I meet people all the time who are tired, exhausted really, by the work they do. They are putting in too many hours at the office or the studio; answering emails and texts has become part of family dinners, school drop-off, and even yoga class. So much so that we’ve all come to recognize the intrusion of these electronic demands in our romantic and family lives. People are running on empty, sucked into a sense of choicelessness so they don’t know — and simply can’t imagine — what needs to be done to make satisfactory changes to this situation. Options are obscured by the swirl and action and distraction of the responsibilities of life. Does this sound familiar?
Finding ourselves in a kind of trance of believing this is the only way to live, we might even be adding more to our plate, to our busy-ness, in an attempt to fill ourselves up with a false sense of purpose. As my son once said to me when I was frantically multi-tasking around the kitchen getting into a frenzy, “JUST SIT DOWN!”
Turns out (and neuroscience research supports this) that simply sitting down to breathe and be quiet several times a week — even for just 10 minutes — can genuinely help us to calm down and know what it is that we really want and need to live the life in which we can thrive, not just survive. The clarity we can access illuminates what we need to shift from the ‘impossible’ to the possible including: a new career path, a new way of working, or an overlooked environment in which we can do what we do well.
Take a moment right now to ask yourself a few questions to mine for clues that can open you to new possibilities. First ask: What do I most enjoy doing such that when I do this activity I feel energized and satisfied? This could be drawing or writing, organizing, listening to a friend, or negotiating a good deal. Whatever comes to mind, find a way to create the space to do this today, tomorrow, or several times in the week. Look for the essence of the activity that is so meaningful to you. Whatever it is, do it more often, and listen to what you learn.
Next ask yourself: When I look at my life, what do I want (and need) to learn that will enrich my experience of my work? What will add to my personal and professional growth and vitality? You may notice that ideas or answers will spring to mind, followed by all of the reasons you can’t do whatever it is that appears. Take the time now to follow that answer in order to set in motion the steps you need to do to add more of this to your life. You will find the time, the space, and the support, once you set the intention. Remember that thriving energy inspires both ourselves and others. Your actions and emotions are contagious. Living your life right will inspire countless, perhaps even unknown, others to inhabit happier lives.
It’s often the little things that help us to feel a bit more in control, more fulfilled, and more satisfied in our work. Write to us and share with us what simple actions you’ve taken to add more satisfaction and joy to your life. We’ll continue to discuss small – and large — changes that build upon each other to create the lives we really want to live.
Daisy Swan, founder of Daisy Swan & Associates and author of Making Work Work: Secrets from a Career Coach’s Office works with clients of all ages who are motivated to find the lifestyle that authentically works for them: daisyswan.com