I find myself constantly chasing more. Here’s the catch: I’m so burned out, I swear I can smell the fire. But the world will never tell you to slow down. You won’t get permission to stop. No one will respond to your big accomplishments with “do you really need to do that work?” or “do you feel burned out?”
No, people respond with congratulations. Pats on the back. Endorphin givers and quiet reminders that we live in this world of more – and if you’re not chasing it, you’re complacent.
Most of the messages we receive – whether they are intentional or not – tell us to work harder when things don’t feel quite right: to add more structure, to become more rigorous. But when do you heal if you never slow down? When do you recover if you never rest? When can we create if we never have time to breathe?
I thought moving into the van would make life feel slower. Easier. I’d have this effortless flow between vacation and work. I’d feel rested. Write all the time.
Instead, I feel more hustle. On top of a busy job, I have to plan my next stop. Vehicle maintenance. Find places to go, things to do. Grocery shop three times a week because I have a fridge that can barely fit a big bottle of ketchup in it, let alone backup food.
When I’m not busy every second, there’s some part of me that thinks I’m missing something. I did something wrong and I’m not working hard enough. I’m lost. My mind starts to whisper that I’m lazy. Behind.
But you and I both know we can’t be lost. You might feel lost, but somehow you always figure out that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Here’s the other truth no one will tell you: you can’t miss out on what is for you. There’s no version of you out there living some perfect life where they made all the right decisions and hit it big while you’re the off-brand version. No, you are the only version of you and you’re right where you’re supposed to be.
In nature, we don’t complain that a flower isn’t ready to bloom. We know to be patient with it. We know it will come. Why don’t we treat our lives that way? Why do we insist on controlling everything to achieve something every moment when in reality nature is preparing us to bloom?
We have a season for growing in our career and a season for rest. A season for recovering from heartbreak and we have a season for love. A season for getting rid of everything and moving into a van, apparently. All of these seasons preparing us for the next one.
So if you’re waiting for permission, I’ll be the one. You need to rest. You’re not missing out. Be patient with yourself. Be kind. Treat you like someone you like and when you smell the smoke, it’s time to slow down.
Are you rested yet? Note sarcasm. That’s a joke. I know it’s not that simple but you should also know this: if you have faith in nothing else, have faith in seasons and your gut. Let whatever you believe guided you here be your guide into whatever crazy beautiful thing is waiting for you. Don’t rush. You’re not lazy and waiting for the next thing, you’re waiting for your season to be in bloom.
PS: We’re also overdue for education on pronouns at the leadership level. Why is it just a part of Pride and not part of your onboarding? What’s the impact outside of your community on this kind of education? That and more in this week’s blog post.
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.