Andrea Robinson is the creator of the You Do You journal and media. Her goal is to empower women through intention, gratitude, and community to find their confidence. She joins Jillian to share her personal story of building a meaningful life.
Andrea is a former TV news anchor that struggled to enjoy the life she had built for herself. She had run a race of perfection for many years to build the perfect career, perfect family, and a perfect home. After 15 years in the TV industry, it came to a point where it just wasn't working anymore.
I wanted people to see me and tell me I was worthy and tell me I was good and tell me I was great. And I think I chased that longer than I needed to.
At one point, it was a depleting and exhausting life. She would come home to her 30 minutes of ‘me time' and wonder what all of this effort was for. She would ask herself is this the way life is supposed to be? Is she supposed to continue perpetuating this miserable existence for the next 30 years?
Although this revelation did not happen all at once, at one point it got to be too much to bear. Along the way, parts of her career that were once easy became difficult. Over time, people that she had enjoyed working with started to become distant. It was just one thing after another on her journey towards making a big change.
The everyday just became so hard. And I felt like I was missing out on more than I was enjoying.
The day she decided to make a change, she literally cried out. She forced herself to question what she was going to do and how she was going to change moving forward.
Everything Looked Good From The Outside
As Andrea was coming to this internal awakening, everything looked great from the outside. She had built the career she had always wanted and had bought all of the things she had always wanted. If you looked at her life from the outside, it looked really good. However, the inside didn't feel like it matched her outer success.
For Andrea, she believes that she hung onto this life longer than she should have because she valued the validation from outsiders. She is a self-proclaimed people pleaser, so when people told her that she was doing all of the right things it was difficult to let it go.
I think I hung onto what was known for too long because I was afraid of what people would say if I shifted or if I changed.
At some point, it became too exhausting and depleting to live up to other people's expectations. She would live for Saturday, but on Sunday the stress of the upcoming week would overwhelm her. She was forced to live her life in ‘go mode.' There was no room for breathing and it was impossible to find any time for joy throughout the week.
Building A New Life
The process of building a new lifestyle is messy. When you start, you have to do the heart work first, which can be the hardest part. Unfortunately, you may not see the results of your heart work for a long time. It could take months before you start to see the changes you are working towards. For Andrea, it took a full year to see the benefits of her heart work.
On the day after she cried out about her situation, she started to journal. She took a few minutes in the morning to open the journal. The journal asked her a series of questions that forced her to stop and think about what she was feeling.
Three questions stood out to Andrea as she started journaling:
What are you grateful for?
Since she was living on autopilot, she had very little time to think about what she was grateful for. Although her life looked great from the outside, she couldn't even recognize the blessings. When she stopped to look around, she found a blessing after blessing.
What am I going to do to make today awesome?
Unfortunately, no day felt awesome because she did the same thing every day. She woke up at [2:26] AM, measured out her food, went to the gym, went to work. So every day felt like Groundhog's Day. Andrea decided to change up her meals and go for a run instead of dragging herself to the gym.
What do you love about yourself today?
At the time, she didn't love anything about herself. She had tied her opinion to what other people thought of her. She started by writing down things that she wanted to love about herself. The process felt like she was affirming these beliefs for herself.
Unfortunately, the internal work is much more difficult than the external work.
If you are looking to start improving your internal feelings, then you may need to try a variety of methods. For Andrea, the practice of journaling really helped. She also found a life helper (therapist) to help her adjust her frame of mind.
One thing that her therapist shared was the ability to use the word ‘no.' It doesn't need to be a negative word. It doesn't mean that you don't love people when you say no. It just means that you have boundaries which can be a beautiful thing to protect your wellbeing.
For Andrea, she wanted to be the mom that did all of the things. Whether her kids needed 2 dozen cupcakes baked by tomorrow or a homeroom mom, she wanted to be an available mom. She didn't want other moms to judge her for being busy. However, her therapist pointed out that other moms might not be thinking this at all. And even if they do, you have to do what is best for you and your family.
‘No thank you' is just as polite as saying yes.
For Jillian, learning boundaries has been life changing. Not only does she appreciate her own boundaries, but also other people that have boundaries. When she asks someone to do something, a person with boundaries will say yes or no. Otherwise, it becomes her job to determine their boundaries which is even more work.
It’s not other people’s job to figure out my work life balance. Its not other people's job to figure out where my boundaries should be.
Once you determine your boundaries, you'll be able to say with certainty if you can or you can't. Don't make other people guess at your boundaries. When the intention behind a boundary is pure and good, then you can feel less guilty about saying no to requests.
Having boundaries isn’t mean, it’s a gift I can give to other people.
Although it might be a difficult transition if you are constantly saying yes, it will be worth it in the end. Make sure to lay the groundwork and let people know that you still love them even if you can't always say yes. If the other person knows that you love them no matter what, then when you use the word no it doesn’t mean the relationship is strained it just means that right not you can't. When you start practicing boundaries, you may realize how great they are.
Building A Meaningful Life
After a year of journaling, Andrea started to feel the fruits of her journaling. She started to feel an internal peace that she had never felt before. She found confidence in who she was without being tied to a career identity.
I just started to see myself as worthy and loved just who I am right now.
At this point, she started to reassess her career and make some changes.
She left her job and transition into work that lights her up. The ability to make this shift was the result of hard financial decisions along the way. After finding themselves at financial rock bottom in 2011, Andrea and her husband worked incredibly hard to turn that part of their life around. Due to those choices, she was able to leave her career in TV without rocking the family because they had started to live well below their mean.
The transition was filled with gaining confidence day after day. Although it was scary to start from the bottom of a new field, she knew that she could do it.
Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Andrea lives by this motto and challenges herself to move forward every day.
Every time I do something that scares me, I earn a new layer of courage and confidence.
Throughout the process of building a business and online community for women, Andrea has had to do things that scare her. With the help of Google and others in the space, she is learning an entirely new world. However, her experience as a new girl in her previous career reminds her that she is always able to learn something new.
There is no perfect game plan. She is forced to try things that may or may not work. Through trial and error, she is figuring things out one day at a time. Her foundation of hard-won heart work is allowing her to move forward and do amazing things.
In this episode, Jillian recommends Tiller. Tiller puts your financial life on a spreadsheet that automatically updates with your daily spending, transactions, and account balances each day. Try it free for 30 days to see if this is the tool that can really help empower you with your money this year.