Today, I re-read one of my early blog posts, "The Nature of Work." I can't help looking at the synchronicity; I posted that at the very time I realized the full extent of the driven-ness that seemed such an inherent part of my personality. I set out on a course to started to systematically disassemble it. Clearly this dismantling is an ongoing process and yet one in which I can see definite change.
My musings about work back then were the beginnings of that journey; I was coming to the realization the the products of my work are more intangible than I grew up expecting them to be. I have yet to produce the great American novel or a fine painting. I don't have a single invention, patent nor any goods to show. I realized many years ago that I am unlikely to be "famous." Nonetheless, imaginary judges critique every word and action; and somehow I often fall short.
Like many of you, I was brought up by hard-working parents who set a good example of responsibility and productivity. Fair enough. At age 51, however, I think I can hardly blame them for any compunction toward proving myself that lingers on today. I think it is in our natures to make work tower in importance and define us -- but I don't think the fact that's it natural means it has to be that way! Lice are natural too -- but I don't want 'em!
These days, my major occupation is "mama." And yet, I can still quite easily get driven. So it turns out, after all these years, what I have always suspected is actually true -- it's not the job causing me stress, it's me!
I know that what is required is radical truth telling. What life is demanding of me is that I determine what is truly of value and rewrite the code for that scrolling critique that runs my internal Twitter status. I am doing some self-remembering lately. I recommend it!
Here are some things you can do to dismantle the driven-ness in you:
- Several times each day (set an alarm) pause to take a couple of deep breaths and take a look around. Refocus your life to the present.
- Write down the lies you are telling yourself (i.e., "I have to be perfect," "I have to get a promotion"); it's safe to assume that if it starts with "I have to . . ." it bears examining.
- Write down a "being" goal each day; we are all pretty good at making to-do lists, how about a "to be" list?
These things are pulling the plug on the stress for me; I am living that "bright life" more often these days. Let me know how it goes for you!
The very beating of your heart has meaning and purpose.
Your actions have value far greater than silver or gold.
Your life... and what you do with it today...matters forever.
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