am struggling to have the energy to function or feel physically uncomfortable.
I am discipline about hydrating myself by drinking ample water throughout my day.
I am discipline about working less than 5 days a week unless I have a project I am really pumped up about.
I am discipline about sitting down at my computer and getting work done even if it’s only a few hours a day.
I am somewhat discipline about doing a daily spiritual practice, yet I give myself permission to skip a day or two.
I am discipline about having down time so I can enjoy my life beyond work. If I put all my energy into my work then there would be nothing left for all the other parts of me.
I am discipline about allowing myself to say “no” to something I committed to, even if I feel I really won’t manage it. At the same time, if I am really struggling, I am discipline and determined to keep my commitment to doing speaking engagements. I will show up and do my best and then go home or to my hotel room and collapse. This is one area of my life I want to continue to say yes to even under difficult circumstances because it feeds my soul.
Today I woke up with stomach issues and a headache I know these things will pass at some point so I allow them to be there. I acknowledge them and then ease my way out of bed and ask myself, what is the first think I’m going to do today that will help me to feel good about myself and my day.
Today, it’s writing this blog post on redefining discipline.
If your life has changed and you have struggled to find your new normal, you are not alone. I imagine you are dealing with redefining what discipline looks like for you too.
There are so many of us in the world that are faced with a huge change to our life situation that has impacted us on so many levels – trying to navigate big life changes and find our way.