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Work enough. And that’s all.

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

I mentioned last week that I gave up the idea of accomplishing All My Great Ideas for releasing the book. Today’s the official day, by the way—it’s now a book that can be in anyone’s home. It’s been about two years in the making, so it fills me with both an even mix of utter panic and a sweet sigh of relief that it’s out in the wild. …It’s done. It’s here.

People asked me all day yesterday how I was holding up, and that’s when I realized I was actually doing… well, great. For some reason, last week was much more panic-inducing than this week. I think it’s because it’s here now, we’re pulling back the curtain; it’s show time. I used the analogy last week about those last few days and weeks before your wedding; how it feels like that. Well, this is now wedding week—it’s here, and I just want to have fun with it.

Here’s what’s crazy about all this—in the Work section of my book, I share my experience of trying to do too much, of being more than I really am, and that once I embraced the true parts of me, I was able to finally slow down and actually enjoy my work. When I stopped trying to be someone else, or apologize for me being me, then I was fully released into working smart and not hard.

Truly understanding my element (that place where my passions and skills collide) meant I could shut my laptop at the end of each workday, not fretting about all the work still left to do. I could live more in balance, without feeling like I always had to strive to do more, be more, be better, The Best. I could just be… me.

Your time is limited. Don't waste it living someone else's life. -Steve Jobs

It boils down to the concept of “enough”—that place where you work in order to have what you need, financially and otherwise. King Solomon, before he went wonkadoo, described the idea of “enough” like this in the book of Proverbs: “Give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little. If I’m too full, I might get independent, saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’ If I’m poor, I might steal and dishonor the name of my God” (Message translation).

Studies have shown that being lifted out of poverty to a livable income indeed increases your overall happiness, but that the difference in happiness between a $75,000 and a $750,000 annual income is nil. More money ceases to yield a better life after a certain point.

I think this is true, too, about work satisfaction. Moving from a job that just doesn’t fit to a job that really taps in to your skills and passions increases satisfaction in your whole life, but working nonstop to become the “best” in your field doesn’t really yield you any more peace.

And that’s what I’m about, really—living a life that makes sense. A peaceful, satisfying life where my work makes sense, because it lines up with our family’s passions and values. Where we’re able to live slower, because we’re not trying to be The Best. I’m just trying to work my best in the work I’ve been called to do. And because of that, I can sleep at night.

I’m not perfect at it, by any means. My personality requires regular reminders that it’s okay that I didn’t get everything done I wanted, that other peoples’ success isn’t a threat, and that focusing on what’s best for my family matters more than how everyone else around defines success. But knowing that my big picture goal of “enough” helps me on this journey. And it’s a lovely journey at that.

What do you think?

If you’d like to share your thoughts about slowing down and enjoying life’s ride, however that looks for you, feel free to add your link here! (Here are a few post prompts, if you’d like some.)

(Don’t forget—you can get these fun freebies if you order Blue Bike this week, and Thomas Nelson is giving away a trip to DisneyWorld here!)

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Comments

  1. Hi I was exited to read your new book and wanted to get an ebook but could not buy it from Iceland. Do you know if it will be availble for international buyers?

    • You know, I’m not sure. But I’ve asked the publisher, and I’ll let you know as soon as they get back to me! Thanks, Ally.

  2. Congratulatiooooooooooons!

    Marvelous book!!! It was a privilege to be part of the happy few who read it before, but now’s the BIG day and everyone can read it!

    Enjoy and have a GREAT Austin party (:

  3. This is a very timely post. As we quickly approach the 18 month mark with my daughter, I have realized I’ve become a little obsessive about tasks. Like I’m always trying to be ten miles ahead of the ball. I have a feeling that even if I had everything checked off on my to-do list (ha! when’s the last time I made one of those!) I would add 50 more things to it and still feel like I’d fallen behind. I’m hoping the practice of working enough doesn’t take 18 months to get used to but I think closing the laptop and turning things off is an important thing to live and pass on to my daughter.

    Thank you for writing and excited to start the book!

  4. The big day has arrived! I too loved getting to read your book a little early. The work section in particular was so timely for us as we consider what route we take to full time ministry. Working in a job we feel called to and passionate about is something we really desire, but I still worry at times about having ‘enough’ to live off. Your book has helped me to redefine ‘enough’ and I now feel I have a bit more courage to continue on our journey. Thank you.

  5. I got my copy yesterday and opened it with the intention of just reading the intro. I had to force myself to put it down, so I can digest it in little pieces at a time. It really speaks to me, and I’m so looking forward to reading more!

  6. Thanks for the linkup! This is going to sound funny, but you remind me of my pastor because you always know exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it. Thank you!

  7. One of my resolutions for 2014 is to be myself and to stop stressing so much. I think to simply enjoy myself and “work enough” is a great step for me. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the book! :)

  8. Viktor Frankl wrote a book called Mans Search for Meaning. He talks about how in Auschwitz the ones who made it through were the ones that had meaning in their lives. (mostly the religious ones there) and that having meaning in your life is what makes someone truly happy

  9. Yes! Remembering that Enough includes not being threatened by others’ success. That is a huge one for me. Great post. Congratulations on the book!

  10. I can relate to this so much.

    Just today I turned down a marketing effort for my photography business. I typed out the words, “I’m a mama, and right now I’m trying to contain my growth, because for me- word of mouth has given me the right pace for my business in this moment in my life.”

    It felt really good telling someone that! True to me and my family. Some people are shocked when I say that. And THAT is true happiness!

  11. avatar
    Angela Knoll says:

    I lived the hurried lifestyle before children, and it was exciting and exhilarating and it made me feel important. I wanted to experience it all and do everything. My motto was “Carpe Diem”! And then the little ones arrived and everywhere you turn, they remind you that the babies grow up and move on and our time with them is so precious. So accomplishing everything doesn’t matter anymore. I could care less about the competition of our children as long as they are happy and I get to be apart of that happiness. So because of our children, we have done less and signed them up for less and spent less. Our schedules belong to our family and no one else. Our days and weekends are filled with walks, books, puzzles and meals. I am very proud to join in the “Don’t Do” list because for a few years now, my New Year’s resolution is to keep the status quo of happy, healthy and peaceful.

  12. I honestly think after a few major steps in life you can realize that having enough is enough. The biggest is making sure your take care of you and your family first the second biggest is getting out of debt. I am stepping at a steady pace these days. I long to just take a leisurelys stroll, but know in my heart my time will come.

    Peace

  13. Picked the book up at 5:00 and currently on page 77. Read through my workout. Fantastic so far!

  14. Your book arrived in my mailbox today! I’m so excited–both for you and for myself :).

    Your’s was one of the first blogs I started reading. I do so hope you will be stopping in the Chicagoland area for your book tour. I would love to meet you and chat (and have you sign my copy of the book!)

    Congratulations!

  15. Congrats on the book! That is really wonderful. Love this post, it’s all about balance, isn’t it? I tend to go one way or the other….get lax about things, or work ’til all hours of the morning. Crazy!

  16. Thank you so much for this post. I made a big change a the end of last year and was feeling some regret this morning about an opportunity I missed due to the move. I was feeling ashamed about not climbing to be the best!

    Anxiously awaiting the shipment of my book :)

  17. I’m excited you are coming to Rogers! Hope I can make it up there to meet you.

  18. As someone that works outside the home, this spoke volumes to me. I know ALL mothers struggle with getting it all done, and I feel the pressure everyday. I only get a couple hours with my children most days and I have to daily make the decision of whether or not I’m going to read books to them or fold laundry; make dinner or color; play dolls or clean the bathroom. And it doesn’t end there, I need community too, so I have been very intentional with my time away from home that doesn’t involve work. I try to only go out once a week in the evenings and some weeks that is really hard to tell my friends no.
    This post gave me such encouragement. Can’t wait to read the book! Thank you!

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