declaring email bankruptcy, Ina Garten Fortune Women's Summit 2015, knowing when to quit, lighten up your spiritual practice, spiritual bankruptcy, spiritual practice fatigue, taking the pressure off your spiritual practice
“I was 50 years old, and I thought the best years of my career were over.”
That’s a discouraging statement for anyone. Imagine speaking those words if you had spent years creating a multi-million dollar business.
In the August series, Not Feeling It, we’ve been tackling burnout and exhaustion. Technology overwhelm has become so commonplace that some people have coined the term “declaring bankruptcy.” Well, not in the financial sense, but with the same sweeping decisiveness. Like a checking account gone terribly wrong, you can announce that you’ve chosen to delete your entire mailbox rather than sorting through thousands of emails. The merits of this decision are debatable, but it’s undoubtedly a fresh start.
In an interview at the Fortune Women’s Summit 2015, Ina Garten detailed her somewhat bumpy career in the food business. In spite of her success, a lot of worthwhile experiments required a hard second look. A few even merited bankruptcy.
Buying the Barefoot Contessa started as a lark after years of working at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, DC. Ina spent most evenings trying new recipes for her husband, Jeffrey. Weekends were filled entertaining friends. In spite of the stability accounting offered, the thought of being in a 9-5 government job for the rest of her life got a quick response of “no way”.
Ina had never wanted to go into the catering business. Taking it on seemed unthinkable since Jeffrey was beginning to complain that the runaway success of the store meant that she didn’t spend enough time with him. However, when a customer insisted money was no object, Jeffrey changed his tune. “Do it, do it!” he exclaimed. So she catered weekend after weekend until she decided it was too much work for the nominal financial return. Another liquidation.
Then there was the line of grocery products. She thought grocery store managers would welcome frozen and ready-to-eat products made with high quality ingredients. Instead, she slowly learned that the high margin returns were made on products like large, cheap pizzas. The grocery product line became another “it made sense at the time” investment that came and went quickly.
Award winning record producer Charlie Peacock has a unique perspective on the creative process: “It’s not just about creativity. It’s about the person you’re becoming while you’re creative.” Maybe you’ve lost your enthusiasm for something not because you’re failing, but because it’s no longer relevant. Reaching true success often requires changing your perception about what matters as you change. You may not reach your initial goal, but think of all the traits you’ve picked up along the way. Wisdom. Good humor in the face of difficult circumstances. Resiliency. That sounds like a person worth knowing. Mission accomplished.
Accept the challenge of using the Soul Boss qualities of discernment and courage to take a second look at what’s working for you. This could be the week to think on your feet and overhaul your priorities as Ina Garten did. Feeling apathetic and unmotivated? You might need to declare bankruptcy.