No episode this week. I decided to take the week off because I realised I was treating myself like a robot, expecting myself to produce an episode despite how confused and exhausted I felt from traveling across the world.
I’d traveled from Berlin to Perth, having spent three years away from Perth and then coming back and expecting myself to hit the ground running and edit a full podcast this week. No worries, just pump it out like nothing had happened, like it was just another normal week.
On my way back to Perth I landed in Melbourne, and somehow I managed to get an episode out, with no computer, no real place to record and a host of feelings swirling around inside me about why I’d come back to Australia. I was exhausted, both emotionally and physically, and yet I ‘pushed through‘ all of that and got an episode out – 007: Perfectionism is Selfish.
This week I landed in Perth and again I was flooded with questions, feelings and doubts about what I was doing here.
I knew it was probably normal to be experiencing these things, but to say it wasn’t intense and not affecting me at all would’ve be a complete lie – but that’s kind of what I did.
The Inner Conflict – Treating Myself Like a Friend vs Treating Myself Like a Robot
Every time I came to edit this week’s episode I just couldn’t do it. My body and mind needed to rest, but there was another part of me saying I needed to work.
Here are some of the thoughts that were going on inside me:
“Yeah cool, this is intense, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t produce this week’s episode.”
“I can’t back out now. If I do that then people will be like, ‘hey, what the heck Ben! You said you would have a podcast up and it’s not here. That’s unacceptable. We’re mad now and we don’t like you.'”
“If you let these uncomfortable feelings stop you from making an episode this week, then it’s the beginning of the end. You can’t wait to feel good to make an episode, if you do that then you’ll never put anything out again.”
“If you stop putting episodes out on a weekly basis you’ll break your streak and won’t be able to get back into producing regular content. You’ll get lazy, and you’ll abandon this project just like all the others you’ve abandoned and never returned to.”
So as you can see these thoughts aren’t really that compassionate in regards to the exhaustion and confusion I was feeling after having returned from a big trip. These thoughts are all about working, working, working and justifying why I shouldn’t be taking a break.
I think it’s clear that by looking at these thoughts, there’s a part of me that thinks it’s more important to be working than to be treating myself with compassion and kindness.
The Turning Point – Giving Myself A Break
I was online and Simon Höfer – my friend and the guest of the ‘now-next-week’s episode!’ – came online and asked me how I was going with the interview.
I said, ‘Hey man, I’ve just gotten back to Perth and my head is all over the place. I’m having trouble editing it right now.’
And he said, ‘Oh I completely understand that. This would be a crazy time for you.’
And when he said that I realised, ‘Yes, this is a crazy time for me.’
It brought me back to the reality of how I was feeling.
Simon also said, ‘You need to treat yourself like a friend.’
And when I heard that, I knew immediately that this is what I needed. There was a part of me that screamed, ‘Yes! Give yourself a break!’
As soon as I decided to take this week off to rest, a great sense of relief washed over me. I felt freer and way more relaxed, and I’ve been able to enjoy the things I’ve done more fully because I’d given myself explicit permission to not do any work this week.
I’m Still Finding My Balance
It’s funny, I’ve already produced a few episodes which talk exactly about treating yourself with compassion, namely – 006: The Self Relationship – and I know it’s the right thing to do. But clearly, knowing it’s the right thing to do doesn’t mean I’m an expert-advanced-masterclass-professional at it.
But I’ve found that every time I become aware of a conflict going on inside of me, I’m able to identify it sooner the next time it shows up, because now I know what it feels like, and I’m more aware of the situations it could arise in. And after a while I’ll become more and more aware of when I’m not treating myself like a friend and be able to take positive action sooner, before I struggle through a whole bunch of inner-turmoil and burn myself out.
I’m still very much finding my balance with working hard (producing content on a regular basis) and treating myself compassionately the same way I would treat a friend who was in need of a break.
How Do You Do It?
Have you got any tips for producing content regularly while still remaining compassionate and connected to how you’re feeling? I’d love to hear from you.