The Higher Wisdom of the Defined Will Center
Giving ourselves permission to rest and go at our own pace
I’ve just discovered something fascinating in my three friends. All of them are women solopreneurs/business owners with Defined Will Centers in their Human Design charts. And they have been writing about a common topic — Giving ourselves permission to rest and go at our own pace.
I’m super excited because, to me, it feels like this is the higher wisdom of the Defined Will Center in our Human Design charts. Only 1 out of 7 people are Defined in their Will Centers. People who have healthy Defined Will Centers are able to channel their willpower energy to completing projects that they put their hearts in. Once they’ve completed their projects, they take their time to rest so that their willpower ‘tanks’ can refill again.
They can be highly motivational with their willpower too. These are the ‘Tony Robbin’s in our lives who energize us with their willpower.
The Higher Wisdom of the Defined Will Center
As we start to move away from the Hustle Culture, we need to rebalance ourselves by acknowledging our need to rest. I’ve witnessed friends and family members with Defined Will Centers keep pushing themselves but neglect their rest, to the point that they’ve depleted their willpower ‘tanks’. They simply can’t push anymore.
I love that my friends are empowering us with their higher wisdom, which is our need to rest so that we can recharge our energies. Other than energizing us with the “You can do it! Go for it!” kind of willpower, they are empowering us to rest when we need to. It feels like such a relief to hear this wisdom from them and to give ourselves permission to go at our own pace.
A Mini Interview of My Defined Will Friends
As I have an Undefined Will Center like most of us, I thought it’ll be interesting to interview with my friends to find out what it’s like to have a Defined Will Center. All 3 of them have also received a private Human Design chart reading from me in the past three years.
Before we go into the interview, I’d like to briefly introduce my friends:
As a poet, artist, and intuitive guide, Maia Thom works with words to create spaces for people to breathe and come home to themselves. You can find her online at her website or on Instagram as @maia.thom, where she shares poetry, art, and practical wisdom to offer daily moments of calm.
Maia is a 2/4 Emotional Generator.
Faith Teo is currently running two businesses. Her first business has been thriving for the past 10 years where she educates people about using medical-grade essential oils for the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of health. She feels so fulfilled and energized by her second business which she started late last year, to coach, facilitate, and train women who want to succeed in business and life without running into burnout. You can find her on Instagram as @faithinflow.
Faith is a 4/1 Sacral Generator.
Jace Loi is a mindfulness coach and yoga teacher. She finds it a huge joy to guide people back home to themselves. You can find her on Instagram as @mingmindfulness.
Jace is a 3/6 Sacral Generator.
Here are my questions and their fascinating answers:
1. How have you been using your willpower to push through to get things done in your life?
- I drafted my first novel during the pandemic — during the months I was committed to the project, I would show up usually five to six days per week. I learned that I work best if I don’t put too much pressure on specific outcomes; I didn’t have a specific word count in mind, my goal was simply to show up. Some days that meant writing for four hours, some days it meant writing for thirty minutes, but knowing I had already committed to showing up, it removed the internal argument that can occur when we’re faced with a large task that isn’t always easy.
- When I was nineteen, my mother and I collaborated to create a full-length circus production, Blink: Stories of Earth + Home. We presented this show again the next year as an improved/updated iteration. This project was special to me because I had a hand in several aspects of the project, from the initial writing and visioning for the narrative, to marketing and production.
- A funny example from when I was four years old: I went to the dentist and they told me I had to stop sucking my thumb or else there would be long-term consequences. I went home that night, woke up in the morning sucking my thumb and I was so mad at myself, I stopped that day. I never sucked my thumb again. This memory makes me laugh because this is kind of the way I’ve always been — a little all or nothing. When I know I want something, I can make it happen, so long as I don’t get in my own way.
- I’m in my 40s now. Just two weeks ago, I was doing a collaboration project with another business. It was supposed to be a promotion for Lunar New Year which started on Feb 1st, but we only managed to start discussions in late January. As I really wanted to complete our project on time, I managed to finish the work I needed to deliver within two days.
- I remembered when I was working at UBS, an international Swiss bank in my 30s, I had to write and submit a financial report. Even though there was no real urgency to submit this report, I stayed in my office to work on this for almost 24 hours straight to complete that report, just so I could impress my boss.
- When I was studying for my Diploma in my early 20s, I had to submit a paper but I was procrastinating so much that I only five more hours before the deadline was up. I pushed through and got the paper submitted within three hours and I even got an A for it!
- I studied very minimally in school but somehow still do quite ok. I believe that if I really want to, I could chomp down the entire syllabus in one week, with super focus. In a way, I got a lot of time to daydream, watch TV and I didn’t know why I was never worried that studies or homework will not be done in time. I just somehow knew it would be done. It was hard for me to understand when people fret about not having enough time or not working hard enough. A friend that sat beside me in Secondary 3, asked why was it that I always doodled in class, didn’t seem to be paying attention but still did ok in exams. I guess it was because I will put everything in for the last 2 weeks before the exams. But that being said, it was a lot of ego, and I don’t believe in needing teachers then. As long as I wanted to, I believe I could do it on my own.
- To tell the truth I’ve never seen it as willpower. I just thought as long as people decide to do something they can. That was how I just plunged into human psychology and development, be it yoga teacher training, my master’s program, conducting workshops for the first time (all these in my late 20s to early 30s). I travelled a lot on my own too, I don’t wait, and I don’t like to feel like I can’t do what I want to do because of traditional responsibilities or role of being a mum, etc, which my own mum nags me a lot on. I think because of that, I really tend to see possibilities rather than constraints.
2. Have you ever experienced burnout because you kept pushing with your willpower without resting?
Maia — As a gymnast
I’ve recently realized I lived most of my teenage years in a perpetual state of burnout. I was training in artistic gymnastics and circus at a high level, in addition to attending regular school (where I naturally had high expectations for myself) and playing music. I would get sick quite often, my body’s way of signalling that I was doing too much, but I was too stubborn to listen. At sixteen, I hit a low point and tore my ACL (ligament in my knee) during training which ultimately led me to change paths and move on from gymnastics.
It took me a number of years to properly learn this lesson, though. I experienced another burnout in the summer of 2018, when I was nineteen, after attending a rigorous professional circus training program. I had to stop training for six weeks when I experienced a pretty intense overuse injury in my upper back.
I shared more about my experiences here:
Faith — As a business team leader and as an employee
I have experienced burnout quite a few times in my business.
One of the most intense burnouts led to a surgery where a large piece of infected flesh has to be cut out from my back. After being discharged from the hospital, I was supposed to rest more to have a fuller recovery. But instead, I took part in a business challenge with my team. I wanted so much to complete the business challenge as a way to support my team, that I’ve far exceeded the minimum quota of classes that I needed to teach. I taught almost thrice the minimum number of classes.
The other memorable instance of burnout was during my job as a scriptwriter for a startup company in my early twenties, when I always had to work harder than my usual working pace to finish some of my project assignments.
I shared more about my experiences of burnout in this article:
Jace — As an employee and as a new mom
In all my previous employed positions, I really dislike the constraints of being employed. Yet I put in all my heart and effort because I felt that I owe it to people when I say yes. However, whenever I am on the brink of a promotion or a promise of advancement, I would tender my resignation. I think it was not just tiring but it’s a huge dread, not so much about the job, but for the lack of freedom and free will. It took so much energy to manage that aversion. And to be promoted or be given more responsibilities turned me off right away because I knew I wouldn’t rest until the job was done. Yet when you are employed, it seems like an endless journey, and the job is never done.
The same happened with parenting when I gave birth at age 26. I made sure I educated myself on parenting and dismissed everything that my own mom and mother in-law said. I asked the nurse to let me nurse my baby right away after delivery because the books said so, even though they advised I could rest. I had no milk powder stored because I decided I must breastfeed exclusively. While others find ways to be more comfortable when breastfeeding, like on the bed or sleeping with the baby. I sat myself up on a chair in the middle of the night, because I didn’t want to fall asleep while feeding. And when I still somehow dozed off, I changed the chair into a stool so that I had to sit more upright. And I refused help, it was just me and the baby during the maternity leave. And so with one ‘mission’ after another, sleep training, cleanliness, feeding, I had strict instructions to adhere to, which eventually broke me quite badly. It took me more than three years to realize I couldn’t keep going like this.
I wrote about my experience here:
My 3-year-old Did This and Changed the Course of my Life
Everybody knows the birth of a child is a messy affair. The birth of a mother can be messy too, and it can take way…
Subsequently, it still took a long time for me to learn to be gentle, every time I take on a new project, I dive in so deeply and ended up retraumatizing myself again and again, and I wonder why I always take so long to recover, or why I have so much resistance to do the next one.
3. When did you start giving yourself permission to rest after pushing through with your willpower? How do you rest?
I am relatively new to the concept of living cyclically, honouring my need for rest and stillness. I first began giving myself permission to rest in summer 2018, after I experienced what I now affectionately refer to as the Great Unravelling, a period when many things in my life fell apart. It was the first time I was living in an apartment on my own, where I had the time and space to take things more at my own pace, and it was deeply healing.
Over the course of 2020 and 2021, as I’ve deepened into my spiritual practice. I’ve also deepened my ability to allow space for rest. It comes in waves. For me, rest looks like limiting external stimulus — I often find watching movies or shows on Netflix can be quite stimulating or intense, so I don’t do this very often. I rejuvenate best when I’m able to lose myself in a good novel for a few hours, curled up in a cozy space. I also create a peaceful atmosphere by dimming the lights and turning on my salt lamp.
More broadly, I’ve learned that when I’ve just completed a big project, it’s helpful for me to schedule in a week where I limit my workload and give myself more space to just be. I sit with tea, go for walks in nature, read, speak to people I love. I find I have to be conscious of cultivating time to rest and give myself permission to do so, otherwise, it just won’t happen.
I grew up in a family where doing and busyness were somewhat glorified. If I don’t prioritize my well-being, it’s easy to slip back into the old patterns of pushing through.
Now, knowing my energy type and inner authority in Human Design, I’m more conscious about using my Sacral authority to commit to the work that my Sacral says Yes to.
I have started making the conscious decision to rest, especially after pushing through a big project. Having regular routines to know in advance when I can work and rest helps a lot too. I find that when I don’t take my regular scheduled breaks and push through with my willpower, my body starts to shows signs of fatigue, such as heaviness in my chest and unusual lethargy.
This year is the first year that both my kids are going to the same school and coming back home at the same time. For the first time in many years, I finally have my entire weekday mornings available for kid-free work! At the start of this year, it was very tiring waking up in the early morning to get my kids to school, so gradually, I’ve allowed myself to take naps in the morning and tweak my schedule according to how my body’s energetic needs throughout the day.
In the past, it was very common for me to have back-to-back meetings. Now, I’ve started to schedule in little breaks in between meetings, so I can recharge, have a snack, or even to remember to take my restroom breaks. Little breaks like these helps me to calibrate to my body’s energetic needs better.
I’ve also learned to discern between the big rocks and little pebbles in my life. Each night, I will take note of the 3 main tasks I want to work on or complete the next day. Just doing this little task gives me more clarity on the big rocks in my life, so I don’t feel bad about letting go of the little pebbles if I need to.
I shared a few more insights on being gentle with myself in this article:
Why Gentleness Is Pivotal to My Life and Business
And how I practise being gentle with myself
I would ‘do’ self-care or rest physically in the past but I was never truly rested because the inner voice was whipping harshly at my soul. Relearning my inner tone and softening my inner judgment was easily a decade-long effort. So was learning not to chase the finishing point.
For the past couple of years, I learned to rest by allowing myself to indulge and do nothing, spending time alone (in nature) was crucial for me. Mindfulness practice was and still is a huge part of this process.
Some people believe in celebrating the small milestones, I am the opposite! I just simply walk through the steps and try not to be too attached to any completion outcomes. Instead, I try to celebrate the experiencing of challenges and obstacles just to ‘reprogram’ the various habits of the mind and allow myself to rest when things are challenging rather than only after something is finished. It still is a conscious effort for me every day.
It will certainly help if my work is more project-based rather than long-running work because I do value having flexibility and freedom in my work too.
Thank you, dear Maia, Faith, and Jace for sharing your life experiences and wisdom in realigning to your Defined Will Center over the years. It’s so fascinating to learn from your various rich life experiences that are related to using and resting your Willpower Centers.
I’d love to share their articles published in my other publication — Gentleness Ambassadors, which has the common theme of giving ourselves permission to rest. Hope you’ll enjoy reading their creative reminders on resting.
Unraveling the Wound-Up Coils in My Body
Day 7: An invitation to you to rest for as long as you want
Hi, I’m Bingz Huang and I’m a 4/6 Sacral Generator with five Undefined Centers. As a Human Design coach, I love interviewing other sensitive solopreneurs and business owners to learn more about how they relate to their charts as they focus on realigning with their true selves.
Thanks for reading this article! :)