What I'm Learning About Maintaining Exhilaration

Emily Raleigh Power Word Spire March.jpg

This was a big month for us. We kicked off Spire 2.0, a project that has been over six months in the making. We intentionally chose a Power Word for March that spoke to both the excitement we felt in introducing our revamped online sanctuary and the effect we hoped it had on our community. So we chose the word exhilarate.

EXHILARATEVERB. MAKE (SOMEONE) FEEL VERY HAPPY, ANIMATED, OR ELATED

We wanted to challenge each other to find exhilaration in the process — in the seasons of knowing and those of supreme uncertainty. It's natural to feel energized when everything feels like it's in alignment. But there are many times when we don't feel that way and that feeling of being stuck in a rut can last a few minutes, a few months, or even a few years. How do we remain exhilarated then?

In the six years that I've been working on Spire, there have been countless times I felt like things were completely going my way. And those moments where every ounce of work and intention seemed to be reaping substantial rewards have been nothing shy of exhilarating. 

But any entrepreneur will admit that for every exhilarating moment, there are at least five moments of self-doubt that can easily spiral your mind out of control. I don't think that struggle is exclusive to entrepreneurs. I think every woman (and every person, for that matter) experiences ruts. Maybe that's why Elle's article on coping mechanisms for when you're feeling stuck was one of our top articles this month.

In our many conversations on exhilaration this past month, I've learned that the key to staying in flow, no matter if you're experiencing a high, a low, or just that quiet time in between the two, is looking at exhilaration as an ongoing practice and a feeling we can generate from within.

There are times we are exhausted. There are times when things don't go as we envisioned. And there are times that just aren't equivalent to our highest of highs, even if they aren't exactly a low point. I learned from Kristen that if we are conscious of where we stand, we can make choices on how to create exhilaration, no matter our energy.

We can even add elements to our day that will enliven our energy and create a consistent feeling of contentment, whether that's investing time in a simple morning routine, using apps that uplift our energy, or doing literally anything wellbeing expert Danielle Posa advises. But sometimes the thought of adding one more thing to our to-do list, no matter how beneficial, can feel like an automatic no-go. When our schedules are slammed and we are running on fumes, then it's time for some shifts, rather than additions. We can make healthy choices easier by shifting our perspective on wellbeing altogether. We can change how we interpret constructive criticism so that it actually encourages us. We can simplify our everyday existence through minimalism methods.

All month long I've been trying these practices for myself and I've discovered that exhilaration is not the result of something going your way (because it oftentimes won't); rather, it's the result of cultivating contentment on a daily basis. Sure, things aren't always going to match our vision boards. That doesn't mean we can't find the energy that comes from pure joy. We just have to create it for ourselves.

The process is often paved with frustration and anxiety and uncertainty. I'm sure that working on a novel for four years wasn't all butterflies and rainbows for Kiley Roache. But four years later, she's a senior in college and newly published author (check out her book, Frat Girl). Throughout the process, we can find ways to feel satisfied and energized, even if it's just by the possibility of goodness to come.

We make 35,000 choices every single day. We can choose exhilaration, no matter what our day may look like. 

What did you learn from exploring exhilaration? Let me know in the comments!

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