Making the shift: From Workaholic to Creating Joy In Life

Everything you have ever wanted, is sitting on the other side of fear. (1).png

This summer I’ve earned the nickname “Camp Director Dani” from my husband.  As the days grow shorter the sense of urgency to pack in as much fun increases.  How many bodies of water can I find to explore, swim and paddleboard?  

There are berries to pick, concerts in the park and endless family bike rides that Must… Be… Taken… Do NOT waste a drop of that precious sunshine.

I’m exploring my new home in Oregon with the same curiosity and wonder as my children.  With every outing, I fall more in love with this beautiful region.  

This has been a summer like no other. 

The satisfaction of seeing my kids sleeping in the car as we head home from a day out is true parental satisfaction.  Almost makes me feel like I’m winning in this game of parenting. (only for a moment, until they wake up when we arrive home with their second wind.  Ugh)

Asleep while adventuring....

Asleep while adventuring....

You may be ready to punch me in the face with all the lovey dovey talk.  These things are the highlight reel. So much good stuff going on. But my reality is that I’m doing these adventures with my kiddos (7, 5 and 2). And that two year old, bless his heart, is giving me a run for my money.  So in addition to the blissful beach play there are tantrums, whining and sibling fights.

But overall I can’t deny that this summer has been pretty stellar.  

The truth is that I feel like I’m making up for lost time.  

This water loving girl spent many summers working all the time, with no relaxation and play.

I’m not exaggerating.  My husband and I owned a coffee shop and roastery in a tourist town on Lake Superior for eight years.  Our peak season was the summer and I was known to say things like “you gotta make hay while the sun shines.”  My midwest work ethic kicked in and I worked my ass off, assuming that the only way to make my business succeed was to work more.  

We lived on the shore of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; a stunningly beautiful area with world class sea kayaking and sailing on Lake Superior.  There are 20+ islands off the shore, some with lighthouses and sea caves and all with awe inspiring natural beauty.

I’m embarrassed to tell you that in the eight years we lived there we never went sailing.  

I think we kayaked once.  

Our seasonal staff would do more in the three months they would work for us than we did in years.  I lived there for 4 years before swimming in Lake Superior.  (I feel like I'm in confession.) What the hell?!   I grew up on a lake and one of my favorite things in life is water, swimming and boating.  

How did this water loving girl become an exhausted workaholic?

Perspective is powerful and as I reflect on that time I wish I could tell myself to find more joy. Build fun into my weekly schedule.  That working more wasn't always the answer.   

Was the business I was working so hard to build going to create a life that I wanted?

I was so thick in the weeds I couldn't even stop and ask myself these questions.  I didn’t look up long enough to see all that was passing right in front of me.

As the years went on I started to become bitter.  I worked all the time while others were out playing.  I remember so vividly a Saturday night out with friends (Saturday was always our busiest day of the week). Everyone had just come off the water, either sailing or kayaking, enjoying a day of sun, beaches and swimming.   I had just gotten done working a 12 hour day on my feet, serving customers and managing staff.  Hearing their playful conversations I had deep unsettle feeling rise up.  

What had happened to me?

This is not the life I wanted.  
I was so burnt out.  Feeling jealous, bitter and sad.  What had I created?!  

I was at a point where I had to make some decisions.  

I didn’t want to live this way.  

I wanted weekends off, time with my friends and family.  To be in a space mentally where I could truly relax and enjoy my life. 

It can be so intense when we realize our business is not serving us the way we want.  We are faced with real challenges.  We have to dig deep and make some hard decisions as to which direction we want to go. 

How do we shift the balance from doing something that drains us to something that lights us up and fuels us?  

I spent the next few years working to shift that balance.  To create more time and freedom in my life to explore and play more.  To have more fun at work.  We made numerous big decisions in our business to create these changes.   Some with their own challenges and ah-has (I’ll save that for another post ;)

Fast forward to today and I have found not balance, but fullness.  I don't really believe you can have balance with two businesses under one roof and three kids.  But you can have a fullness that is abundant in love, connection and expereinces.   

Enjoying a zoo concert.  Pure Joy!

Enjoying a zoo concert.  Pure Joy!

I lead with the desire to create a life that brings joy and adventure both in my personal life and my business life.  

I don’t take this lightly as I know what the opposite feels like.

Sometimes adventure shows up as a short family bike ride or a morning of berry picking.
This month I’m taking Fridays off for extra adventures and to soak in a little bit more summer.
I’m incorporating fun into my work for both me and my clients, including a ropes course on Mt. Hood that I am giddy about.  

What I’m noticing is that when I show up to my work after giving myself space to play I have more focus, more clarity, and more ideas for how to create the life I want.  

Amazing ideas and breakthroughs can happen when you provide the time and space for them to unfold.  

Be patient, explore and enjoy.  


- Dani

What do you do for adventure and fun in your business and life?
Do things need to shift for you or your business?  

If this strikes a chord with you and you’re questioning if your business is helping you build a life you love, lets chat.  I’d love to see if we can work together to build something that makes you exclaim, “Hell Yes!”

Click here to shoot me an email and set up a time to chat.