How would you like the new year to be? Pushed by your backlog? Or pulled by your dream?
Ready to spend a few minutes designing for a better year?
We’ve been taught to work hard, to be disciplined and self-sacrificing, and so to achieve the worthwhile prizes in life. We’ve been urged to dare big things – weaned on stories like “The Little Engine that Could“:
As [the little train engine] neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, “I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can.” It reached the top by drawing on bravery…
Surely, the intention is to inspire. But as I look around, this approach seems to have gone badly wrong. A web search for “monday morning blues” yields 38 million hits; the helping professions advise “workaholics” to join a 12-step program; in Japan the word “karōshi” signifies “death by overwork”. And while unemployment is an ongoing problem worldwide, Amazon finds over 12,000 titles for “quit your job”. Human work almost seems a punishment, a curse that stresses our bodies and minds, undermines our family values, holds us hostage day after day despite our best intentions.
Hmm: “job.” “Get a job.” “I have a job to do.” “It’s just a job.” “It’s not my job”. Language shapes thinking, so perhaps this word offers a clue?
job1 /jäb/ noun
1. a paid position of regular employment.
2. a responsibility or duty.
3. informal a difficult task.
How boring. Adequate, certainly. You could be paid to do your duty, to be responsible, to do difficult things, even. If needed, you can be one of the 71% who are “not engaged” in their jobs for a while. Why not? You can do it. Grit your teeth, be strong, and wait for the blues to pass.
Or you can find a bigger game. Now.
You know you want to say “Yes!”
Uh, wait. “Yes” to … what?
And here’s the first complication: you want to follow your own inner voice, but you’re not sure what it sounds like, any more. Has it become feeble through disuse? Or hoarse, from competing with your Inner Pragmatist (who says sensible things like, “be realistic” and “there will surely be time later”) ?
My experience shows that the voice of your dream is probably still there, and eager to come out to play. In fact, if it’s been a while since you last checked in with your dream, its silent evolution may hold pleasant surprises for you! And really, all you need to get started is a few good questions and some quiet time to reflect.
Christmas is coming, a time when westerners take some planned (or enforced!) time off. What if you set aside a little of it to rediscover your dreams… to turn your “downtime” into an “up” time, instead?
- you could grab a marker and resolve to make up your own rules !
- or: what if you asked a good friend to interview you and take notes on what makes you grin like a five-year-old?
- or: grab a cup of tea and quietly take stock of what matters and how you’re doing, with a simple drawing exercise.
- or really stretch your comfort zone: call a holiday moratorium on being “reasonable:” let go of the idea of “good work” to let your “Great Work” emerge!
And now you know what it is that I do! I am committed to increasing joy in the workplace: I am totally invested in the work of connecting people with their dreams, to transform jobs that hurt into meaningful work that heals. The web and bookstores are full of helpful resources for this, and for people who prefer to work interactively, I “hold the space” for this exploration in one-on-one phone coaching, to which I contribute my own inexhaustible supply of simple (but not easy!) questions.
As part of my own mission, I offer a free personal vision session to kickstart your growth journey, whether you intend to become a client or not. I love to do this vision session, and I’d love to help you prepare for the new year this way. It can be the spark that gets you moving on one of the suggestions listed above, all of which you can do on your own!
So I ask you: “is it enough for you: to rest over the holidays so you can continue to push through to success for another year?”
Or will you accept my challenge: to reconnect with your own joyful dream… and perhaps let it pull you for a while? To accept: make a calendar appointment with yourself to do one of the activities above, or book a “free sample” session with me at a time that works for you.
And, either way: happy holidays!
“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed.
The vision pulls you.” —Steve Jobs
(Perhaps you are curious, but cautious? Makes sense! You may like to see what my former clients say about this journey with me! )