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Success Advice

Stop Glorifying “Busy” and Sabotaging Your Goals



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When was the last time you spontaneously met a friend for coffee? If you’re anything like I used to be, you probably can’t remember when. You’re likely rushing from appointment to appointment, digital calendar and planner in hand… and you’re looking at least three months ahead if you want to squeeze a friend in. Am I right?

If I was to make a guess, I’d say you also probably aren’t working toward the goals and achievements that are highest on your bucket list, either. Somehow you haven’t found time between your job (your boss can’t do without you), your volunteer work (if you don’t do it, it probably won’t get done!) and everything else you’re supposed to be doing.

Being busy makes us feel important and needed. But by saying “yes” to everything, we are also actively sabotaging ourselves, our dreams, and our goals—damaging our mental and physical wellbeing and distracting ourselves from what we really, truly want. 

What is self-sabotage?

Self-sabotage manifests as any thought or behaviour that keeps you from achieving your goals and reaching your vision of success.

For many of us, being busy and focusing on checking off items from those to-do lists pumps up our feelings of self-worth while also distracting us from engaging in meaningful self-care practices. We block ourselves from achieving authentic success by committing to senseless, unfulfilling distractions, day in and day out. This often results in physical symptoms and exhaustion that don’t seem to have a direct cause. 

I used to be one of those people who were so booked up I had to schedule coffee dates three months out. I was always rushing from A to B to Z, crashing hard at night, and then doing it all over again the next day. I tried to be everything to everyone and I defined how good my day was by the number of tasks crossed off on my to-do list.

Although my bosses loved my proactive “get-stuff-done” attitude and I thought my behaviour made me super successful, eventually my body began to suffer. I experienced chronic migraines that derailed my life for days at a time. I was perpetually tired, and I was sick from nausea nearly every day. 

The final straw came when I was eating my third dinner in a row in my car. Surrounded by crushed-up napkins and nauseous with indigestion, I decided something really needed to change. Enough was enough.

“It is not enough to be busy. The question is: what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

Ditching Your Self-Sabotaging Behavior

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that we are engaging in destructive patterns. This isn’t surprising, as often it’s our subconscious brain running the show. Although our conscious brain may identify a want or need, there is often a deep-seated subconscious barrier telling us, “This isn’t safe and I don’t like it. Retreat! Retreat!” 

But by becoming aware of this thought pattern and making a few fundamental shifts, we can break through this resistance and change our unproductive behaviour.

1. Schedule fewer events and stop rushing from one thing to the next

I know, I know, this is so obvious, but if you are an overscheduler like I used to be, you need to consciously figure out where you can leave gaps in your schedule. Actress Kate Walsh (of Grey’s Anatomy fame) refers to this as a “ventilated schedule” and I love that term. This practice is essential and yet it’s also not easy.

Make room for downtime in your calendar to recalibrate and reflect (Sundays work well for me), and then—most importantly—do not schedule anything during those times! If anyone asks you to do something or go somewhere, you can tell them that you have a prior commitment (which you do—to yourself!).

2. Only say “Yes” to things in alignment with your goals and values

Take one of those newly unscheduled gaps in your schedule and sit with yourself for a moment. What do you really, truly want out of your life? What goals do you want to accomplish? Are you taking on tasks because they are important to you, personally? Or are you taking on tasks because you want to make other people happy? With this new knowledge in mind, start saying no to the things that don’t push you along your chosen path.

When we say yes to everything that comes along, we are actually saying no to the things that we do want. We are dividing and diluting our energy instead of focusing it on our true goals. We can’t be our best selves and reach real, sustainable success. And being tired and overbooked ensures we are too busy to celebrate any successes we do achieve. You can help eliminate this problem for yourself by carefully considering where you want to invest your time and energy.

3. Recognize that being “busy” is a cultural problem, not your problem

Our society glorifies being so busy we can’t see straight. We celebrate endless checklists and exhaustion in the hope of being seen as productive and reliable employees, friends, volunteers, and parents. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and change starts with you.

Yes, people will push back on your new-found priorities, and you may even second guess yourself when faced with something that you’d normally say yes to. Trust me—unlearning our old habits takes time. I’ve been working on this for quite a while, and even I fail miserably sometimes! But I also know how to get myself back on track ASAP, and you can do that too.

From Self-Sabotaging to Self-Supporting

The truth is that we have to be our own biggest fans and supporters. Stepping back and slowing down is a life-changing exercise that will be your ticket to more fulfillment, happiness, and career success. And although you’ll still face plenty of roadblocks while working toward your chosen goals, you’ll feel more confident knowing that you’re not the one who put them there.

Alana Ruoso is a Success Coach for Designers and Creatives who know deep down that they can do better, but keep falling short of where they want to go. With humor and honesty, Alana shows them how to ditch the struggle, own their value, and move their career from vanilla success to spectacular triumph. In addition to 20 years of experience as a Graphic Designer, Art Director, and Brand Strategist, Alana is a Life & Executive Coach and is a Mentor with Young Women in Business and the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD). To work with Alana, visit, or dig into her success tips over at

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Success Advice

Mastering Self-Management for Success: Lessons From Peter F. Drucker

With careers no longer following a straight, predictable path, self-awareness and adaptability are essential for success.



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How Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success

Your life is dictated by beliefs and biases that drive your thinking, behaviors, and decisions



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Success Advice

How to Break the Cycles of Mediocrity and Manifest Your Greatness

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity



Image Credit: Midjourney

In just a few weeks, we will be wrapping up 2023. Can you believe it? This year has been absolutely incredible for me.

I have seen amazing doors opened, new relationships formed and I am seeing dreams realized in my life. While this seems like the hallmarks of a great year, this has also been the most challenging year of my life. With all of the change happening in my life, I have been forced out of my comfort zone and challenged to grow in every area of my life.

I can truly say that I have made the most of my moments this year and I have used everything as a catalyst for maximizing my greatest potential.

As a revolutionary leader, I have the pleasure of consulting and advising leaders around the world to fulfill purpose, realize their greatest potential and make an impact.

I want to share some insights with you that will help you to break cycles of mediocrity and manifest your greatness

Everything legal must come through the matrix

I am sure that some of you are wondering why I am using the term matrix. However, what you have to understand is that I am trying to make a highly complex spiritual principle practical to understand.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, every life has an origin and I believe that origin is divine and begins with eternity. You are birthed from eternity and into time to fulfill a unique purpose and assignment in your lifetime and generation.

The matrix is simply the portal or vehicle that brings something out of the invisible realm and into tangible form. The problem with much of the teaching today is that it excludes the matrix. We are told to believe that success is instantaneous and overnight.

Nobody talks about how a dream progresses through stages beginning with visualization and ultimately culminating in manifestation. Without a matrix or portal then everything that you attempt to birth and build will be illegal.

The matrix not only makes you legal but it gives you the authority and power to function as the greatest expression of who you were created to be. 

Every matrix has an incubation process

While many people admire and respect me today, I remember a time when nobody knew who I was or the significance of my message. How did I get to where I am today? I got here through an incubation process.

In other words, everything that has been destined for your life is incubating and awaiting a set time of manifestation. The problem is that most people live their entire lives idle and never initiate the incubation process.

What do I meany by that? Most people are living reckless and very few people are living intentionally. I am amazed at the number of people I have conversations with that have no vision, goals or strategies for their lives. They show great promise and they have undeniable potential.

However, without development they will die with their dreams still in them.

Everything that has been destined for your life must be incubated and converted to become realities born to time. 

“Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin to build.” – Robert Collier

You must give expression to that which is not yet born to time

When you think about a matrix or a prophetic incubation process, you have to understand that potential is often unrealized and untapped. In other words, your potential is in raw form and your potential cannot serve you as long as it is untapped.

The thing that makes me valuable is that I have the ability to convert potential into power. I have done it in my own life and I have empowered leaders around the world to do the same. How do you convert potential into power?

First, it is important to note that you have to perceive potential. If you cannot perceive your potential then you can never cultivate your potential. In addition, you must take the time to cultivate your potential. We often get excited about our capabilities; however, we never expand our capacity in order to realize our greatest potential.

In other words, the strength of your potential is only discovered through your willingness to stretch. The more we are challenged the more we are empowered to expand our capacity for greatness. Most of all, you must begin to express your potential. The expression of potential is different for every person.

For example, the expression of my potential is best demonstrated through the thoughts, ideas, products, services, books, etc.

For another person the expression of potential may look like a screenplay, artwork, sports, scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, etc.

Regardless of the form of expression, I know that you will live empty and unfulfilled until you make the decision to express your potential. The expression of your potential gives voice to your dreams, life to your vision, significance to your moments and activates your true power.

You must manifest your greatness

As a revolutionary thinker and leader, my work has impacted people around the world. I am grateful that my life is a source of empowerment to so many people. However, before anyone could ever benefit from my life, I had to make a non-negotiable decision to become who I was born to be.

I wish I could tell you that this journey is easy and that you will get there overnight. However, in a world that celebrates us for doing we are often criticized for being. As a result, I wasted a lot of time trying to be who other people wanted me to be instead of being who I was born to be.

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity. It is through our bravery to be vulnerable that we ultimately manifest our greatness. We do not bless the world by being a duplicate. We bless the world when we honor our difference. When you honor your difference you honor your potential.

Ultimately, your difference is how you manifest your greatness.

When you present anything but your authentic self to the world, you are playing small and you are robbing the world of your significance. Manifesting your greatness requires you to master your gifts.

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