I’m a natural extrovert, but lately it may not seem that way.
For myself, there’s nothing better than sitting among a small circle of women, connecting deeply over universal truths, and laughing so hard tears run down our cheeks.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be included. A part of the action. In the know. When I first heard of the term FOMO—fear of missing out—I recognized it intimately. Life has handed me numerous invitations for which I’m grateful. Frankly, up until the last 2.5 years, I’ve said “yes” to almost every offer that came my way.
So what’s different now?
I’m no longer using distractions—which is what those invitations were—to cover up my lack of fulfillment. For decades I’d convinced myself that my corporate career was good enough and that I shouldn’t complain. I had a VP title, I traveled to exotic places like Dubai, Amsterdam, Brazil, and Mexico and I went back and forth across the US collecting thousands of airline miles. I presented to CEOs and my clients liked me. Even my colleagues liked me. It was easy to convince myself to stay, and so I stayed for a good long while. It wasn’t that I hated my corporate life; I was actually kind of good at it and that made it hard to leave. My work was meaningful, just not to me.
A year before I left, I remember sitting outside in our Colorado backyard after dinner telling my husband Randy that it was time for a new chapter. That I needed to move into the health and wellness space. That I didn’t know how I’d make it work, but that it was my calling, and that I had to go all in. I asked Randy to give me three years to figure things out and to find my way.
Since then, I’ve spent the last 2.5 years saying no to almost every invitation that’s crossed my path. Not only do I have to, but I want to.
Pursuing my dreams has pushed me to embrace a concept I learned from reading the late Will Marre’s work, a concept called “Know, No, Yes.” This concept allows me to live a life much more aligned with my purpose, passion, and goals.
Here’s how it works:
“Know” your purpose, say “no” to the many different things that do not align to it and say “yes” to the very few things that do.
Do I miss out on things? Absolutely. But I’ve learned to find the joy in that. I can’t focus on everything or I won’t accomplish what I deeply want to accomplish—helping thousands of women grow healthy and live fully. This newfound JOMO—joy of missing out— is increasing my happiness because it’s enabling me to actually walk toward something I treasure by walking away from things that in their most honest light serve as distractions.
What I refuse to give up? My non-negotiables—things like my boys’ Saturday soccer games, inspiration from church on Sundays, listening to the latest business and health podcasts while walking my dog Lulu everyday, a weekly challenging mountain bike ride, healthy nutrient-dense food on the table each evening and as many snuggles my three boys—Randy, Cole and Will Riley, will allow me.
Otherwise I’m working. I’m working every evening after the boys go to bed. I’m working on Saturdays and Sundays as well. Before you think I’m not efficient, remember that I pivoted less than three years ago. It won’t always be this way. I’m just now getting traction. Real traction. The first year out of Corporate I was back in school getting my certification. My second year was really learning how to master the craft of health coaching. And now? Well I’ve got 6 irons in the fire and I have a really good feeling about all of them. When I left my job I told my husband I’d go back to Corporate after 3 years if “things” didn’t work out. Guess what? It’s working out. Word of mouth is spreading. I’m getting my simple message out. Because of this I have clients who are feeling better and looking better than they have in years.
Clarity comes from action. Intentional action. The things I’ve walked away from? Parties, Netflix and the nightly news. I’m saying no to wine, to frequent girl’s nights, to long conversations that are incredibly fun but go nowhere.
It’s minimalism to me so it makes sense.
My dear friend Heather of Life and Whim mentioned to me last month, “If you spread yourself too wide you shorten the distance you can go.” I’ve taken her words to heart and am focused on going the distance. Saying “no” no longer takes discipline because the reward is so great. JOMO is allowing me to live a bigger life that inspires others. The joy I feel moving toward my potential is exhilarating. I’m no longer looking for happiness outside of me. I have a clear vision of who and how I want to be. I’m still an extravert who loves getting together in beloved community, but at this point in my life, I choose to be selective knowing that my sabbatical from accepting (most) invitations won’t last forever.
About the Author:Heather Aardema is a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, life enthusiast, and blogger who resides in Wheat Ridge, CO with her husband and two young boys. You can find her inspiring clients to grow healthy and live fully at RootofWellbeing.com.