Do the heart work first

Do the heart work first - Christine Sheehy

Do you resist what you most long to do?

The work of your heart. That creative dream. The yearning to shift your business in a new direction, to let go of the old and invite your clients into the new.

Maybe your dream is to make a film, write a book, create your own jewellery or fashion line, stage a play, speak at a conference, launch a charity, host an event, create nurturing circles, learn a language or open a shop. 

Where does your dream sit on your priority list?

“How much time, energy and love have you brought to your dream this day, this week, this month or even this year?”

When life gets busy it’s easy to drop our dreams down the list. ‘No time today,’ you think. ‘I need to plan this launch, finish this client project, market my programme, blog, post on Instagram, do my GST return, sort out the kids’ sports enrolments, purchase a birthday present for my sister-in-law, change the bed linen, weed the garden, fit in some exercise, find something to cook for dinner….’

And so the years slip by and still you are no closer to the dream. 

I know when I get busy, writing – my writing –  is the first thing to go (even though I tell myself it’s the thing I want most). 

When I get busy? Who am I kidding?

I’ve been a parent for 12 years now and much of that time was spent under an illusion that free time was just around the corner. Just imagine how much I could achieve when my eldest started daycare? Hmm, no that didn’t work out – free time must be coming when my youngest starts kindy. Wrong again. No no, it would happen when I had all three kids at school. 

As each year goes by, more things seem to get added to the pot. Alongside my commitment to serving my clients beautifully and growing my business, there are community obligations, time spent caring for loved ones, managing domestic projects like renovations, the garden, family adventures, continuing family traditions, or retirement planning. It’s a lot and creative dreams are all too easy to push to the side. 

Newsflash: books don’t write themselves

Nor do great works of art happen by accident, at least not most of the time. 

About a year ago, I came to the profound-yet-obvious realisation that this is it. Life is now. It’s never going to get less busy. Great tracts of time are never going to miraculously appear. If I want to achieve my creative goals, I have to carve out time to work on them, for myself. 

What would happen if you put your heart work, first

You may have heard of the book Eat the Frog, which is based on the premise of taking care of your most important task for the day first – before you check your email, dive into client work, or get distracted by the zillion other things on your list.

What if you applied that premise to your dream?

What if you dedicated the first 20, 30 or 60 minutes of the day to your dream?

You could spend the time writing, painting or creating.

You could spend it nurturing relationships, researching the steps you’ll need to take, making valuable connections or finding the help you need. 

What if you made this your number one priority?

What if you got up one hour early, shut the office door and made it clear to your family that you were not available until you opened that door again. (Granted, this won’t work with very little ones).

And then made the same boundary clear to yourself

No email
No social media
No phone calls
No client work

Nothing happens, until the heart work is done.

Write one page every weekday, and you’ll have written 240 pages of your book by this time next year (even allowing for four weeks’ holiday.)

Spend twenty minutes a day building connections or nurturing relationships with those who can support you, and think what opportunities will open up for you in the next twelve months.

Spend one hour per day working on your art, and before you know it you’ll have a body of work set for your next exhibition.

Free time is never going to present itself, and even if it does, you won’t find it any easier to commit to your creative dream. 

Taking a year off to write a novel doesn’t guarantee it will get done. But putting your butt in the chair and writing a page every day, gives your dream a chance to breathe. 

So what will you commit to, for yourself, for the next 30 days?

How will you put your heart work first?

Share your ideas in the comments below.

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