It's official: Cuba is the best place to unplug... because there is no plug. Internet is hard to come by.
So instead, I sat on the Malecón for days, staring at the Gulf of Mexico, contemplating the paradox of how close (geographically) and how far Cuba is from North America.
Havana, Cuba 2016 © Ellany Lea
I sat and sat, thought and though of you. I poured over hundreds and hundreds of journal entries and client notes to cross-reference, dissect and pair down the universal tools that enable women overachievers to reset and feel free while on the journey to freedom. Not just when they've become financially and emotionally free.
I thought I'd end up with a list of 50+ tips and tricks. Turns out, there are only 5. So simple that you may not do them.
1. Pay back sleep debt
I am 100% sure you are, or have been, in sleep debt.
Research shows teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep. I slept 5 hours a night from ages 14-23. So I owe abut 14,600 hours of sleep.
Young adults need 7-8 hours of sleep. I slept 6.5 hours a night from ages 24-29. So I owe about 2,190 hours of sleep.
If every day from now, I slept an extra hour on top of the required 8 hours, it'll take me (linearly speaking) 46 years to pay off my sleep debt. Aaaaaahhhh! Thankfully awe (aka travel) and meditation (especially 10-day silent meditation retreats) can shave decades off that debt!
Having experimented with sleep research for the last decade, I can promise you this: the leaps you fear, the adventures you're not having, the fictitious catastrophes you worry about, they all melt away when you've paid off your sleep debt.
2. Know your saboteur voices
Once you take your Saboteur Assessment, you'll get to know your 8 saboteurs. If you're reading this, I bet your top 3 self-sabotaging voices are: Stickler (perfectionist), Restless, and Hyperachiever. Maybe toss in Controller in there ;)
You will begin to see how often your inner saboteurs have hijacked your decisions. You may even have a nervous breakdown like I did.
That's ok. Breakdowns lead to breakthroughs.
Your job is to discern based on visceral, somatic, body sensations who is talking. Then you get to choose who you listen to.
For the most comprehensive guide on saboteurs, read Shirzah Chamine's book, Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential and get yourself a "name that saboteur" buddy to call each other out.
3. Create your Olympic team
To counter your inner saboteurs, you create an inner Olympic team. This team of champions is part fictional, part real. They include your mentors, coaches, psychotherapists, nutritionists, acupuncturists, chiropactors, shamans, etc. Whomever brings out the best in you.
Concurrently, you invent name an inner team of angels, goofy characters, wise spirits, goofy that ignite the best in you. For example, my inner Olympic team members are:
- curtwheel raindrop: reminds me to have fun and play
- man on stilts: sees the bigger picture from up high and takes one easy leap to get to where I want to go
- light of love: a warm glowing light that wraps me in grace
- knees: reminds me to drop to my knees and activate feelings of gratitude
To counter your saboteur team of 8, you'll need a powerful Olympic team of 16.
Be ultra discerning about friends and family!!! Do not take marriage advice from single friends/family. Do not take business advice from non-entrepreneurs. Do not take parenting advice from non-parents. Do not take health advice from sickly people. Do not take travel advice from passport-less fear mongers.
For the most comprehensive guide on building your inner Olympic team, listen to Caroline Myss's audiobook, Entering the Castle: Exploring Your Mystical Experience of God and create yourself a champion team of 16 today!
4. Talk kindly to yourself
Of the original list of 50+ tips and tricks to reset and feel free, 70% of them were variations of self-compassion. In its simplest form, self-compassion is practicing loving kindness toward ourselves as we would toward someone we genuinely loved.
No more calling ourselves lazy for resting after decades of unrelenting hard work.
No more calling ourselves inadequate for not having reached the income level of our male counterparts.
No more getting yet another degree that we don't need just to feel like we have the right to be in the same arena as men.
No more beating ourselves up with a caveman club for watching 3 seasons of Downton Abbey in a row.
No more calling ourselves shitty leaders for wanting to take a vacation from our business, or from our lives!
For the most comprehensive guide on self-compassion, listen to Kristen Neff's audiobook: Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself and get yourself a kindness accountability buddy to practice with. Because it's a practice. It's like showering. You don't just do it once and call it a day.
5. Left foot, right foot.
Left foot, right foot is also known as grit. Those who succeed aren't the most talented, most well connected or even the brightest. They are the most persistent.
They try, they fail, they get back up. They try, they fail, they get back up. They got grit! They lift their foot and they keep walking.
For the most comprehensive guide on grit, read Angela Duckworth's book: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and get yourself a walking buddy.