Driven to Distraction

This happens to me all the time. I know I have a million things to do. Blog posts to catch up on, calls to make, laundry to do and a business to run. The list is endless. I have big goals and only a finite mount of time to make it happen. Why then do I choose that time to plop myself in front of the TV and catch up on two seasons of The Blacklist. Or decide that I need to go through my friend list on Facebook. Distraction.

My definition of a distraction is anything that takes you away from your higher purpose, anything that you put more value in (even for a short time) than the greater goal. For me distraction comes in the form of isolation. When I am overwhelmed with a task or a decision or know that I am on the edge of an incredible breakthrough in my business and/or life I will withdraw. Literally hide under the covers. I tell myself that it is “me time” but that is a lie. Its hideout time. Some people turn to others in these times, not me. I want to be alone to sit in my stuff, feel sorry for myself, avoid all accountability and bury my head in the sand.

Through the years this has cost me a lot: meaningful friendships where you share hardships and happiness, connection with my family and checking out on my faith.

As a perfectionist isolation makes total sense as my distraction. If I hide out I don’t have to explain my fear and vulnerability I can always act like everything is fine. But this also stops me from being real. Brene Brown says that true connection comes from vulnerability. In my isolation I have stopped myself from having that connection with the world around me.

For some people the distraction is social media, or their kids or their job. All good things on their own but something to submerge yourself in so that you do not have to face the thing you may fear the most: being awesome, feeling hard feelings, making changes that may hurt.

How do I identify if something is a distraction in my life? I ask myself a couple of questions:

  • How do I feel? I mean really feel. Not the quick fine, or blessed but deep down lonely, scared , nervous. The goal is to feel those feelings (LOL) and not cover them up with a season of Orange is the New Black. My mantra is “no numbing allowed”.
  • If this thing were to suddenly go away would I know what to do with myself?

If I was injured and could not work out would I be ok or have a crisis of self? If my kids leave for college will I have to suddenly figure out who I am? If I lost my job would my world fall apart? What would happen if I deleted my Facebook app for a week?

  • Take said thing away for 7 days and see what happens: Delete that Facebook app. Go on a weekend away with your husband and leave the kids at home. Commit to leaving work on time for a week. Take a rest week from the gym. Anything to create distance between you and your distraction

Once I identified my distraction and eliminated it I realized how much more time I had in my brain. I could then focus on what mattered most to me. My faith, my family and my fitness, in that order. It is a process and something that I must work on every day. Being present, praying and evaluating everything that comes into my world. But it helps to make things incredibly clear. Setting goals becomes easier as does day-to-day life.