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TWIL about Passion, Breaks, & Learning

In the This Week I Learned (TWIL) series, I share with you the things I learned throughout the week.


This week I hit a big deadline I have been dreaming about for months. So much work has gone into this and it has been a rollercoaster ride. I was excited about how the end of this week would feel. I am at the top of that hill, looking at the view, and soaking it all in. When I turn around, I know there is another climb ahead. I'm ready for it!


So, let's get into what I learned this week.

 

I am energized when I have a focused list of things tied to a deadline I care about.


I am energized when I have a focused list of things tied to a deadline I care about.


I have had a list of to-dos that are big and have a clear “Why” but the deadline is soft. There are some that would carry over from week to week. Not because I avoided them, but because I ended up working on something else I was drawn to.


For the past few weeks, I have been CRANKING out work. I have put in a lot of hours and would find myself waking up early & eager to tiptoe to my desk as soon as I woke up. The surprising part is that even with all the hours and the reduced sleep, I was still full of energy. I would wrap up the day and still have the energy to make dinner, play a video game (Sons of the Forest is awesome!), or get on a call with family.


Having a very specific deadline (even if it was arbitrary), a punch list, and some great music helped me hit the deadline & not collapse at the finish.


Now, if I find myself pushing things to the next week I need to ask “What’s important about doing this task?” I will trust myself that if it isn’t important, I will remove it.


There was something else that kept me energized…


My body knows when I need a break


I also have to shout out that I listened to my body. When I needed a break, I took one. That helped so much. I knew when I felt tired, thirsty, hungry, or frustrated. I knew when I needed to step away from the work to get clarity (see last week’s TWIL).


It was hard for me to do that when I was in the Corporate World with back-to-back meetings. I took mental health days when I was beyond burnt out but I didn’t take those small breaks I craved throughout the day.


What would it have been like if I could have had at least 30 mins between meetings? What would it have been like if I didn’t have to cram all of my recharge into a lunch break? What would it have been like if I had given my body what it needed when it asked for it?


I feel sorrow and compassion for that Autumn who couldn’t take the breaks she needed for herself. It is a big part of what drives me to be a coach - I want everyone to be able to advocate for themselves. I know why it was hard to do. I know the broken systems that foster this self-harm. I know how to help people out of it.


Keep doing the work!


A big lie I would tell myself for years was “I’m not creative. I can’t design.” When it came time to build my first website, I carried that idea with me. I picked a tool that would make it foolproof. I tweaked it constantly.


I learned.


I create a lot of content. I post 1-2 times per week on LinkedIn. I post 4-7 times per week on Instagram. I create worksheets & tools for clients. These all have designed images that go with them.


These designs have to convey so much. I want them to reflect me while also creating a spark for people who see them.


I knew that I had to learn to do this work myself. I had to stop saying “I can’t design”. I changed to say “I’m a baby designer - I’m learning!” I signed up for Canva and started creating. I didn’t always like the end result, but I kept going. (You can head to my Instagram if you want to see the evolution.)


I learned from others. I would try to recreate designs I liked to see what they did. I would screen share with a friend who would give me tips. I had a couple of great screen-share sessions with my branding & website designer where I learned a lot of simple tricks.


I was collaborating on an upcoming post design and something didn’t look right. I decided to change the character spacing and it worked. We both paused, laughed, and celebrated because that was a full-on designer move. I didn’t even know about the impact of character spacing until a few months ago!


I still have so much to learn in this space and know that I just need to keep doing the work.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these, as well as what YOU learned this week.


Happy Learning,

Autumn


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