Stretch on Sabbatical

🤸‍♀️ Stretch 70

Over 2500 readers and my 70th edition of this newsletter.

And I’ve decided that Stretch is going on a 3-month sabbatical.

Brrrr. I’ve been agonising over this decision for a few weeks now, but my gut tells me it’s the right thing to do for me. (I know, first world problems!)

I’ve managed to organize my scattered and fearful thoughts into 3 reasons why.

01 - My brain needs a creative reset.

I’ve been thinking about this newsletter every week for two years. While most of the time I’ve absolutely loved it, there’s also been a constant feeling of pressure to make it good, get it out on time, promote and grow it.

Slowly but surely, my mindset moved from “having fun showing how my brain works online” to “growing a newsletter.”

And if you’ve ever tried to grow anything (a newsletter, hair or sourdough), you’ll know that once you start obsessing over growth… it’s never fast or big enough.

And I’m not gonna lie, this often left me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

I kept telling myself how silly that is (“it’s just a newsletter!”) but I couldn’t shake it off. My brain was in a constant state of “need to do more more more.”

I often think about one of my favorite books called The Happiness Advantage, where I read that negative emotions narrow our thoughts and range of actions. Our brain literally moves into threat mode. Positive emotions—flooding our brains with dopamine and serotonin—broaden the number of possibilities we process, making us more thoughtful, creative, and open to new ideas.

And that’s exactly the state I want to be in when I’m writing, creating, connecting and engaging with people. This stuff is meant to be fun! Real creativity requires boredom, openness and playfulness. It requires constraints, definitely, but not stress.

02 - I’m curious to see what else could emerge.

I’ve been working on a long list of other things over the last few months:

  • Functional Breathing Instructor Training

  • Building a breathwork and body-based productivity business (through free introduction calls, 1-1 coaching, corporate workshops)

  • Writing more on Twitter and Linkedin, plus actively reaching out to people to connect and collaborate

  • A 10-week HRV biofeedback training program

  • Taking Portuguese lessons

  • [And a couple more things that are too personal to share, haha!]

All in the evenings and weekends, while making sure I give 200% to my job at Write of Passage during the day.

Plus meditate and exercise daily, have a relatively clean apartment, stay in touch with old friends, and also meet some new people in Lisbon.

It’s way, way too much.

This quote hits me hard every time, because I know I’m “most people”. I’m aware of it, tell myself to slow down, and yet I can’t resist the urge of adding a new shiny thing to my list.

“Success isn't that difficult; it merely involves taking twenty steps in a singular direction. Most people take one step in twenty directions.”

Benjamin Hardy

So, pausing Stretch is an attempt to create time and space for some of the other things on my list I’m excited about—like the coaching and the workshops. I’d love to see where those things can lead.

It’s incredibly scary though. I can’t even begin to tell you how much time and energy I’ve poured into this newsletter.

What if that was all for nothing? What about the momentum I was just seeing? Is this “break” just the beginning of the end?

Those questions have been swirling around my brain for a while, and that brings me to my last point.

03 - I don’t ever want to make decisions from a place of fear or scarcity.

This is a rule I’ve set for myself a long time ago, and it has helped me make some of the bigger decisions in my life—like quitting my 10-year advertising career without a plan, moving to Lisbon a couple of months after buying an apartment in another country, even deciding not to have kids.

In the case of the newsletter, I noticed I was feeling stuck in my ways because “this is what it means to be consistent and disciplined.” Classic sunk cost fallacy, where I didn’t want to change anything because I’ve already put so much time and effort into it.

I want to always question my assumptions. Yes, I’ve been doing this almost every week for two years and the newsletter means a lot to me. But what would happen if I changed my routine? Instead of only looking at what I have to lose, how about thinking about what I have to gain?

This resonates:

“Being too attached isn't a sign of love, but fear of loss. The ability to let go comes from being confident that what's meant for you is already yours. And doesn't need to be held so tight, or even held at all. And all that leaves only makes way for something far better to replace it.”

Suhai Rumi

And so does this…

Creating space for clarity, intention and growth.

So that’s what I’m doing.

Creating space. Giving my brain a break. Seeing what else could emerge. And making decisions from a place of abundance and curiosity.

Stretch will definitely be back though, in some shape or form. On a creative and professional level, writing a newsletter has been the single best decision I’ve ever made and I want to keep doing that.

I’ll also stay active on LinkedIn and Twitter so come say hi there if you’re active on these platforms. As I mentioned, the whole point of writing online for me is about sharing ideas but more importantly, connecting with other humans over those ideas.

See you in June! 👋

Charlotte

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