How Working Hard Can Mean Letting Go

I’m a hard worker. I don’t mind pushing through to meet a tough deadline, staying up late and getting up early to get through an impossible pile of work. I don’t mind working the shifts that no one wants and workin’ up a sweat doing so.

And in most ways, that’s a good thing. But lately, I’ve been tuning into how it could actually be holding me back and hogging up space–much needed space for my dream-dripping, soul-powered life.

So, I’ve got this job, right? It’s a survival job. It pays the bills. It’s long hours in the hot sun. I show up. I floor it from rehearsals to get there, change in my car. Suddenly, I’m not just working in the field anymore, but I’ve been promoted to doing admin work in the office. Suddenly, I’m behind the scenes, talking to clients, making shit happen for the business.

The work train is happening, and I’m on it! The get-up-and-grind cycle I’ve sworn by my whole life:

Work hard > Move Up > Work Harder > Move Farther Up > Worker Harder > Work Harder > Cry a little > Keep Going > Move up, Up, UP!

Yee-haw!

There’s just one little, tiny problem.

dread it. Most days, I have to talk myself up to walking through the door. I’ve abandoned even putting on mascara for the job. And worst of all, there’s this feeling, right in my solar plexus, that vulnerable little spot just below your sternum. It feels a little achey, a little bit like nausea-inducing butterflies.

I hate that feeling. I hate it because I know what it is, but I never, ever want to admit it. It’s my instincts kicking in, my body telling me, beep, beep, beep, something’s not right here, Caroline. It’s my very soul getting antsy, squirming to get the hell outta Dodge.

But the MONEY! But I could keep moving up! I could make more money! It’s a job! It’s secure! You haven’t stuck with it long enough! Come on, girl, it’s just one car on the train. Keep working, keep going, get up, get out, show up, prove yourself. You can do it!

Well…yes, I can. I could. But for the first time in my life…I decided that I won’t.

And here’s why: because I don’t have to. 

You don’t have to muscle your way through a job that you hate, that doesn’t fuel you, that leaves you feeling as if someone took an ice cream scooper and carved straight out of your gut. When you feel like shit showing up for a job, that’s your body telling you that this isn’t right. It’s survival mode. It’s no different than walking into a bear cave. Your body is red flagging you like crazy to just turn around, stop trying to prove something, and go the hell home.

But fear keeps us there. Fear of financial insecurity, fear of disappointment or disapproval, fear of failure. So, we keep going. We work harder. We bitch and moan and finally…we burn out. And even after that point, I’ve been known to push even more.

But let me tell you: there ain’t nothin’ sexy about burn out. It’s messy and snotty. You’ll grow a whole lot, probably have an epiphany or two, but that whole push-push-push-til-I’m-a-heap-on-the-floor attitude? It’s old school. It’s so not what this world needs. It’s so not what you need, and it sure as hell isn’t in alignment with the sizzle of your soul.

When we’re sad and exhausted, when we’re pushing for something that makes us feel deflated, we turn into tapped out zombies. Creativity? Gone. Inspiration? Inaccessible. Confidence? Negligible. We render all of our most valuable resources unusable, and we become lost to ourselves.

If you’re facing a situation like the one previously described, I urge you to walk with courage in the opposite direction. Let go. Trust your instincts. Move on. Bless that cube, that desk, that boss, that company, that commute one last time as you leave (after all, it taught you some things, you know it did) and never look back. 

We need you to. We need you doing things that make you e x p a n d . We need you rested and empowered and excited and fulfilled. You tried. You gave it your all, but it’s not for you. You don’t have to fight anymore. Relax. Come back to us. 

Move on & keep moving. Feel your way through. You’ve made  s p a c e  now. You’ve called out, beckoned to the unknown. Something new is coming. Something better. Something lighter. There. You can just see it now. It’s close.

Understand that sometimes the hardest work there is to be done…is simply letting go.