To say that the last six weeks have ‘tested’ me would be akin to saying Mother Teresa lived a life of grace. Not that I’m comparing myself to Mother Teresa. Our commonalities might begin and end with our gender and our desire to bring charity to others. Especially this passed spring.
As I sit in bed writing you on my birthday (although you’ll likely be reading this several days after since I’m sick, my head hurts, and I’m pretty sure it will take me a few writing passes to sculpt all that is in my head and heart coherently), I’m struck by how much has transpired since my April trip to Costa Rica with my mastermind. And yet, as much as I am a sucker for a good epiphany, I’ve really struggled this spring to recognize what all the suffering is supposed to reveal. But hallelujah, I really am clear now.
To give a smidge of context, about midway through my flight from Costa Rica to Los Angeles, I began to feel my entire right arm go stiff. And then numb. And as I tried to distract myself by working on my laptop, pain started to shoot from my right shoulder into my right fingers. By the time I was driving home from the airport in Las Vegas, I started to experience pain in my right eye and the right side of my face began to feel like it was falling off. Within the next 72 hours, the rotating stiffness, shooting pain and numbness spread throughout the right side of my body and I struggled to walk, use my right arm, and at times even to see.
My primary care physician urged me to go the ER and within the next week different doctors conjectured I could be having a stroke, was suffering from MS, and that I had come home from Costa Rica with a parasite. After multiple doctors’ visits, a trip to the Cleveland Clinic, a CT scan, MRI, and 2 rounds of blood work, I was told I was “fine” sans two bulging discs.
That word has stuck with me the last couple of weeks.
To extend outward past the normal or usual limit.
In the last few weeks since my health scare, I have bulged further. Preparing and filming hours of content for this summer’s group coaching program, Your Spotlight Workshop. Redoing my primary AlexiaVernon.com website. Shepherding over a dozen women’s talks to TEDx and similar stages. A “vacation” to Maui. (And yes, the air quotes are intentional. Traveling with a toddler without your husband is more marathon than vacay, especially when a red-eye is involved.)
For the last four months, a couple of my mastermind sisters have been warning me, “Lex, you’ve got to slow down. You can’t sustain this pace.” And I’d say, “soon.” Laugh off their concern. And bulldoze forward.
Delude myself into thinking “fine” and “bulge” could coexist.
What I find most extraordinary is not that my physical health started to deteriorate this spring. Or that somehow, in the midst of it all, I honored every professional commitment (once even training for 7 hours in near blackness to avoid eye spasms). Or that after 1 hour of sleep post red-eye, I spent the next day in back-to-back coaching sessions and tech set-up for my biggest event of the year.
But rather, what I find shocking, really just ridiculous, it that it took a silly cold (which I’ve applied so much hand sanitizer, essential oil and even worn face masks to avoid – and have done so successfully for 16 months), to open my eyes to the truth of my recent situation.
Said cold has FINALLY enabled me to see that I can bulge. But [insert expletive of your choosing], I don’t want to anymore!
What I DO want is to slow the [insert same or new expletive of your choosing] down.
I want to create epic programs and lead transformation for my clients, but not recreate how I do that every few months. My stuff is amazeballs. I owe it to the world to keep promoting it, and re-launching it, rather than trying to be a one-woman liberal arts college.
I want to read dinosaur books with my daughter and not simultaneously be devising emails I have to craft as soon as the nanny comes, or she takes a nap.
I want to spend more time outdoors.
Take more baths with rose petals and bath salts.
Go on play dates with my friends.
Pray longer. And with less desperation.
And I want to think about the possibility of getting sick, my daughter waking up at 5 am or childcare plans falling through as inconveniences rather than insurmountable setbacks.
What I want, above all else, is to take back control of my time, shed my now chronic anxiety, and create the conditions for me to keep learning, growing and transforming.
I’ve spent a ton of time this spring downloading my 15+ years leading transformational live events into a hands-on virtual group coaching program with a Hawaii MasterTreat option (because, honestly, that’s one way to make sure I take a tropical vacation!). And despite espousing that leaders who want to create epic experiences for their audiences must carve out time to test, refine and then execute—I’ve put myself on a non-stop diet of shipping my work into the world.
No testing. No resting.
Too much defining. Very little refining.
Executing. Executing. Executing.
Did I mention I also have a new website?
I’m so silly.
I want to add value to the world.
I want my tribe to keep coming back to me for inspiration and training.
But really, did I need to refresh my website in the midst of my spring storm?
I was prepping to launch Your Spotlight Workshop early-July, but I ain’t doing it. Is the program ready to go? Just about. But there are a handful of people I’ve been itching to coach on their upcoming TEDx talks. And in order to say “yes” to them (and an even bigger “yes” to finding my own breathing space), I’m going to hit the pause button on YSW for a month so I can go sweat in the sun and help other people not sweat so much on stage.
(If you’ve got an upcoming talk you want my head and heart on, or you’ve been sniffing around the possibility of speaking mentorship, now really is your time. I’m taking on 3 more visionary clients in June, and then I’m 90 percent sure I’m not taking on anymore private clients in 2015.)
And in the meantime, if you are an ambitious, over-stretched, perfection-seeking, visionary leader (and I’m pretty sure if you’re on my list you are), I hope my ramblings have convinced you to pause, reflect on your own use of time and management of energy, and align your doing with your living.
And if you want to check out my new online home (there are still hiccups, I’m okay with that, for “live” is way better than “launch mode”), take a peak over at AlexiaVernon.com.
And…because with me there is ALWAYS an “and” (or two or twenty), if you have been itching to activate more of your transformational powers through leading live events, or you have been leading workshops, retreats or corporate trainings and they feel good but they aren’t epic, or they aren’t profitable, join the pre-party for Your Spotlight Workshop. Trust me, this is going to be my best jam yet, and I’m treating you to some beautiful pre-party scrumptiousness to work through as you burn some incense. Cuddle in bed with some Netflix. Or like me, create the space for both!
I’m raising a bottle of Kombucha to you and to me, and to the collective impact we’ll make when we choose quality over quantity. Breath over busy. Pausing over powering through.