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How many times have you forced yourself to power through when you don’t really want to? This week, I’m talking about a recent “I hit a wall” experience of my own when I reached my capacity and had to choose between two options: I could push through into burnout mode, putting out work I didn’t feel great about. Or I could take a breath, give myself a little grace, and look around to see the earth still spinning.
You’ll hear what I did (I’ll be you can guess) and what things I want you to think about if (and when) you find yourself approaching! I also break down the pillars of Radical Self-Belief and how each can help you to slow down, be present, and keep from doing too much damage. A little late for preemptive measures? Don’t worry, friend. I’ve got something for you too. Let’s take a beat and feel a bit more alive, together.
Tiffany Han: Hey, Hey, Hey, welcome to The Tiffany Han Show, a podcast that teaches highly ambitious people how to have lives that feel as good on the inside as they look on the outside. If you are ready to dive into discovering Delight in your life, starting today, be sure to check out my free five-day Radical Delight kickstart over at tiffanyhan.com. And, while you're there; you can also find extended episode archives, show notes, and more. Thanks for being here. Now, onto the show.
Tiffany Han: Hey, hey, everybody. It’s Tiffany. Welcome back to my show. Thanks for being here today. I want to talk about what to do if you hit a wall and also what to do when you hit a wall. There's this beautiful grace invitation available by just knowing that as high-achieving, ambitious, excited, creative people - walls are going to show up every now and then.
Before I dive into the wall-hitting, the Radical Self-Belief of it all, I wanted to give you a quick update. Number one, you might have noticed that I missed my episode last week. Yeah, that happened. And, it's fine. Let's also think about how I've been very busy. Maybe that's why I'm doing an episode about hitting a wall. [laughs] So, I wanted to thank y'all for coming back for this week.
And, you know, part of what I'm exploring in my Year of No is, what happens when you can't keep going at the pace you've gone? What happens when you get new information? What happens when you realize something needs to shift, but your previous MO, your previous way of doing things is to ignore that knowing and just keep going?
That is a huge piece of what I'm exploring in my Year of No, with the idea that I don't want to say ‘yes’ to something just out of obligation, that if it's just a sense of obligation that I'm going to say ‘no’. So, that was what I did last week with the podcast episode; I was like, ‘I'm not going to be able to get it done.’
And, I think it's actually really important for me to underscore this for y'all because in the moment, saying ‘no’ because you realize that you're doing something out of obligation, it feels like I'm letting you down. I'm letting my listeners down. I'm not-- I'm not honoring my commitment, that I'm being a flake, that no one's going to trust me.
I don't know. My brain could tell me all of these things. And, when I dive deeper, when I dove deeper, when I realized that recording a podcast episode wasn't in my best interest, nor was it in your best interest. And, this is a really important piece that we need to remember, because I am somebody who I want the best for you and I want to produce really good content for you.
And, let's face it. Everything that I make, I make with people in mind with a, sometimes one specific person in mind, sometimes something you might be thinking, sometimes a whole group of people in mind. But that is why I make content for you, for the listener, for the reader, or for whoever is out here and might be needing this podcast episode.
And so, while saying ‘no’ feels like letting you down, it's actually me staying in integrity to you because me producing or recording or making anything just out of a sense of obligation, if my heart isn't in it, the thing that I give you is not going to be good. It might be fine. It might be adequate.
It may not be something that you can tell that the energy is off, but I know in my heart, it's not going to be its best for you. And so, sometimes there's this question of, what do I do when being in integrity to somebody else actually takes me out of integrity to myself, right? When we think about values, when we think about integrity, when we think about how we're showing up to our lives.
And, I love this question, and this, that I'm talking about, this example is really perfect for it, because what happens is it's really easy for me to think, ‘okay, well, I need to be in integrity to my podcast listeners and deliver an episode when it's due, great.
But when doing that takes me out of integrity to myself, what it actually creates is this occasion where I can't be in integrity to you if I'm not also in integrity to myself first. So, the idea that doing something, just because that's obligation, even though I'm approaching a wall, anyone who says, “Yeah, but that's integrity and you have to just pull it together and power-through,” that's not how this work works for me.
And, I am all for honoring deadlines. I am all for delivering what you promised. Yes, I am all for doing everything that you can within your capacity to make something happen. And, still sometimes beyond all of our best intentions, we aren't able to pull it off.
And, that doesn't necessarily mean anything except; in this moment, it wasn't within my capacity. So, there is this inherent grace in even being able to say that, and to allow that, and to accept that.
So, I thank all of you for coming back and listening to this again, because that-- Like, anytime that we can extend grace to ourselves or to others, it makes that grace muscle stronger for ourselves and stronger for everybody else. And, y'all know that grace is one of those five pillars of Radical Self-Belief. So, let's talk about hitting walls.
Now, the reason that I didn't have that episode ready last week is that it was a Grown-Up Gap Year early-bird launch week. I just want October to hurry up and be here. So excited. I'm so excited. I'm so excited to dive in. And, it was a really full week. I started therapy, which also the idea of like, realizing, looking back that starting therapy.
The week, the Monday of a very busy launch week was in the moment like Monday night, I was like, oh, that was probably not the best timing for me to have undertaken. But I'll tell you, by Friday when it was the end of my busy launch week, and then the Supreme Court decision came out, overturning Roe v. Wade, it felt like all of these things were happening; most of them beyond my control, and just everything was swirling on around me.
I was like, ‘oh my God, I'm so glad I started therapy this week.’ [laughs] I had no idea on Monday when I started therapy that by Friday, I would be like, ‘yeah, I have a place to go next Monday to be with all of this.’ There's this thing that I really try to believe.
This is a faith flex for me, is that even when things “aren't working for me”, and I'm talking about in my own life, when things happen that are not the way that I would've designed them. And, I want to be clear; I'm not talking in this instance about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, because systems of injustice and oppression, do not fall within what I'm about to say, what I'm about to tell you.
Well, for me, when things don't happen the way that I think they should, or when I realize something in hindsight and think, ‘oh, Coulda Shoulda Woulda, I should have done this, or I should have done that,’ when I seemingly make a “mistake”, right, or I misjudge something. In the moment of that realization, I can often feel regret, remorse, Ugh, frustration, a wish that I had a time-turner, and I could go back in time and redo it.
There’s maybe some sadness and some grief about why didn't I make a different choice. And, when I'm able to zoom out and give things more time and space, then that immediate reaction, I can often see that whatever showed up was exactly what it needed to be and was in exact perfect timing. This happens for me a lot with specific business results, right?
‘Oh, I want this to happen. Or I want this to happen. I want this to happen now.’ I mean, if it were up to me, everything would've already happened five minutes ago, and then I'd be done with it. But what I actually know about that is that if that were to happen, now, I'd be sitting on the other side of all of those things saying, ‘Now what? Now what? Now what? Now what?’
And then, I'd come up with a whole other bucket of things that I then wanted to be on the other side of. [laughs] And then, I would never get to be, in my life, experiencing all of those things, learning, showing up from Radical Self-Belief, having that peace and that presence and that joy and that delight. Yeah. Yeah. You get it, right? You get it. So, busy week. By Friday, I was like, ‘Whoa, whoo-hoo! This is feeling like a lot.’
I had a good weekend. Monday, I was back at it, back at work, back in the like, ‘huh, I really tried over the weekend to reset my nervous system, to get some rest, to get some restoration, to just do things to honor myself, my family, just be around good people who I felt good around and eat good food and get outside and yell ‘Tuesday morning’. [laughs]
Oh my gosh. I hit the biggest wall ever. I hit the biggest wall. I had woken up early, woken up in the middle of the night, right? Like, at 4:00 in the night, early, early Tuesday morning. I think I was awake for maybe an hour. Luckily, I fell back asleep and I actually slept in, I slept until, I don't know, 8:00, 8:30, which is pretty late for me. Got up. Did some things, had a pretty slow unraveling of my morning.
And, I don't know, by like 11:00, I couldn't even-- My brain-- Like, I was trying to send emails. I had a few emails I needed to send. And, these were emails that I was excited to send couple sentences for people who had joined Grown-Up Gap Year to be like, ‘yes, I'm so excited.’
And y'all, I just could-- Like, my brain, it was like, my brain was like, Nope, it would not cooperate. So, I tried what I usually try when I'm feeling like, ‘oh, why can't I do that?’ And, I moved to a different spot in my office, my cozy chair, and I got snuggled up under a blanket and I tried to email from there.
And, it was like, Nope. So, I went back to bed. [laughs] I went back to bed, and you know what? And, the sky didn't fall. I took a nap for a couple hours. I got up, ate some lunch, played a bunch of games with my kids because they're home for the summer. And then, finally, I was able to send the emails.
Now, that may not feel like the biggest wall ever, which is great. Right? Because we think that like a lot of us who have come close to or dabbled in burnout or experienced some form of burnout, there are much bigger walls possible that we can hit.
And, I actually think that even as I relay that story, part of me is like, ‘oh, well, that's no big deal. You just needed a break.’ Yeah. And, in the past, I would not have listened to myself for those signs. I would've done whatever it took to get those emails sent and keep going.
And, the walls that I would've hit 5, 8, 10, 15 years ago, y'all would've been much more drastic. They would've been much more painful. They would've been not just like bumping a wall. I mean, it would've been like full-on, straightforward brick, head in brick.
Typically, my way of doing things before was that I would proceed until I got sick, until I became physically ill and had no other choice, but to disengage with literally everything, because I would have like 103 fever and not be able to get out of bed for a couple days.
So, I am right now giving myself a massive pat on the back that the wall that I hit earlier this week was just like a bump, little bump, little bump of a wall instead of like, ah, a total disaster. But here are the things that I want to tell you about hitting a wall. And, I want to really look at this through the lens of Radical Self-Belief because all about Radical Self-Belief.
And, sometimes it's easy to think that Radical Self-Belief means that nothing ever goes wrong, that we are always in like full, open; trust of like, ‘everything is going to be amazing all the time’, or that we walk around on unicorns with rainbows and sprinkles are flying everywhere, and everything's amazing.
That's not quite how it works. Radical Self-Belief doesn't mean that you're always right. It doesn't mean that you never doubt. It doesn't mean that everything goes the way that you think it should.
It doesn't mean that everything proceeds without friction. Instead, Radical Self-Belief is this way of anchoring yourself in your life with integrity, with truth, and allowing yourself to be super present with everything going on around you and believing that all of the things happening around you while you don't have to love them; Radical Self-Belief is also not complacency.
Why you don't have to love them, that they won't permanently take you away from yourself because Radical Self-Belief also doesn't mean that you never get pulled out of yourself. Sometimes you do. So, what we're actually after is that this anchor is your place to come back to.
And then, over time, you return to yourself quicker, right? We're all about shrinking down that recovery time. I've talked-- I've talked about this with y'all before, we want to shrink down that recovery time. That is always the goal. Radical Self-Belief, it's not a static place.
It's not like, ‘oh, I'm here and now I'm here forever.’ Great. No, it's not like that because in our lives, we are curious, we are creative. We want to explore, and try things, and wander. And, we want new things to show up to us. So, not knowing something is actually amazing, right? That is like one of the key foundations of curiosity. In order to be curious, you have to not know the answer.
Uncertainty is part of it. Without uncertainty, there's no need for curiosity. So, Radical Self-Belief actually lets you stay in that curiosity, lets you be okay with that uncertainty. So, hitting walls, big place we got to start is just with like the true statement, which is sometimes you hit a breaking point.
I suspect that a lot of us would need this work less if we were able to recognize our breaking points a much, much sooner and honor them in really small ways without needing to like hit a wall.
Right? Sure. But just accepting that sometimes you hit a breaking point is key, and you also want to accept it without judgment. Right? That acceptance is part of that Radical Self-Belief, DFSTAG. Our pillars of Radical Self-Belief, they are five. Acceptance is the A, the A in STAG. So, accepting that you have hit a wall, that's step one.
Now, step one, *A* (asterisk), right? Or step pre-one, if you will, is that you accept that you're approaching a wall without judgment. What would change for you if you started accepting when you are coming up to your limits before needing to hit them?
Now, that requires presence. It requires awareness. It requires noticing which all of that requires slowing down. And, slowing down will inherently help you avoid hitting walls, right? Slowing down will help you stop before you hit the wall. [laughs] So, paying attention.
And again, y'all, that without judgment piece is so, so important. Radical Self-Belief doesn't involve beating yourself up for having very human limits. Radical Self-Belief doesn't involve punishing yourself to work harder, or what I think we've all tried to do, punishing yourself into living your best life, which often looks like working beyond your capacity, over-delivering.
Overcommitting - powering-through in ways that are outside of integrity in order to deliver something. Over-promising - being that person when you don't want to be that person, right?
So, next step in the pillars of Radical Self-Belief when it comes to hitting a wall and/or slowing down enough to be approaching a wall is you got to have faith that the wall is not permanent. You have to have faith in your ability to recover. You have to have faith in your ability to be a person who is allowed to put down some of these balls you're juggling.
You have to have faith in your body that your body is going to tell you things. Your body knows things before you do. But without that faith, without the faith and the things that you can't see, then all that's going to happen is you're going to accept the wall.
And then, there's going to be like this massive bucket of anxiety thrown on your head with it, which nobody's going to be restoring themselves if they're sitting in a bucket of anxiety. So, the next pillar-- I'm going a little out of order, not quite in DFSTAG order for a reason.
The next pillar of Radical Self-Belief that I want you to consider when you're approaching or have hit, or maybe you've been stuck in like a wall scenario for a good long while, you're not alone, if that's you. The next pillar is grace. Y'all, this one is so hard. [laughs] This one is so hard. And, grace means that you honor your capacity.
You've acknowledged your capacity without judgment, and that you don't make it mean anything about your value, your worth, what you deserve, that you don't make it mean that you're allowed to stop being kind to yourself. Yeah, grace, grace is probably the hardest one. The one that everyone has the hardest time with because our world has conditioned us to believe that our value is conditional.
That our value is dependent on how much we deliver, how much care we provide, how much other people can count on us, how much we perform, what our stats are, how many medals we have on our wall, right? That is how the world determines our inherent value. But that's kind of bullshit. Not ‘kind of bullshit’, that’s bullshit. And, we know it's not true.
If you're listening to this, you know that we are all inherently worthy and valuable as humans, existing. And yet, the world is still operating through these lenses of oppression, of capitalism, of colonialism, of misogyny, of White Supremacy culture.
And so, grace is a muscle that we have to flex and practice all the time, y'all, all the time, giving it to ourselves and also giving it to other people, letting other people be humans.
So, giving yourself grace, when you see hit approach, just try to keep going after you've run into the wall, grace is huge because, all of a sudden, you needing to rest or recover or pull back or slow down, doesn't mean anything beyond that you're a human being with needs and capacity. And, what a beautiful gift is that, right? What a beautiful gift that is. Next step in our pillars of Radical Self-Belief, spirit-tending, the ST in STAG.
Now, spirit-tending can show up as a nap, meditation, prayer, poetry, journaling, all of those things that we know we should be doing more often; rest, good food, movement, fresh air. Yes. And, spirit-tending can also show up as play, as creativity, as curiosity, as adventure, as embracing the unknown.
Spirit-tending can show up as brushing your teeth, or turning off your phone, or reading a magazine, or staring out the window, or playing UNO with your kids. What are the things that make you feel most alive? What are the things that when you do them, you are in your body, you're in your life, you're present, you're aware, you feel like yourself? All of those contribute to spirit-tending.
So, if you're like, ‘yay, yeah, someone else telling me to meditate,’ don't meditate. What do you want to do instead? Do that. So, spirit-tending was what I did when I realized that I had hit a wall, when I realized that my brain was like, ‘not going to make those sentences happen,’ I could feel it. I did some spirit-tending. I took a nap, right? I called it. I like, I can’t do this. I drank some water, hung out with my kids. We played games. It was so fun. Ate some food.
And eventually, I came back. I came back to the list, and I got it done, and it felt great. And, it was so much easier, y'all. This is the thing too, is that we think powering-through is going to save us time. We're like, ‘no, it's just going to take 15 minutes,’ but that's not how it works, right? We think the powering-through, but it's like, if we're disconnected, man, it just takes--
How much time do you spend putting off the things you don't want to do? How much time do you spend dancing around all of those things that you're dreading, but that you've told yourself you have to do in order to find some DFSTAG, or do some spirit-tending or be in Radical Self-Belief or focus on how you want your life to feel on the inside?
So, what we are doing here, what I'm encouraging you, what I'm inviting you to do is flip the script so that you focus on how you feel first, trusting that then the things that you've been putting off forever are either going to get done in beautiful timing, with great energy, or you're going to realize that they don't need to get done, or you're going to find a different way to do them or, or, or right, something magical is going to happen.
But here's what I'm going to tell you is that if there's something that you are absolutely dreading and you spend the time really focusing on those pillars of Radical Self-Belief-- We'll get to discernment in just one minute. I know that I haven't covered that yet. If you spend time in that DFSTAG; if you spend time honoring your humanity with grace, with faith, with non-judgmental acceptance, you identify and do the things that tend to your spirit - y'all, the dread dissipates.
You don't have to force yourself into it. You really don't. And, that right there, right? This is why we get to call it Radical Self-Belief. Like, it is radical and it is, you feel like you've been handed the keys to the world, like, ‘oh my God, why has no one told me this before?’ Yeah. Yeah. It's amazing. You're welcome. So, discernment, y'all, what about discernment?
And, when do we get to bring discernment in? And, I want to also be talking about this for any of y'all who are like, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah, Tiffany, that's great that you could go and take a nap, but what about; I'm taking care of kids, I can't take a nap, or my boss won't let me take a nap, or all of those things.’ And, that's when you get to use discernment.
And, that's when it's really important to say, what's going on here? What can I control? What can't I control? Do I just need to change my environment? Do I need to take a sick day? Do I need to ask for help? Do I need to call in a favor? Do I need to say I can't get this podcast out this week? Right? Do I need to allow myself to be late? Do I need to recalibrate different expectations of myself? Do I need to give myself the grace to say, I can't do this in time?
Or do I need to like change the diaper? Diapers sometimes need to get changed. And, if that is the case, it's not just about, ‘no, I just have to power-through this time,’ because listen, y'all, that like, ‘no, I just have to power-through this time,’ that becomes this nonstop tape in our heads. ‘Just be careful, be careful, be careful.’
I want you to hear that when you start running through those patterns, it's just, ‘be careful. No, no, no. Be careful. Tiffany says, be careful. Be careful.’ Just hear me in your head. Discernment means that you have to know that there are different options. Grace means that you have to give yourself the space to like choose the option that might feel like letting someone down if it keeps you in integrity with yourself.
There's nothing wrong with saying, “I need help.” There's nothing wrong with saying, “I need a few more days.” There's nothing wrong with saying, “Not right now.” There's nothing wrong with that. Now, that doesn't mean that other people's expectations, [laughs] aren't going to, aren't going to be confused.
Or often, what I have noticed is that when other people are just counting on you to be the person who over delivers all the time, they might be very confused at first; ‘What do you mean you're not, but I thought that's what you've always done?’ So, sometimes we get to invite in boundaries, yay, or a limit. Sometimes we need to ask someone else to step up.
There's sometimes what people say is like, ‘well, I know that if I don't do it, someone else is going to have to do it.’ Yeah. Okay. Right? We get to trust in like the ebb and flow of the universe and the regenerative nature of the universe. And that, if we were to stop killing our planet, it could heal.
And, if you were to stop pushing yourself beyond your capacity, you could heal, which means that you would then be able to show up if somebody else didn't have the capacity to do something. But what we have to also trust is that if we are at hitting a wall, that doesn't mean that everyone around us is also hitting a wall. Sometimes they might.
But again, how unsustainable are all these conditions within which we're operating if that's the case, right? This happens a lot with organizations and employers, where like, there is just a huge culture of burnout and everybody's burnt-out.
And, ‘well, if I don't do it, no one else can because they're all burnt out. So, I might as well bear the brunt.’ But like, that is something where it's like, this is unsustainable. Like, this is not going to last. And, it doesn't feel great, but like, that's when is probably time for you to see what else is available, right?
Start looking outside of that organization because it might keep going on for quite a long time, but it's not going to work if it's contingent on people being completely burnt out to be successful and to operate the way that they need to, DFSTAG, y'all, Discernment, Faith, Spirit-Tending, Acceptance, Grace. Hitting a wall, you hit a wall. Step one, you try not to hit it.
You slow down, and you try to notice it before you approach it. Step two; if you do hit it, you accept that you've hit it. Ask yourself some questions, figure out what you really need without judgment. You have faith that you're not always going to be just standing in front of that wall. You give yourself the grace to not have this mean anything about you and your value and your worth.
And then, you tend to your spirit so that you can recover, right? Not just get back to normal. And then, I'm going to scratch that, y'all. And then, you tend to your spirit so that you can find restoration. Isn't just about recovery, get back to normal, get back to baseline. This is about giving yourself energy that's expansive.
That's beyond just bare minimum into something deeper and greater and more generative. And then, you get to be like, ‘okay, what's next? What now?’ And, I promise y'all I want you to try it. I know, yeah, yeah, yeah. It sounds like, great. Listen, give it a go. Put it into practice because this can change everything.
This is part of what we get to do in Grown-Up Gap Year is spend an entire year playing with these pillars with real-life things that show up for us, slowing down just enough to notice, get into it. And then, what you always find is like, ‘oh yeah, it's magical. It's in, everything else kind of gets done. But I feel amazing.’ Right? We're releasing that dread.
So, there you go. True story of hitting a wall. What you do about it? Play some UNO, y'all. UNO is fun. They've also changed the rules since I was a kid, which makes it much easier to play now; if you want to talk about UNO rules, you let me know. I feel like kids these days have it real easy compared to the way that we played UNO.
Thank you all for being here. You're amazing. I am so honored and grateful to you that we get to have these conversations. And, if this sparked anything, please let me know. Probably the biggest thing that I miss from being off Instagram this year is just getting to hear from people. So, if this sparked anything and you want to send me a quick note, you can do that on my contact form.
Or if there's any questions that show up for you that you're like, ‘oh, answer this, Tiffany,’ there is also a spot that you can submit those and I will answer them in future episodes. Thank you so much. You're amazing. I'll talk to you soon.
Tiffany Han: Thank you for listening. And, if you liked what you heard, please be sure to tell a friend or spread the word about the show. In addition to that, ratings and reviews make a huge difference in helping me get my work into the ears of other people. So, thank you for everybody who has done that. And, thank you for everyone who is about to do that right now. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Also, don't forget about my free five-day Radical Delight kickstart, my private five-day podcast that is designed to help you infuse your days with Delight as quickly and easily as possible. The Tiffany Han Show is a production of Say Yes Creative LLC with editing and sound mixing from Podcast Edition; and post-production and ongoing support from Jaz Zepatos, Her Podcast Club. Thank you again for listening, and I'll see you next week.
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