I can never do just one thing at a time. You can say I’m just a multi-tasker, but the truth is the ADHD is strong in my genes. Most of the time, I’m ok with that. One brisk afternoon I decided to go for a walk, and I’m never just content with listening to the birds, and the wind whistling through the naked winter tree limbs. Nope. I have to entertain my brain. ALWAYS.
On this particular day, I listened to a podcast that gave me the green light that I didn’t know I desperately needed.
On any given day, my family says I give them whiplash with all of my business ideas, thoughts, and dreams. I’m an idea generator – I can’t help it. I’ve been a TV producer for more than 20-years, but that’s never been enough for me, to work full-time, be a mom, or even volunteer. My soul craves more, aspires for new challenges, adventures, and connections. That’s just the way I’m wired. But, that’s tiresome for my husband who’s been raised with simple Midwestern values. His folks are kind, and lovely, but never pressed him to be curious, hypothesize, and strive fore more. Instead, holding down a full-time job, getting a pension, and staying out of jail were signs of success for his small town family.
So here, I am, walking my neighborhood now, and listening to Dr. Aliza Pressman interview Eve Rodsky, Author of Unicorn Space. This episode gave me life. I’m serious. In the 49-minute exchange, these brilliant women talked about why it’s important for all people, but specifically women, to create a Unicorn Space.
Yes -go ahead and channel your inner Lisa Frank if that’s your jam, but Rodsky talks about a Unicorn Space being the time you carve out to nurture your creative, and passionate side, not start yet another hobby inspired by Pinterest. Yes – women work, are mothers, and volunteer with the PTA, but we are just as creative as men and dare I say, maybe more enterprising?
Its March and National Women’s History Month, and while America has come a long way with women’s rights, there’s a still a long way to go. According to the Women’s Police Research, women still only make 83 cents on the dollar compared with men. So not only do men make more money in the workforce, but they also get praise for having active rest time. Golfing is considered networking, tinkering in the garage is synonymous with taking care of the home, but when women decide to but play a team sport after work or do some baking for the office as a way to unwind, it’s considered a cute little hobby.
Finding an activity outside of the mundane world is crucial to your mental health. According to Rodsky, she says you need to focus on these three C’s to tap into this power.
Curiosity: pay attention to what your interests are, and begin there. Want to write, start journaling. Interested in photography, take pictures on your phone and go from there.
Completion: whatever you decide to do, carve out the time to do it, and complete it. For example, set an alarm or block schedule time for yourself to write, to take nature photos, or sign-up for that kickball team and show up.
Connect: now that you determined what you want to do, and have completed at least your first self-assigned task or activity, talk about it with a friend, get an accountability partner, tweet about it, share your finished project!
That time you’ve set aside for your passion project is what Rodsky calls a “Unicorn Space.” In her book of that same title, she interviewed hundreds of women who all said they felt like motherhood and working snuffed out their time for their personal interests, and striving for more felt selfish. The author says flexing your creative muscle is anything but selfish, rather it’s just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Our bodies need the happy hormones that come from finishing a journal entry, playing a beach volleyball game, or learning a new skill just for fun.
Listening to this interview a couple of a weeks ago gave me the validation I needed to march forward with some upcoming personal projects, and the forgiveness I was devoid of, ridden with “mom-guilt” from past endeavors that I worried took me away from my kids for too long. We are not alone in wanting more, needing room for creativity, but they key is to complete the goal, and connect with others. Women deserve the golf outing with pals, just as much as the guys do.
Examples of my past Unicorn Spaces: