The most important question to ask when embarking on something new.

Tuckered out in Glacier National Park

I have a really big appetite for food, but even more so for life.

A day where I’m scheduled within minutes of my life is my idea of heaven. When I headed out on The Freedom Tour on February 2nd this year, my eyes were wide, the road was open and the sky was big. My tummy was grumbling for some adventure and moderation simply wouldn’t do.

The Metrics of The Freedom Tour

Between February 2nd and June 21st I traveled 19,000 miles by car and another 11,000 miles by plane (plus 300 by boat.)  I visited 21 different states and provinces, slept in over 50 beds, taught 16 workshops, spoke to over 800 people, and attended 5 major conferences (SXSW, Summit Series, Reveal, Selling Your Soul, I Can Do It!, and the World Domination Summit.) I did this all while launching a new business partnership, ending another one, then ending the one I had just started, experimenting with being homeless, and falling in love.

After five months of going at this pace I felt full. The kind of full that makes you want to put on pants with an elastic waist band and talk about how you’re never going to eat again.

I landed in Maine at my childhood home in June feeling exhausted. I thought the summer would birth great creativity and production in the form of pages and pages of brilliant writing. I thought by this time I would have a sample chapter and outline for my first book.

But it turns out that when your eyes are bigger than your schedule, when your MO is to say yes to everything, and when you run your self more than a little ragged, what you need is sleep. And watching movies. And eating lunches that take three hours to finish And looking out at the ocean. And more sleep.

Promises, Promises, Promises

I sat with my dad over lunch the other day chatting about my blog. He’s one of my most dedicated readers, which simultaneously thrills and terrifies me. He told me that I need to be careful about what I promise to my readers because they (he) get disappointed when I don’t follow through on my promises.

Here are a few things I’ve promised over the past couple of months that I haven’t followed through on:

  • Shooting daily videos (what was I thinking when I announced I was going to start doing that?!)
  • A post of my pictures from the stunning drive up the Pacific Coast Highway from Laguna Beach, CA to Vancouver, BC (which was supposed to be for my dad)
  • This post on “the most important question to ask yourself before embarking on any project” that I promised several weeks ago in this video (This one only half counts as not following through because I’m finally writing it. It’s just late.)
  • Submitting a sample chapter and an outline of the book I’m currently gestating by the beginning of July (This one is still in process, just taking longer than I thought.)

I also have over 700 unread/unanswered emails in my inbox, some unreturned voicemails, and a few missed opportunities as a result.

Granted, I think my dad takes my promises on my blog more to heart than some of my other readers, but he brings up a really important point.

What are you promising that you’re not delivering on?

Our conversation made me pause. It made me feel sheepish. And it made me realize the single most important question to ask before embarking on any new project:

Is this sustainable?

When you’re birthing anything new there will be a period of time when you sometimes don’t shower until 6pm (if at all) and you eat takeout and don’t respond to emails. I get that AND I’m not making myself wrong for the way I’ve done The Freedom Tour up until this point.

In fact, one of my new favorite mantras is: “I am enough and I’m doing it right.”

Let that baby sink into your cells for a moment.

However, the way I started this whole adventure was completely unsustainable. I said yes to more than I could follow through on. I promised things I didn’t end up doing. I found myself way overextended. I got sick. I disappointed a few people (and thrilled some others.)

I’ve spent the past 6 weeks in Maine adoring life, adoring being in the house I was brought home to the day I was born, adoring being grounded, adoring not moving, and adoring a break.

It’s been goooooooood. It’s been beyond necessary.

The Freedom Tour 2.0

My man and I are packing up the Prius on Friday morning and heading out on the road again. We head West and will be in Scottsdale, AZ for September and October by way of Columbus, OH and Salt Lake City, UT.

The Freedom Tour continues but it is now The Freedom Tour 2.0. I now have a filtering question to ask myself when presented with any new opportunity so that I’m no longer giving a knee-jerk “yes!” I’m building in vacations. I’m being strategic about my workshops and speaking gigs. I’m standing for eight hours of sleep, no more than six hours a day in the car, meditation, and greens.

Whatever you’re cooking up right now, ask yourself: Is this sustainable?

If your answer is “no” but you’ve got an end point in mind, rock on. If there’s no end point, get one on the calendar. You can only go at full capacity for so long.

Creativity and production of great work is not a steady stream. It comes in fits and starts. Sometimes its fueled by an all-nighter. Sometimes it’s fueled by a double feature. Let your art flow the way it wants to flow. Just be sure to factor your promises, your health, your sanity, and your soul into the equation.

___________________________________________________

The Freedom Tour is hitting the road again!

Come see me on Sunday, August 14th!

Women & Wealth: The Truth About Money That No One Has Ever Told You

6:00 – 7:30pm

The Reiki Center, 1540 W. 5th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43212

This event is free, but we have limited space. Please email rsvp@teamorthrup.com to reserve your seat.

 

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12 Responses to The most important question to ask when embarking on something new.

  1. Annie says:

    This is sooooo good. I love these sustainability measures – 8 hours of sleep, etc. I’ve recently begun instituting that one myself. This week it’s often more than 8, probably making up for lost sleep. And as I head into the fall and planning out my various projects, this way of filtering will be really helpful. Thanks! So glad you had such a restful, grounding time at home. Was great to share a month of it with you!

    All best to you and Mike on the Freedom Tour 2.0.

  2. Nicki says:

    WOW – I need to hear this today, sort of like I need a slap in the face. I have been running on fumes for about 3 months now and it is catching up to me. Between launching a business in June, launching another in September, working full time, being a mother to an 18 month old and a wife and having 2 of my best friends getting married this summer (which I volunteered to assist with as I used to be a wedding planner) I have found myself sitting on the ledge of complete exhastion and feeling that I need to keep at it “because it feels right”.

    Thank you Kate for asking the question I clearly need to ask myself.

    All the best for Freedom Tour 2.0
    xo

  3. Alexis says:

    Great post! I have been getting this same message in different words and it was so refreshing to hear it from your point of view! It feels great to know that even people on your level go through the same things I do, even though I’m still in the beginning stages. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m glad you got the rest and relaxation you needed. :)

  4. Thank you for this, Kate! This post really spoke to me. After a three-year version of my own Freedom Tour — full of birthing a business and recreating my entire personal and professional life — I’ve also found myself in need of sleep and just being. I appreciate your wonderful reminder and perspective!

  5. Liz Donaghy says:

    Echoing all the comments above, your journey has been one that inspires my own…Thank you for putting to words something that so many of us feel, but it is that chatter that keeps us awake at 3am when it feels like you are so alone. I am so grateful to be a part of your adventure and can’t wait to see where your creation takes us next!

  6. Loved this post Kate and can so resonate with your message. I too have been on my own version of a freedom tour myself, leaving my corporate career of 27 years along with the big corporate paycheck, not consulting for a non-profit where the work is never ending – although satisfying – but squeezing in the time to create and build my new business (actually 2 businesses) and finding not much space in between. Thanks for the reminder to slow down, say no more often and filter. Good advice!

    Have fun with Mike on the 2.0 tour – see you in SLC.

  7. Lisa Page says:

    Perfect timing Kate!

    Am in the middle of a launch myself which has taken longer to birth than my son (and he was overdue!)

    …And just as the women started signing up I realise..’Wow! I’m tired!’

    So have spent ALL morning wandering on the beach (which is 10 metres from my front door) letting go of unrealistic expecations… drinking tulsi tea!

    Ahhh…So much better. :)

    Lisa

    PS Your Dad sounds like a good man

    So that when we start on Tuesday I’ll

  8. Simone says:

    Kate I just love your blog! Its so refreshingly honest and inspiring – especially for someone like me who has recently realised how much I overcommit and disappoint myself and others when I don’t follow through. Have a wonderful time on version 2.0 of your Freedom Tour! Live it, love it and look after you.:-)

  9. Charlene says:

    Me too! Love this message. Thank you, Kate, for being honest and transparent and thought-provoking. As one who also has a ‘large appetite’, I too tend to overpromise because I get so enthusiastic and optimistic about the many possibilities I envision. Life is a banquet, but that doesn’t mean I have to put everything on my plate!

  10. Oh I love this post! It’s winter here in Australia, and what would usually be a season of hibernation + rest I have been giving birth to many new creative projects such as my new website, new yoga classes, and my first ever online community event. I love the rush I get from new ideas…following through on them is another thing (I’m an Enneagram Seven all the way!!).

    However, since amping up my self care routine with yoga/mediation/reflection I’ve been more discerning with where + with whom I give my energy too. I noticed this is part of being ‘truthful’ and ‘authentic’. To be those things, I need to have integrity…to be a woman of my word. Sending you big love from down under + can’t wait for the giggle fest xxx

  11. Margaret says:

    I love this post and I’ve been following you on Twitter for a while. I can totally relate to what you’re saying or what your father said about promising your readers. I’m the founder of a cultural blog called http://www.ItalianAmericanGirl.com — I have so many unreturned emails, opportunities, interviews that I just can’t seem to get to.. I’m in the transitional period of working hard at a day job then pursuing my passion, which is the Italian American Girl site. Your post said it all, I look forward to your inspiring words!

  12. What can I say…..I just LOVE your honesty, your self refection & how you communicate it to the world!! To me…..knowing thyself is true FREEDOM!!
    Thank you for that reflection Kate! Happy Trails #2:-)

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