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Self Employed and Unplugged: A Story of Survival

Self Employed and Unplugged: A Story of Survival

This spring, over Easter weekend actually, my love and I took off for a few days in sunny Florida…which was heavenly, especially if you know what the weather has been like in New England this spring! Neither one of us had our girls for the weekend, and after the last 12 months, we both needed some quality “us” time to recharge and reconnect.

But…a little bit of panic set in and it all started with dinner at a friend’s house.

What???

The Tuesday before we left, we had dinner over at our friends’ house, and we were chatting at the table about our little getaway and how excited we were to chill on the beach for a few days. I don’t remember how but the topic of cell phones and completely going unplugged came up. Our friends, super amazing at their work (HR and IT) and both having extremely important roles in their organizations, were able to do it without hesitation.

I felt this fear (I’m not kidding) come up and quickly take over – I got worked up and totally defensive. My go to when the topic of screen time comes up is that it’s my work. My job. My livelihood. My clients depend on me being totally connected at all times.

Yup. That’s what this monkey mind thinks.

Totally plays on my old story of needing to be validated.

Needing to be needed. I guess it’s good that I can at least recognize that is what is bubbling up…and try to breathe before I take someone’s head off. Try…

Fast forward a few days and I’m crying thinking about this. Seriously. A grown woman, who often tells her children to put down their phones and engage, is FREAKING OUT about how she’s going to LIVE without her phone. For THREE. WHOLE. DAYS.

And then I just decided.

  • My relationship is more important than anything else I can scroll through.
  • I have a good team in place to handle any emergencies.
  • My girls and I can talk in the morning and at night, and they’re busy during the day anyway…and they’re in good hands.
  • I will never be able to keep going at the pace I go without this super short recharge. So fully disconnecting is exactly what I need.

I cried.

I realized a LOT about myself during these few days. Thanks to my students at Framingham State University,

I learned that there is a “loop” that we get sucked into on our phones. Mine looks like this…

Alarm goes off. I SWEAR I’m getting up early today…or…

I hit snooze.

I open my work email.

Then my personal email.

Then Instagram.

Then Facebook.

The alarm goes off again.

Then I get up.

This is not my ideal morning…but that’s a post for another time!

I had to break my loop. I WANTED to break my loop.

I cried some more. I was going to do it.

We worked all day on Friday. And shortly before we’re getting ready to head to the airport – WITHOUT OUR LAPTOPS – my client’s website goes down. And their email.

For REAL?!?!?

Of course – because this is what happens. When you’re upleveling…something happens to make you question your (solid) decision. The one that will make you jump leaps and bounds. The one that might make you uncomfortable, but that is all about growth – personally and professionally.

Yup. For reals.

I focused. We handled it. I set up my phone with what I needed to monitor it, but not obsess, and my client was a saint about the whole thing. She gets it. Boundaries. Self-care. And she knew I would handle it come hell or high water.

That actually only took 30 minutes of my escape to handle on Monday morning, but I’m convinced it’s because I gave it space.

So… What else did I learn from ACTUALLY taking a break? From going unplugged and committing to recharge and reconnect?

I didn’t get many “real” emails! So people CAN live without me or my immediate response. I mean, it was the weekend…but still…

This taught me:

  • My ego needs to feel wanted. Wants to feel needed. So it hurts a little…and then I realized my heart and soul sometimes need to be free of that.
  • Prepare! I worked extra hard to get my clients what they needed before I left – so my to-do list and anything urgent was taken care of to the best of my ability.
  • It doesn’t hurt (much) to put your phone away. OK. It does kind of make it hard to breathe at first. Like ugh. What’s going on in the world? Is anyone texting me? Is work stuff blowing up? And then suddenly…I asked where my phone was because I ACTUALLY didn’t know! I didn’t bring it with me or take it out of my bag. This one was scary…I realized just how addicted I am to my phone and feeling needed. And validated. And I realized I’m modeling what I hate my girls doing. AND – it feels so good to let it go for a bit. Tech detoxes are going to be a new thing for us Webster girls (and they agree!)
  • Things were unintentionally falling through the cracks. I was stressed, unfocused, and letting “doing” get the best of me. Committing to these few days away, even when it seemed that there was too much going on – ESPECIALLY when there was so much going on…was huge.

What a gift on so many levels.

  • Remember a break is not just good, it’s necessary. The pain of being unplugged and doing a tech detox is temporary…
  • Its an investment in you, your business, and those you love.
  • Being is just as important, if not more so, than doing.

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