Are you a ‘doing machine’? Constantly on the go; running from one task to another; a slave to your never-ending ‘to-do’ list? If so, welcome to the human race….the ‘human doings’ of the 21st century….in this constant race called ‘life’…all action and all-too-often a little light on the ‘being’ side.
So many of us have become addicted to our busy-ness. The more we do – the more worthy we feel. But be careful because that’s a trap. Somewhere down the road, we discover that defining ourselves solely on what we ‘do’ can get us into trouble. Particularly when we hit a bump in the road (in life and/or work). Ask anyone who’s just been out of work and has discovered that ‘finding a new job’ now also involves ‘rediscovering who you are’.
Now I’m all for loving your work and making sure you are authentically expressed in your work. But I caution against exclusively focusing on work to define yourself– or to hide yourself.
Because at some point, we are each bound to hit a bump in the road that can make us question who we are — and what we’ve been doing. These ‘bumps’ might be a job loss; a crossroad in a career; an end to a significant relationship — or some other significant work or life change. Sometimes it’s none of the above but perhaps just a sense that something isn’t quite right. Life is okay….but you’re not sure you want to settle for just ‘okay’. You want more….but more of what??
MISSING IN ACTION? Time to reconnect to your inner game:
Navigating the challenges of work and life is one thing — creating a TGIM work-life that you authentically love is another. Either way, you can get only so far without a proper compass. That compass is YOU— i.e. the being side of you….appreciating all and who that you are (your values, passions, gifts, strengths, authentic purpose, etc.) — and then bringing that to your outer game…i.e all choices that you make in the ‘doing’ side of things that actualizes who you really are.
Those familiar with my blog will recognize that I refer to this as the Inner Game. Those who know me as a coach know that regardless what goal, challenge or context you bring to our coaching alliance, I always start our work with the inner game….and we weave it throughout the journey.
Creating a TGIM worklife must start with knowing yourself. And that in itself is a lifelong process because we evolve, grow, stretch. Choices that made up a fulfilling worklife a few years ago might not be the right choices for today. Because – and remember this: there is no such thing as the perfect job forever. There might be a perfect job that fits for a good long while. But the holy grail of forever-perfect may not exist for many of us.
If all this ‘inner game’ this sounds a little ‘woo woo’ to you, rest assured. The most inspired and effective leaders understand that one of the most desired leadership competencies is to ‘know oneself’. Self awareness is a key competency of leadership — and one of the factors of emotional intelligence (of which I am certified to assess and coach).
Worth underscoring: It takes a lot of emotional intelligence to navigate and create a life that is successful, fulfilling, authentic. And self awareness is key.
Here are a few ways to connect to your inner game:
1) Take some time daily (or at least weekly) for reflection. Whether you write your thoughts out, or simply think along a walk, run, stroll……carve out some white space to think, to wonder, to reflect.
2) Focus your reflection with purposeful questions. I provide my coaching clients questions that they can use after each coaching session to deepen their insights, learning and awareness. Reflection is not about ‘analysis until paralysis’. Rather it’s intended to align with a meaningful intention or purpose…and to reveal new learnings/insight that will help you move forward in some way within your life (and the experience of it). The quality of the questions are more important than any immediate answers. Stay in the questions. The answers will come.
3) Challenge yourself to see how you would define yourself — separate from what you ‘do’ by asking: Who would you be if you didn’t have all the familiarity of your daily ‘doing’ or ‘job’ to define you? What would you say? If you have trouble with this….then time to get to know yourself a little better (see next point:)
4) Hire a professional coach to support you in this process so that you can bring more of your authentic self to your life and work choices. As self-serving as this may sound, I believe in this work and encourage you to find a professionally trained and experienced coach that is the right fit for you. In addition to Big Cheese Coaching, you can also source coaches at the International Coach Federation or if you are in the GTA at the local ICF GTA chapter site. I have a FAQ section on my website that can help guide you in some of the questions to ask a prospective coach. See here.
The point I’m hoping to make here (in my plodding, long-winded way:) is that somewhere in all your doing, is a ‘being’ that is wanted to be known, understood, expressed and honoured in your life.
Your actions, choices, decisions in life would be so much more meaningful if they were aligned with your ‘being’. The stuff that makes you uniquely you. Your gifts, strengths, passions, authentic purpose.
So take a break from all your doing and pause to acknowledge yourself for all that you are and who you are being today. To you and a TGIM work and life:)
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