How to Right-Size Your Life

Seize the opportunity! Leave no stone unturned! These have been my mantras for the past three years as I’ve built my social media presence as a fitness expert.

“Opportunities are rare and may not come again,” I would tell myself after someone asked me to collaborate on a project. This would cause me to immediately say yes—to just about anything, really. It was about getting exposure, of course, but it was also brand new to me, and fascinating, and fun, and cool, and … you get the idea.

I realize I’m one of the lucky ones. I make a decent income from social media—enough that my family has some breathing room and we can actually afford to take vacations again. My social media career has also helped my “real” business—my Pilates studio—which has gotten more local press (which means more clients) because of the presence I have online. I am thankful every day for what I’ve built and thankful that people have responded to it so well.

But boy was I burned out

There is always a tipping point, and for me the last straw was when I agreed to take a Director of Social Media job. Here was an opportunity to show the world all I had learned, plus it paid really well. I actually think I did a decent job growing the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers for the client, as well as catching the attention of some stores who later started carrying the product and working some connections for press coverage.

It was definitely working. But my brain was goo. On top of running a studio and a blog, it was just too much. I had to pull back.

Right-sizing my life

The big life lesson that I learned here is that I was given opportunities that I didn’t seek out. I wasn’t looking for a social media job when it was offered to me, but it was so cool I wanted to try it. There were other opportunities like this that I was also saying yes to. But they weren’t in the direction I truly wanted to go.

I’m going to get all “woo woo” on you for a second, so bear with me. I’m in my 40s now and I’ve learned (and relearned) that if you don’t follow your heart, you’re not going to be happy. Yes, you need to make a living, but there are scads of ways to do that and still follow your heart.

Let’s face it: anything you put out there in social media is completely in your control. All you have is your time (hours and hours of time), so why would you spend it creating a persona or going in a direction that isn’t you? You’ll only be a big pile of goo like I was.

I realized my error(s) and started to divest a lot of stuff. I’ve pared my life down to my studio, my blog, and FeelGooder, and I’m feeling out some writing projects that I want to pursue. I’m looking forward to seeing how my career develops and I’m also looking forward to going home tonight and relaxing with my family. Boy will that feel good.

Have you ever had to right-size your life? How did you do it?

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson runs her own successful fitness blog at Lisa Johnson Fitness and is frequently seen hanging around Twitter @LisaJohnson. She also runs a few Pilates studios, Modern Pilates Boston.

Comments

  1. I think you are very inspiring and I wish you more of the same!
    take care,
    Lisa

  2. Great advise! I’m just starting to get involved in the social media scene, but I can see myself saying YES to every opportunity for the same reasons you did. I can also see myself getting burnt out really quick and then being unable to do my best at the things I really do want to do.

    I’m glad you’ve been able to scale back, and find a balance between what you love to do, and spending time with those you love. 🙂

  3. I think the hardest thing to learn is to say no. A lot of us (myself included), find it so difficult because we don’t want to let people down. And, before you know it, you’re stretched out so thin, it takes everything you got to keep up.

    If people truly respect you, they should be more than understanding of your situation when told why you can’t do something. I’m getting better at it but there’s still some guilt at times. Like everything, it’s a work in progress.

  4. Hi Lisa,
    I’m always having to tweak my lifestyle. There are so many things that i want to try but I have to remember to set my priorities first.

  5. Lisa & Tiffany, thanks so much for the thumbs up. 🙂

    Alan, I am a lot like the dog in the movie up, “Squirrel!!!” and off I go at the next fun project. I have to sit back and weigh the options now before I say yes. Still feel the pull of the new shiny things though, lol.

    Justin, I think you’re absolutely right. There is also tweaking to be done. We get things just so and then we drift a little bit and then we readjust accordingly … it’s all just part of life.

    L–

  6. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement! As I embark on a new freelance career and am teaching myself all about web design, blogging, etc. – it’s tempting to jump into every opportunity that is offered. But the perils of spreading oneself too thin definitely lurk. This post is just what I needed right now.

  7. Wow, this post was so good! Really enjoyed the wisdom and advice. Thanks Lisa!

  8. This post speaks to me… LOUDLY! I am headed in several directions at once in an attempt to improve myself, my life and therefor the lives of my family. I love my job, but it doesn’t pay enough to keep the lights on, so I am following a few passions that will lead to income.

    I am curious to learn more about how you’ve built your social media career to the point where you’re breating revenue and income. I really like your blog here Lisa!

    Thanks!

  9. Hi Scott,

    I did what everyone does. Developed a following (first on twitter, then on my blog) and I was consistent about updating the information. I’m on twitter a LOT, jumping off and on all day. It’s not really extra time for me, I tweet while I stand in line, or tweet while I’m waiting for a client to come in. I slip it into the quiet spots of my day.

    Then I’m consistent with my blog. Hopefully the content is good and I’m up to about 100K pageviews a month (nothing compared to FeelGooder, but it’s still growing).

    Once my numbers were decent (about half what they are now) I started reaching out to advertisers. Since I’m in the fitness niche I saw who was on the space in social media and I asked them if they wanted to work with me. I think my brand is strong enough that I haven’t been turned down yet.

    I’m also picky about who I work with. It’s definitely not just anyone. I won’t compromise my values for an advertiser. Why I like Sears so much actually … good content with gear you can use to workout.

    I’m about to start reaching out again & I’m starting to develop my own products now (ebook) so that’s my next step. We’ll see what happens. But simplifying your choices will help you go a lot further.

    Hope that helps,

    Lisa

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