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Notes from Neen: It’s time to relentlessly refocus.

By October 30, 2023January 8th, 2024No Comments

Looking down at the text on my phone from one of my favorite people, it read: “Seems everyone is fighting for their lives these past few weeks.”

She was right. She wasn’t being dramatic, and there was so much truth to her words — I am hearing it from all my clients in our coaching sessions and girlfriends on our ‘walk and talks’.

It’s really hard to focus right now, when world feels like it’s on fire, when we are exhausted and overwhelmed, when we feel helpless despite trying to stay positive. We are still tired from making it through COVID (apparently long COVID fatigue is a thing), and we are shocked at what’s happening in the world around us and the news makes us feel numb. I see you.

This is going to be a very personal newsletter, so now is your time to opt out — or read on, your choice.

Every conversation in the past two weeks with clients (regardless if I am their keynote speaker at their corporate retreat or working with them 1:1,) is sharing some version of the following concerns with me:

  • “I am exhausted.”
  • “I just need to make it to the end of the quarter.”
  • “I feel burned out.”
  • “I’m stuck.”
  • “I need a vacation.”
  • “My team is trying but nothing is converting.”
  • “Sales are taking so much longer than before.”
  • “I just need to get through this year.”

It’s supported by what we see on social media: popular memes like this one with captions “me trying to make it to the end of the year,” or scenes from popular shows like when Harry exclaims “I can’t do it all Charlotte” she she gently explains, he’s not, or the most shared scene of the summer hit movie, Barbie when America Ferrera shares this powerful rant. Our media feeds are filled with examples of what I am hearing from my CEOs and their teams in luxury and legacy brands — we are overwhelmed right now and tired, tired in our bones, our bodies, our minds and our spirit.

Hoteliers are designing (and marketing) their best properties for a good night’s sleep. The Equinox Hotel in New York spent two years collaborating with experts for their temperature-regulating mattresses, sound-proof walls, wind down exercises, meditation videos, and a ‘sleep well’ menu that includes drinks that help you sleep and a mini bar stocked with the creams and drinks that will deepen your sleep. Genius!

It makes me realize, now more than ever, we need to choose to relentlessly refocus our attention.

Don’t get me wrong, my clients are still achieving big results, winning awards, growing their teams, winning new business (but that feels much slower this year), still volunteering in their community, squeezing in workouts, trying to meditate, attempting to eat healthy, taking care of aging parents, attending kid’s special events, trying to sleep and then tomorrow, do it all over again. I see you.

So what can we do if you can relate to all of this? We need to CHOOSE relentlessness, because we are worth it.

It’s the season for relentless completion and deletion.

In our Luxury Mindset Research (you can read more here and download the Executive Summary), 67% of our leaders shared their biggest challenge was work/life balance. While I don’t believe in “balance” (I am more a work/life integration kind of girl), I get it. Integration might also mean we have to focus on what activities don’t serve us as well and delete them. It might be time to step back and prioritize the projects you can complete and the people you need, and set the rest free.

Let’s look at two powerful things you can do to help free up your brain so that you can make more time for other things and better achieve that illusive integration we’re all working towards.

Completion and Deletion

As you can tell from the subject, I am in a season of refocusing everything, and I’m helping my brain get the luxury of space with some aggressive completion and deletion goals to refocus and prioritize the projects I need to complete before the end of the year.

What is completion?

In many ways completion is an easy one — who doesn’t love the dopamine hit we get when we cross something off our list because our brain gives us a ‘high five’ making us feel good? It’s the feeling of filing those papers, emptying the trash, following up on those business cards that have been sitting on your desk, making that overdue doctor’s appointment, replying to that text on your phone, sending that horrible report, answering those emails that have sat too long in your inbox, and returning those Amazon parcels. It feels good when it’s done and we often wonder why we didn’t do it sooner.

In our book, Attention Pays, we share how our brain craves completion and when we don’t focus our attention on getting things done our brain continues to remind us (which is both exhausting and makes us feel bad).

It’s another reason I share NOT to use your inbox as your to-do list, it just makes you feel bad about yourself seeing all the things you haven’t yet done.

I’ve identified the things that need my attention NOW, and have asked my team to help carve out the time to do so, and keep us all focused on accomplishing these projects in the next month and a half.

What is Deletion?

It’s my favorite word right now. Shondra Rhimes wrote the Year of Yes, but if I was writing a book right now it would be titled the Year of Nope!

Our team will tell you I am on a deletion mission and nothing (and no one) is off limits. I have been fiercely and aggressively deleting projects, people, obligations, excess — WARNING it’s not an exercise for the faint of heart. If you are a people pleaser, or don’t like disappointing people, you won’t want to read any further. (But maybe I can encourage you to, because it may be just what you need?)

TIME is the Ultimate Luxury. We all get 1,440 minutes in a day. Stop saying you are “too busy” — what you are really saying is “I am too busy for you.” Stop saying you are “killing time” — time never did anything to you.

Instead, consider the privilege of time and what you can achieve if you focus on WHO and WHAT matters to you, no one else, just you.

We value your time (in reading this newsletter), and time is one of our most valuable assets — we need to protect it and invest it. When you say YES to something, you are saying NO to something else (often yourself, your goals, integrity and commitments).

We are living in a time when there is MORE of everything:

  • More choices but less certainty
  • More technology but feeling more disconnected
  • More decisions but less clarity


Here’s what I’ve deleted in the past six weeks. Yep, it takes time, but we can all agree we have to INVEST time to save time:

  • Social media and email – I’ve unfollowed, blocked, deleted, and removed people and brands and protected a very curated list. I choose Instagram for my luxury clients and LinkedIn for my corporate clients and am currently answering emails twice a day and deleted emails I hadn’t replied to so I can clean up my inbox.
  • Subscriptions – apps, online courses, programs, magazines, and papers I don’t invest time in using or reading — gone!
  • Scrolling – finding myself unnecessarily scrolling Instagram when tired meant replacing that activity with completing a long to-do list and reading books insead.
  • Spending – knowing I have more than anyone needs, it feels great to purge bookshelves, shoe wardrobe, and closet. If you’ve ever cleaned out your closet, you know how much lighter you feel — you can donate to so many places who need your items.
  • Social obligations and projects – declining invites, deleting events, leaving industry associations, changing champagne dates to walk and talks, dinners to coffee meetings, Facetime calls to Peloton rides (a little breathless and no video allowed), Zoom calls to phone calls (so I don’t have to be sitting all day), little tweaks allow me to feel more energized. Not everyone appreciates this — but my mental health and energy thank me. Replacing sitting with moving increases energy and helps me sleep better at night.
  • Some people – there are two kinds of people in life: VIPs – Very Inspiring People and VDPs – Very Draining People. Draining people aren’t just negative or unkind; it could mean people who don’t reciprocate your level of commitment to a relationship. In some friendships I was the only one texting, organizing get togethers, commenting on social posts, picking up the check, checking in on them — I’m done. Not dramatically, not with any notice, just quietly stepping away. I got off messaging apps and stopped returning calls and texts. Replacing people that don’t energize me has allowed me space to give more attention to those I care deeply about.

Deleting Isn’t Easy — But It Can Be Kind

Perhaps you can’t be as aggressive in what you delete? Perhaps you can choose one thing, and start small? Perhaps you can’t delete everything, ask yourself if you can defer or delegate it to someone else?

No one needs to know you are doing it. It is private. It’s just between you and your heart. Some will call it selfish, I call it self-care.

With big goals to achieve before the end of the year, taking a step back and identify the disconnect between where you are now and where you want to be?

Perhaps you help others achieve their goals but sacrifice your own? Perhaps you prioritize everyone’s requests over your health? Perhaps you agree to activities that don’t make you feel good but you do them anyway?

Today, perhaps this is a gentle reminder that you only have 1,440 minutes in a day, how you choose to invest them is up to you.

YOU don’t have to do it all. YOU don’t have to be everything for everyone.

Today, I chose to relentlessly refocus the luxury of my attention. Remember, Everyone WANTS your attention, but not everyone DESERVES your attention.

Luxury is not about expensive, it’s about experiences.
Luxury is not about opulence, it’s about what you value.
Luxury is about experiences, not things.

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