Ever since a little girl I knew I wanted to be a business woman. Little did I know about what it actually entails and yet I saw my older self getting into an airplane wearing a red lady suit and high heels.
A few years back, I was doing my Christmas shopping in Hong Kong. Under a huge Christmas tree I realized my dream of my younger self. The little girl was shouting : “wow, Christmas shopping in Hong Kong” Running your 2 businesses! You did it!”
Yep, I did that, and with all the clients, deadlines, meetings, emails. I found my self short and tired all the time. I started some health issues, tackled them only to find I did not spend enough time on my relationship, tackled that only to get a letter from my best man in the company he was leaving. At top of it all, if I took a holiday I would be sick within the first 72 hours.
So there I was living my dream and it sucked the juice out of me. Struggling to keep all the balls in the air and living on short term wins. Exhausting.
Luckily there is a greats aisle in every (online) book store on time management and systems to keep your self in check. Reading and implementing what I learned helped. I got more clear on what I was lacking. Got a list of massive lists of things to do. I knew what I wanted for the various sections of my life.
I committed on getting the important things of my list. Worked hard and harder. Got shit done and at the end of every day I still fell exhausted. With that every morning I felt guilty about the things I did not do. Got my lists together, delegated a shit load and went back in the ring for another round.
Yep I got things done Executed like a pro. And I felt drained. Still no good solution.
I did something wrong.
To top it all up for an extra challenge one of the companies took a nose dive. It triggered anxiety, and maybe a mild form of depression.
At the bottom when things started to fall apart, my mother suddenly passed. It hit me hard. After flying back home to arrange the funeral together with my brother, my mind had left me. I was falling in a deep hole and I had to get my self together or get lost forever.
I sat down and wrote 3 things I’m grateful for.. I knew it would put my mind in a different gear.
Then 1 write 3 things I hoped would happen today, 3 good things. The feeling of putting good hope out there, gave a smile.
then, the hardest part, forcing to write down 8 ideas about what a new business would look like. My mind was really not up to that, put it brought another feeling of creativity to me. Ideas are what you need in order to see light at the end of the tunnel.
While I was still sitting there I decided I have to do at least 3 things very day. There were days that 1- getting out of bed, 2 make myself presentable, 3- act human were to best things I could do. Still now in more flow like states, I do not more that 3 major things in a day.
What I realized also I had to stay out of harms way, so writing down the small things that could bring bigger trouble in a later state had to be tackled at the beginning, or at least visible. Hence, organize the small to make way for the big.
Then I came up with the idea that I had to stay sociable. When in despair I tend to disconnect. I had to reach out stay in touch, stay human.
At the end of the day I would want to sit down and think about what went well of amazing, a kind phone call, a smile from a stranger. As I kept going this every day, I’ve found my mind starter registering more and more of these small acts of grace and kindness
Last but so important, What did I mess up, that could not happen any more. Not knowing, I can handle, not learning to improve is a personal mistake. So I wrote down what I learned.
In the early days after the funeral, I sat down every day, did this exercise and it kept me real. When things got less dark, I kept doing it. Because it brings me power over what I want and appreciation for what I encounter.
The Daily Planner was born.
How I got the name, At Win? Well that is a thank you to my brother, his name is Edwin. Pronounced the same.
He is my example of somebody who always has his sh*t together.