- Research reports that 42 percent of women say they were often or almost always burned out in 2021.
- Getting off autopilot is all about having clarity on what it is someone most wants for their life.
Do you feel like you’re living on autopilot? So swept up in the busyness of life that you don’t have the time to stop and see if you’re going in the right direction?
One of the greatest challenges we see women facing is not having enough time, space, strategies, or support to get off the never-ending treadmill and consider what is missing that would bring them more fulfillment and joy (a foreign concept for so many women in our community).
How do you create positive change and momentum in your career and life when you don't even know where to start?
Here are three ways you can begin to bring more intentionality into your life and stop living on autopilot.
1. Create Space
Let’s start with what holds most women back—not having the time or space to even consider what they want for their lives. The struggle is real. Most of us have so many different things we’re juggling at any given time that the thought of having space to reflect on our vision, purpose, and desires can seem like a pipe dream. And for many women, the pandemic has only made matters worse.
We know from the latest research from Lean In that 42 percent of women said they were often or almost always burned out in 2021, and the trend continued in 2022. We also know from the research that women spent an average of 20 hours more per week than men on childcare, caring for elderly or sick relatives, and housework in 2021—that’s the equivalent of a part-time job!
So, how do you create the space when you’re already feeling time-poor and overstretched?
As with most profound changes that happen in life, the truth is you start with the smallest of steps. You have to start where you’re at, have compassion for yourself, and not set yourself unrealistic goals that you’ll be able to carve out hours at a time to reflect on your hopes and dreams.
Take a moment now to really consider where your time is going. Where can you find 10 minutes to pause and reflect on one aspect of your life vision? Could you cut back the amount of time you spend on your phone? Could you wake up 10 minutes earlier in the morning? Could you switch your devices off 30 minutes earlier than you usually do and journal about what’s most important to you before going to bed? Could you go for a walk around the block after lunch and spend that time in intentional reflection?
Creating space is about finding the mini moments in your day. It’s about having the courage to get honest about where your time is actually going and establishing some healthy boundaries to protect what’s most important to you.
2. Reflect on Your Vision
Once you’ve been able to create some mini pockets of space in your life, the next step is to use that space to reflect on your life vision. Getting off autopilot is all about having clarity on what it is you most want for your life, what feels the most meaningful, joyful, and fulfilling to you, and how you can chart a path toward those things little by little.
There’s a 4-step process to creating your life vision that we take women through in the Women Rising program, and this will give you an amazing place to start.
Here are some other helpful questions to reflect on when it comes to creating a vision for your life and for your career:
- If you could have anything in the world right now, what would you ask for?
- If you could give up one thing that was weighing you down, what would it be?
- What gives you positive energy?
- What detracts from your energy?
- What are the values that you hold most sacred?
- If you followed the joy in your career and your life, where would it lead you?
- What is your definition of success?
- What is your greatest dream for your work?
- What is your greatest dream for your life?
As you feel into your life vision, I invite you to give yourself permission to dream the dream. Don’t focus on the how. Often, when I’m working with women on their life vision, they spend most of their time and energy "future tripping." They’re fast-tracking, trying to work out how they are going to bring something to life rather than giving themselves permission to simply dream about what life could look like.
We so rarely have the opportunity to sit in the space of asking, what is it that I want for myself?
We’re so busy as women looking after everybody else, taking care of everybody else’s needs—and let’s be honest, in many cases, just getting through the day—but this is your opportunity to simply dream the dream. You can work out the roadmap later.
3. Take Small Steps
After you’ve created some space to reflect on your life vision and you feel clearer about what it is you want for yourself, the next step is to take action. Once again, it’s all about small steps.
Often, we can get tripped up by an all-or-nothing mindset, or we feel like we need to change our whole lives in a minute. And not only is it not possible, it’s way too much pressure. Pick one small change that you can make and focus on that. And then you can start to add other things in.
You get to set the pace here. You don’t need to take any massive leaps, and you don’t need to change your life in a week. Go gently. Do this with ease and bring in the grace.
We can inch ourselves toward our ideal life. We don’t have to get there in one go.
And don’t underestimate the power of small changes—small changes done with intention compound over time and create radical results.