“One last question.” She paused. ” When does it get easier?”
For a good hour we’d been reviewing her goals, timelines, and action steps. An energetic entrepreneur, she’d left her grueling well-paid job at the insurance company to strike out on her own. Despite the pandemic, she’d managed to pay down debt, have a steady stream of clients, and develop a reputation as a brilliantly insightful consultant.
But in this moment, life wasn’t feeling easier. She recently recovered from a surgery, had a niece newly diagnosed with cancer, and was implementing new software for her business. She was worn out and overwhelmed.
I resisted the hollow words of “someday”, “eventually”, and “in time.”
“Let’s talk about that next time,” I said.
For years it never occurred to me that life could or perhaps even should be easier. If I began to think my life was hard, I didn’t have to look far to see how good I had it. My mother had 8 children; I had two. My sister went blind while she was on the brink of fulfilling her dream of a teaching career; I had work I loved. Why did I think my life should be easier?
When I began my law career, initially I had too few clients and too little money. Then too much work and still too little money. Eventually it was too much work and too little time.
For years I slept too little, laughed too little, and worked too much. Life was exhausting.
Until I believed it was okay for my life to be easier, I did not consider how I could try to make it so. Instead of comparing my life to others who suffered more (or being filled with envy of those I imagined living on Easy Street), I had to tell the truth about my choices.
The truth was that I was lousy at letting in support. A longtime solo practitioner, my ego resisted admitting that I was incapable of always doing it all on my own. Now my legal team is twenty.
My ego also insisted I prove l was hardworking. Attempting to impress my imaginary boss, I ignored the essentials of a small morning workout and meditation. Now I don’t.
Challenges never go away. Some I choose, like committing to a big writing project. Others show up unexpectedly, like my oldest son being crushed in that car crash a few months ago. With each opportunity, I try to ask how it might be made easier. I no longer see ease as a sin.
When I see my client next, I’ll have more questions than answers: What would an easier life look like, and where shall we start to help you get there?