With social media, we get snippets and highly edited reels of fragments of other people’s lives. It’s curated in a way that either props someone up to be idealized or entangled so deeply that they become just another image or video in the social sea. Many people are positively using social media platforms to connect in healthy ways with others. There is a genuine interest in learning more about others, sharing experiences, and giving more than taking.

I’m interested in knowing how you typically invest your hours on any given Friday.
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  • Are you staring at the clock all day in anticipation of zipping over to happy hour?
  • Are your Fridays like your Mondays, so they are super fast or really slow, all day long?
  • Are you slammed with meetings from start to finish?
  • Is Friday the day you’re catching up on everything you didn’t do the other days of the week?
  • Does your work day end in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
  • Do you have a routine before or after work?
  • Do you have Friday off and that’s the day you focus hours on class work for the course you’re taking? Or is it your beach, lake, or park day?
  • Is Friday “errands day” followed by pampering at the barber shop, hair salon, nail salon, or spa?

What do you do when your work day ends?

  • Do you head straight home?
  • Do you stop by and pick up your go-to meal from your favorite restaurant? Or order it for delivery?
  • Do you go to the gym?
  • Is Friday your dedicated Bowling or Skating Night?
  • Are you heading over to watch your child participate in an extracurricular activity?
  • Is it happy hour time with co-workers, friends, or just you and whoever is sitting nearby?
  • Do you meet up with friends to play card games (like Poker or Spades) or dominoes, chess, or video games?
  • Do you find a movie theater or drive-in to chill out and watch something funny or scary?
  • Do you volunteer at a local nonprofit?
  • Do you rush to your family to take part in a family routine like Fajita Fridays? or Fortnite Fridays?
  • Is it the start of your shopping spree? Or your Netflix and chill, binge-watching experience?

If you read my last post, I shared the thematic week days that I follow to keep me organized and feeling more confident (and less stressed). I mentioned what I do on Friday Team & Overflow Day, and I shared some tips on how you could modify your day. As I mentioned in that post, a few weeks ago I made the decision to structure my work week so that Friday’s I could shut things down by 3:30 pm. It requires great discipline Monday through Thursday, and sometimes I run over, give myself a “pass”, and relax when I’ve finally finished the task. I then can reflect, non-judgmentally, over the situation, understanding that “stuff happens”, and then I find ways to reward myself after-hours. A yummy meal or entertaining movie has been oh so rewarding!

If I pick up my nephew from school and take him to his swim lessons, then we usually eat a snack at the park or while driving to swim. After swim we seek out lunch and I’m usually listening to an audiobook, or we’re listening to music, or a Joel Osteen sermon. This four-year-old loves Joel Osteen! Then when he gets home we will either do a bike ride or he will play with his toys while I finish up my work tasks.

For about two years, I was trying to revive my childhood favorite, Pizza Night. As a child, my parents would take me out for pizza and video games, every Friday. And if you love pizza like I love pizza, then you know how absolutely awesome this was. We did this for years.

In 2019, I started testing it out and then in 2020, almost every Friday I was finding ways to enjoy pizza and a movie, or pizza followed by video games, and then a movie. The little child in me would giggle with glee. I have to be mindful of what I eat leading up to Friday and for lunch that day, so that Friday is more joy that guilt. I don’t want to have buyer’s remorse. That would suck.

I would love for my nephew to grow up experiencing the joy of themed days, anticipating the experiences that he will share with his loved ones. What a great tradition to pass on!

Another routine that I’m getting the hang of is doing laundry on Friday, so that my Saturday isn’t bogged down with laundry, housecleaning, and then trying to squeeze in my pamper sessions (with hair and skincare). I also mentioned that in my last post, and that I’ve been tweaking my Saturday and Sunday more and more each week. So far, I’m liking the results and how I feel. I’m noticing that I’m sleeping better, getting the most out of my days, waking more energized—yes, even on Mondays!

I have some other questions for you.

Can our Friday help to set up our Monday for success? Or does the weekend still play a major part? Or is whichever day that begins our workweek the day that we dread? If you have Mondays off, then would Tuesday be the day you dread, for instance? Or what if you worked every day except Wednesday and Thursday, would you dread seeing Friday pop up?

And why the dread? Do we have to rethink our workweek? Or is it that we have to rethink how we see work? Do we have to rethink the work that we’re doing or where we’re doing our work?

What do you think?

I won’t lie, I am trying to position myself where I can take Fridays off and get full breathing room for the weekend. I truly believe that I can create the infrastructure and systems that will allow all of my worlds to cohabitate in a Monday through Thursday realm. I’m hoping to achieve this some time this year. Heck, we’re almost half-way through 2022, and I’m excited at what I’ve achieved so far with my modified days. I believe I can do it and thrive.

Have you achieved this? Is it something that you desire? I know it’s not feasible for all work arrangements. I have noticed that there is a growing number of businesses that are converting to this framework, or providing it as an option for workers.

“The five-day week is not the ultimate, and neither is the eight-hour day.”

– Henry Ford, 1926

Ole’ Henry was ahead of his time!

~Natasha

I decided to add some flavor to this post by using my Bitmoji’s to visually express what I’m thinking and feeling. I don’t know if you or someone else will relate to my message. I don’t know if it will help you, but I hope it helps someone while it works on helping me. Are you ready to begin? Then let’s do this!

Starting today I’m focused and committed to …

I can’t count on anyone else to take care of me in all the ways that I need, or even in all of the ways that I care for others. And that’s okay.

My self-care is vital to my survival, mission, and calling. I can’t take care of anyone else if I’m neglecting myself. If I die today everyone and everything will be left as they are. So I can’t walk around feeling guilty for lovingly saying…

Or “No” or “Not today” or “Not this year” or “Thank you but no thank you”.

Because if I weren’t alive those same people couldn’t ask me. Right?!? I mean some folks would probably DM or text me not knowing I had passed away, because they only hit me up when they need an endorsement, donation, or help in some other way. You know exactly what I’m talking about, you have some of those folks in your life too. Funny thing, it might be you!

I have to keep reminding myself what my therapist told me years ago— I have to “set healthy boundaries with everyone and stop erasing those boundary lines to accommodate people and then get upset when they cross the line,” and remember that “A giver always attracts takers”. So I have to be okay with respectfully telling someone…

Whenever I feel pressure mounting and begin realizing that I’m being clobbered spiritually, emotionally, and physically, I’ve learned that I’m leaning too much on the natural and not enough on God, so it’s imperative that I get realigned. I’m at that point.

I’m not writing this message because it’s a new year. Not for some daggum resolution. But because I’m only given one life in this one body. I only have 24 hours in a day and can only safely take in 17 of those hours, because at least seven of those 24 hours I’m supposed to be resting and recharging. Little by little, day by day, I’ve been growing into this realization that enough’s enough. Like, when people say “are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?” And you sit there nodding your head up and down in the affirmative, wondering “how did they know?

I saw a post on Instagram that said that, pandemic aside, if people’s homes brought them peace and tranquillity they would rarely leave. The video had images of the person’s apartment, all plush and inviting. It went on to say that you see folks rushing to go to bars and this place and that place, basically anywhere, because they can’t stand the clutter and chaos of their home, or maybe it’s lacking the positive energy that they desperately crave.

Many of us have laughed at jokes and stories about people who get off of work and find every excuse to not drive straight home, sitting as long as possible in shopping center parking lots, slow-creeping, like a snail, taking forever to get out of the car and trying to take as long as possible to enter the door of their home?

Yeah, see I don’t want that. I don’t want to slow-creep at any point of my day. A casual stroll in the park or on the beach, yes I will take that. But where I rest my head should bring me peace. Whether I call it my home or just a place where I’m staying, it should be filled with peace. I want to rush there and be enveloped in its warmth and coziness. I want to inhale its healing essence.

But something that also comes to mind is how many people are working like crazy to have the house, cars, bling, and all of the stuff that screams success but then they’re too busy working to appreciate all of it? I mean, you have a pool and tennis court but you rarely use them. That sucks!

So that means that starting today, I’m reclaiming me and all that that means. It means fully embracing my positive femininity and dropkicking the toxic chick down the road. I want to embrace the fullness of my strength that comes from grace and dignity. Reclaiming me means obsessing less on that stupid hustle and grind nonsense for some crap I can’t take with me into the hereafter. I will do what I can with all that I can, and then I’m tapping out until the next designated day. I’m not here to compete to see who can slave away more hours in a 24-hour day. The most successful people have actually mastered getting more done in less time. It’s the rest of us who are clamoring to take part in the circus. I take no pleasure in killing myself and advertising it online or trying to rationalize it to my Creator.

Reclaiming me also means more focus on my dreams and taking in the daily gifts of this world. Time for nature, travel, exercise, game-play, pampering, and eating healthier— because let me keep it real with y’all, my vegetarian lifestyle has oh so been hijacked with processed junk over the past several months.

Let’s be clear, I’m not reclaiming with ultimatums or brute force. I’m not about to act a fool with you or anyone else over my peace of mind. I’m also not about to waste my time with long and drawn out pity parties. I will follow the rules I learned from a Mary Kay director in 2003. She said something to the effect of, “Set a timer for however minutes you need. Have your pity party and when that timer goes off, your party comes to an end”. I used to practice this all of the time and it worked. It gave me the moments I needed to fuss and cry, stomp around, shout, sob like crazy…

And then I would exhale, clean up my face, look around and see the world hasn’t ended, and then with gratitude in my heart, I would proceed with my day. Those moments were cleansing. They helped me flush out the energy that was trapped inside, rather than walk around all bottled up. Try it yourself and tell me what you think.

By the way, you know that the inflammation that is killing so many of us is trapped unprocessed toxic energy, right?

Another benefit to the timed pity parties is that it took less time and was safer than the long drives I would take on Pacific Coast Highway looking at the ocean and having a meltdown behind the wheel. I used to drive for hours. I mean don’t get me wrong you can have an amazing purge of energy at the beach. But ummm you need to park the car, not scream and cry while trying not to swerve into lanes of traffic.

I’ve known some things for years that I have struggled with and gotten counseling for, and read countless books on, but haven’t fully overcome. And that is, that I’ve given and sacrificed, lifted, protected, supported, nurtured, encouraged, sponsored, loved on, prayed for, poured into, and enabled a whole lotta folks—all while neglecting myself. This is something that we find countless women suffering through, oftentimes in silence.

I’ve been everything for everyone else, except myself. I’ve showed up for everyone else, except myself. I’ve been the biggest cheerleader for everyone else, except myself. I’ve invested in others but not enough in myself. I’ve promoted the heck out of other people’s businesses but not my own. I know some of you are guilty of doing the same thing. Don’t walk around carrying the shame. Recognize the err of your ways and then counter-correct.

I’ve watched myself disappear at times. I’ve watched myself shrivel and gasped in horror as parts of me began to die. The good parts. There have been times when I stopped recognizing lil’ ‘ole me…All the while I carried someone else, furthered someone else’s mission and vision, and helped someone else live out their dreams. Does this sound like someone you know?

That’s why I started picking up hobbies like hiking, crocheting, genealogy, puzzles, card games, learning new languages, and other interesting stuff—to make deposits back into me! What fun things are you focusing time and energy on to redeposit back into yourself?

I’m even reimagining where and how I want my next home. I’m tired of aligning to accommodate other people. I want what my heart and soul want and what I want is peace, joy, and tranquility. So I will make my space as I see fit. God’s providing me with the GPS and I’m excited about the adventure that awaits me.

I’m no martyr. I have no desire to be. I’m just a big-hearted empath that gives without expecting anything in return, and I give until I’m tapped out, drained, and limp. I don’t have healthy boundaries. I struggle with saying “No”. Then I get butt-hurt when someone takes advantage of me, when someone keeps taking because I keep giving. That’s not their fault. I just need to learn how to establish and enforce my rules of engagement, hours of operation, and how to focus on what I’m supposed to (like I shared in Episode 56 of the Don’t Call It Small…Business podcast). Maybe this reminds you of you or someone else that you love.

I love myself too much to be a shell of who God made me to be and called me to be. I’ve turned things and people into substitutes for Him. I’ve given things and people more attention than Him. I’ve ignored Him to rush to someone else. I’ve ignored Him thinking I was obediently following Him. I’ve ignored Him and involved myself in relationships that He had to shut down because I was too loyal and committed to walk away. My health problems over the years are from my neglect, from ignoring signs, from not taking care of me. How many of you are walking around ignoring the signs that your body is clearly sending you? How many of you are deferring that annual checkup and making excuses for why it can wait?

Whether you understand or not, can handle it or not, today and moving forward, I will be joyfully oblivious to anything that is not on God’s To-Do List for me. I will be unsubscribing from the drama. I will be tuning out the negativity and ignorance.

You can argue with your daggum self. You can have an attitude and give me the silent treatment. You can un-friend me, unsubscribe, block, do whatever. It’s all good. Because none of those things are on my To-Do List.

And there will be days where I’m going to be so focused on what I need to do to be a better person and servant of God, that I’m not going to even notice if aliens are morphing and finally letting us see they’ve been living next door (or under the same roof). I may be too focused to even do a double-take if the dinosaurs start resurrecting. Because guess what? It ain’t on my To-Do List.

I love you all and I hope and pray that you’re loving on yourself too. You can’t truly and fully love others until you learn to truly and fully love yourself.

~Natasha

Copyright 2022. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Did you know there are psychological reasons for self-sabotage? There is absolute truth in the saying that we are our own worst enemy, and self-sabotage manifests all of the darkest thoughts and energy that are trapped within us. The thoughts that run rampage through our minds, uncontrolled, and not managed, are bound to take over and repeat the worst possible messaging that we could ever imagine about ourselves, our loved ones, and the world. Self-sabotage manifests through procrastination, being super self-critical, defaulting to destructive coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol, and other derailing acts.

All of this leads to imposter syndrome.

Oh the dreaded imposter syndrome that soooo many of us, especially a disproportionate number of women, suffer from and struggle with. I remember when I sat in one of my doctoral residency sessions and a professor that was serving as one of the facilitators told us that there would be times when we felt like imposters, that we somehow weren’t qualified, didn’t deserve to be there, didn’t deserve the things we accomplished and earned, that even after we earned our doctorates, we would find ourselves feeling this way. How true indeed he was.

I’ve struggled professionally on and off for years whenever my confidence takes a whooping. When I have slow-paying clients or clients who want to pay me less but expect the highest quality of work, I feel my energy begin to drain. Over the years, I’ve considered shutting down my company more times than I can count. I’ve felt exhausted about the idea of marketing myself and my company to compete with others for projects, clients, and jobs, because with all of that also comes the shrinking feeling that I’m not good enough, I need to gain more experience, if only I had this or that, etcetera etcetera. When our confidence is lacking it becomes much easier to self-sabotage.

There are thousands and thousands of us struggling with imposter syndrome, constantly playing tug-of-war with the voice in our head that says, “No you didn’t and no you’re not” every time you give yourself credit for your successes. How many of you are quick to say that something is “…too good to be true” and you run for the hills to avoid being let down? Rather than see things through you begin to intentionally disrupt the flow, create blocks, drag your feet, and make excuses to not do something.

The idea of finally getting all that you deserve for the hard work and sacrifices you have made, turns into horror because the tape that stays on constant loop in your mind, tells you that you don’t actually deserve it and you haven’t sacrificed enough, and that better you’re looking at isn’t actually better, it’s a facade. So rather than pursue your dream you hide from it. Rather than close that deal you throw a monkey wrench in it and someone else takes the victory. Rather than clinching the gold medal you slow down in the race and settle for bronze. Instead of having the love of your life you settle for the jerk who tells you they’re the best you will ever get.

There was a study conducted in the UK that uncovered that over 80 percent of men and 90 percent of women (who participated) suffer from imposter syndrome but only about 25 percent of those men and women are actually aware of this. In a study conducted by researchers from Harvard Business School and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, women are much more likely to downplay their achievements in the workplace, and more likely to rate themselves considerably lower than men in how well they think they performed on an aptitude test. There was also a study that revealed that women struggle with accepting praise and compliments for their achievements, abilities, and skills.

The knee-jerk reaction many women default to is either downplaying or ignoring the compliment, or on the other end of the spectrum they reply with comments like, “I know” that make them seem over-the-top or too confident, which is translated in the female brain as “you’re arrogant”. Many men, on the other hand, would see it as a compliment if someone called them “too confident” or over-the-top. Just as we have heard plenty of men correct someone who called them arrogant, and in reply the man said, “No, I’m just really confident”. Of course this isn’t all men. When imposter syndrome kicks into warp speed, self-sabotage jumps in the ring for a tag team, and many men fall prey to the attack.

Intrusive thoughts are the culprit. Our mind is our enemy. Below please find a screenshot that may actually reflect your own thinking about how qualified or professionally adequate you think are.

Source: https://www.thehubevents.com/resources/impostor-syndrome-survey-results

Do you admit to experiencing intrusive thoughts? Do you believe your success is based on your hard work or because of luck? Why do you think you got your job or most recent promotion? Do you worry that one day someone is going to realize you’re under qualified, just an imposter? Do you think that you deserve the praise and compliments you receive at work?

Think about how many of us stay in dead-end jobs and in dead-end relationships because the thoughts in our minds convince us that we don’t deserve better and we’re incapable of achieving greater.

“The source of self-sabotage is part of a common ancestral and evolutionary adaptation that has allowed us to persevere as a species in the first place,” writes Judy Ho in Psychology Today. So what’s hijacking our minds and how is it doing it? Plainly put, just like there’s no difference between good stress (achieving goals or laughing hysterically) and bad stress (experiencing trauma or grief) our minds don’t distinguish between striving for and feeling good accomplishing goals versus running for our lives trying to avoid a perceived threat. These two realms play patty-cake on a seesaw all day every day. However, whenever fear begins to prevail and the flight mechanism kicks in, we start to lean more towards self-sabotage.

Judy Ho said that there are four elements driving this force within us:

  • Lack of belief in our self-identity,
  • Internalized negative beliefs about our own talents, skills, or abilities,
  • A fear of change or a fear of the unknown, and
  • A need for control

Imagine all four elements running wild in your mind at the exact same time. I’ve personally experienced it and there’s no words to describe the trauma that you undergo when all of that negative energy comes flooding in. In order to get a better handle on our thoughts and emotions, and how they manifest, we need to look closely at the four elements and understand where the feelings are coming from.

Source: https://thebestyoumagazine.co/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/stressss-1038×584.jpg

With so many of us working from home, even before the pandemic, imposter syndrome is always a nagging presence in our lives. According to life coach, Rebecca Lockwood, those subconscious thoughts of our inadequacies and state of lack are more likely to culminate and overwhelm us in the isolating environment that our homes create, because we don’t have any counter-active energy from co-workers, managers, employees, to help us break down the negative thoughts. You’re alone and you feel that aloneness, and those bullying thoughts can take over and cause havoc to our minds. That means we have to exercise more positive thoughts and energy into our lives to flex those mental muscles to deviate from our go-to trap door of shame. If that means plastering your work space with positive affirmations, vision boards, and photos that highlight your successes and accomplishments, then do it. We also must ensure that when those thoughts come knocking on our mental door, if we can’t quickly silence them, then we need to get up and remove ourselves from our workspace to clear our mind. It may require a brisk walk around the neighborhood, switching to an activity that requires your mind to do something completely different than the task you were working on, or listening to some uplifting music or messaging. It’s not like working in the office where you can quickly reach out to a colleague and find yourself engrossed by a conversation that distracts you from what your mind wanted you focused on. At home you must be creative with your combat tactics.

how do we attack imposter syndrome to reduce and eliminate self-sabotage?

  1. Have clear expectations of what you need to achieve and be honest with yourself and others if and when you need help. Shake off that need for control.
  2. Identify and take captive your negative thoughts and speech: Catch yourself before your mind and mouth run away from you. Remember, it all starts on the inside and spews outward. There is power in our words. And yes my friends, thoughts are things. Catch it, address it, and speak truth to the lies you’re telling yourself.
  3. Steer clear of the comparison trap: Stop stop stop comparing yourself to other people; heck, stop comparing yourself to your old you, your old accomplishments, and how great you used to be at something a long time ago. Focus on your strengths and if someone else is stronger where you are weak, then leverage their strengths for your team’s success. Don’t sabotage a potentially great thing.
  4. Flip “Can’t” into “Why Not”: empower yourself by asking yourself “Why not” every time a negative thought tries to hack your mind and tell you that you can’t do something. You can find more powerful words and strategies to counter the nonsense flowing your way.
  5. Determine how you want to receive feedback: if you’re sensitive to critiques and find them more like criticism, or you find any comment that doesn’t feel complimentary as being a harsh critique, try to establish ground rules. This is especially necessary when feedback comes in writing. Emails and text messages have caused countless explosive arguments. As soon as you can speak voice-to-voice, do so and lead with a desire for clarity rather than assume the worse, and go on attack.
  6. Have goals and a vision for where you want to go and what you want to accomplish: by having goals or a roadmap you can reassure yourself whenever your mind wants to lead you astray. By seeing that finish line, that goal date, we can pump ourselves up and get our minds focused on the chartered course ahead.

Hopefully this information can help you prepare your strategy for kicking self-sabotage in the butt in 2022. When you finally bury it let me know!

~Natasha

Copyright 2021. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.