Let me ask you a question: how often do you answer "busy" to the question "How have you been?"
A lot? Or at least regularly? I spent years of my life (especially once I became a part of the corporate world) answering that question with: busy.
I wore my busy-ness as a badge of honor. I was proud of it. If I was busy then I was productive and successful.
How many of us measure even some part of our success by how busy we are? Or by how many projects we're juggling? Or even, sadly, by how little sleep we get?
Do you wear busyness as a badge of honor?
I’m over here raising my hand. Because I still fall into this trap. I still want to (and still do) answer that question with “busy,” out of habit.
And yet, busy-ness isn’t the test of success; at least, I don’t think it should be.
I am working toward changing my measure of success to the following: Am I making time for my family & friends? Am I building rest into my life? Am I creating space for joy, love, and curiosity?
Are you creating space for joy, love, and curiosity?
One of the most powerful tools in our human tool belt is language. When we are ready to make big shifts in our behavior and mindset we must start with language. And it is just as important to consider what we say to others as it is to consider what we say to ourselves.
We need to think about how it affects our children, friends, students, or loved ones when we wear that busy-ness as a badge of honor. We perpetuate the myth that busyness is the norm, that it is an important part of success & productivity, that it is aspirational. And all the while we devalue play, rest, and self care.
But we can be empowered to make a change, to be the leaders in this change, and make room for the good stuff: joy, love, curiosity, rest, self care, friends, family, and the list goes on and on.
Here is how we can start:
1. Answer thoughtfully & truthfully when asked "How are you?" but try to use words other than busy and the like.
2. Consider what words you use when "talking" to yourself, whether that be out loud or internally (I personally talk out loud to myself a LOT). Try to reframe "I'm so busy" thoughts & words with gratitude. "I'm busy because I've been blessed with close friends and family." Or "My schedule has filled up because my business is doing well."
3. Finally, going forward start to notice when others answer with "busy" to the common "how are you?" questions. When appropriate, consider empowering them to change their language, or send them my way! A rising tide lifts all boats - so remember to empower with kindness and love, not admonition.