I spent my last session of Accountability Works focused on joy. I found that the number one thing preventing me from experiencing joy was not being present. I was too busy to be present. I was rushed. Multitasking. I was making the mistake of equating being busy with being enough. I was finding my value in it.

It’s actually scary to make an effort to do less. The messaging I’ve received is do more, produce, succeed. Go, go, go. I knew it would be good for me to slow down, good for my marriage, great for my kids, but would my business suffer? Was I being selfish or lazy?

Something deep inside told me, “you have to fix this Ali. You have a great life and yet you spend way too much time feeling sad, disconnected, and lonely. It doesn’t fit with who you are anymore. You have to allow yourself to feel your happiness.”

So selfish or not, business suicide or not, I focused on bringing joy to my day to day. I allowed myself to have an easier schedule. I took dance classes and yoga classes. I saw an acupuncturist. I listened to more music than I have in years. I travelled. I spent quality time with family and friends. All things that brought me and kept me in the present. I allowed myself these things, and this is the key, without guilt or regret.

Some funny things happened. I actually started to appreciate my quirky self. I started to pinpoint and then take the thought, “this is bad” or “I’m bad” out of my internal dialogue. I felt better, even confident in my mothering. That’s usually a big source of self-doubt for me. I got creative in my business and started exploring new streams of income. I expanded my current partnerships and increased my total number of clients. But most of all I had fun, lots and lots of fun.

My two-year old said to me the other day, “Mama, are you happy?” I said, “Yes, I’m so happy.” She said, “I’m happy too.” She didn’t know it but in that moment she was the voice of the universe affirming me.

Taking a pause to intentionally enjoy your life, means taking your focus off the future, it takes slowing down, it takes being present. I hope you if you aren’t already making that effort, that you decide to now.