What have you been dreaming about lately? What are you happy about? What would need to change for you to feel content in your work-life? We often resist changes even when they would lead to greater things just because they take time, energy and effort. Especially if you're feeling tired and not having the resources to make bigger changes, the questions will stay unanswered and a better way of living waiting for the moment when you'd be more energized. When does that moment come?
Many postpone going after their personal interests to survive at their daily work tasks. It's easy to fall into a performance loop and stay in it day after day: wake up, go to work, give your all, go to sleep, repeat. Studies show we spend about 70 % of our time awake thinking about work, commuting to work and being in the workplace doing the work (TCA material). This means our mind keeps occupied by present work-related issues almost two-thirds of the time we are up! So, no wonder if you're feeling there is no 'time' pausing to reflect.
When so much of our time is spent on dealing with the present work issues, it is difficult to even notice when you would want changes to feel more content, fulfilled and balanced.
When our mind is full of thoughts about current issues there's no room for new thoughts. Literally. Therefore, even when you've noticed the need to make changes to feel more energized and happier, you would need to make conscious efforts to focus your thinking towards yourself, your interests and your needs away from work.
How often do you take a pause and clear your mind from work issues? How do you transfer your focus on your life and dreaming about your future? Or just enjoy the present moment your mind off from work? These questions made me think of turtles and what can we learn from them?
1. Pull your head inwards
In order for you to hear your innermost needs and passions, you need to transfer your focus from the outer world and others' needs inwards. You know how turtles can pull their head inside their shell to protect themselves from external danger. Do this, figuratively. First, dedicate some alone time. Find a place when you are not being distracted, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Some like to practice mindfulness using meditation techniques to focus on the present moment and control their thoughts processes. This can help you to let go of work and other issues and manage your mind.
“The most important words we will ever utter are those words we say to ourselves, about ourselves when we are by ourselves.” –Al Walker
When you're pulling inwards and embracing the quiet moment in solitude, then you can start exploring your thoughts and practising the way you talk to yourself. You can ask yourself awakening questions and explore your thoughts that have been on your mind waiting to be answered. Be mindful of your self-talk.
Notice that stress and tiredness among other negative well-being experiences can be impacting your also mental and emotional state. So you might encounter self-sabotaging thoughts like beating yourself up from not taking care of yourself earlier and drifting to this situation where you're not feeling content for example.
If you're feeling down, focus on:
seeing the positive aspects
listening to what your body and soul need right now
identifying energies and emotions you'll need to experience to feel more balanced
being kind and respectful to yourself
If this still feels challenging, think about talking to you like you'd talk to your best friend.
2. Slow down all your actions
In a performance loop, we might just keep pressing the accelerator and forget to slow down. Or even being scared what will be the impacts if we slow down. Being hyperactive doesn't help to break the cycle. Therefore, my advice is to slow down everything, and I mean EVERYTHING you do from brushing your teeth and walking to have lunch to checking your email and replying to your colleagues.
How do you feel now? Is your breathing calmer? Do you feel less overloaded?
When you're able to slow down your physical performance and calm down your brain from overprocessing and analysing, you get to free up space for other things like reflecting on your career and dreaming about the future.
3. Move forward slowly and surely
After you've taken time to get to know yourself better and allowing yourself to listen to your hopes, dreams, thoughts and needs, it's time to plan how to use your raised awareness to your happiness. Beware of going back to the performance mode. Instead, prioritise which dreams and targets you'd want to focus on first. You can ask yourself for example:
What would make the biggest impact on my life and career now?
What is the first and smallest thing I can do to take a step forward?
When will I dedicate time to do that?
Remember to give yourself enough time and set realistic goals. It's better to move forwards slowly but surely than to fall into the loop again and feel stressed about making your dreams come true. How does this sound?
Lastly, when you have practised living like a turtle - protected yourself from external demands and expectations, listened to your inner voice, slowed down achieving your outcomes and made exciting plans to improve your work-life situation - it's good to take a moment to reflect on the changes. How do you feel about changing your behaviour of slowing down? What are the impacts on your life in general? What learning do you want to apply to your life?
When you want to get more support to guide you through the needed changes, you can book your free consultation here. Or if you prefer taking your career to a new level in an empowering group, register for our Career Happiness Workshop series. The program provides you with total 360-degree guidance for your career progress starting on Monday 9 August. Register here for the workshops!
Don't forget to comment below on how this exercise helped you so I can help you forward!
Career Growth Coach | LIVIO JOY
Kaisa's career was built on her plan B. When her work wasn't supporting her new life situation, Kaisa started exploring what would excite her. Her career transition journey turned out more challenging than expected. After deep self-exploration and tearful panic, she came up with a plan that would meet her professional interests and personal priorities. So, she re-educated herself to a certified coach, pivoted to a new field and started LIVIO JOY that follows her soul purpose - building a more successful and sustainable work-life through career happiness.