Most of us are really good at keeping ourselves BUSY and BUZZING. If there is a problem, we FIX IT. If there is an event we “should” go to, we ARE THERE (business cards in our back pockets).
We often tell ourselves that the solution to finding a solid job is to look harder, network better, work longer, and push through. If we want to lose weight, we need to eat more kale and do more sit-ups. We have internalized that the key to success is discipline, force, and will-power. After all, we are fierce go-getters (who secretly feel really freaking overwhelmed).
On the flip side, we are uncomfortable with empty space. We get fidgety when there is no cell reception and having a weekend with no plans sounds good in theory but can easily leave us feeling lonely and desperate for attention and distraction. Even more, when we take time for ourselves and invest into our own well-being, we can quickly get down on ourselves for not being “productive” or for “wasting time.”
We are running a race to… success? happiness? feeling important? being approved of?
What race are YOU running? Or a better question might be: What are you afraid of will happen if you slow down?
There are any number of fears that keep us from slowing down. From my own life as well as from my clients stories, I know that our fear of failure and success, our fear of rejection and disapproval, our fear of making ourselves vulnerable and showing ourselves exactly as we are, ever so often hold a big fat leash around our necks keeping us from being… well, US.
The thing is that as long a we are busy and buzzing on the surface, we make sure that we stay in our brains, in logic, in reason, and in certainty. We keep ourselves protected from embarrassment and failure. In exchange, we are willing to deal with feeling overwhelmed because at least we feel like we are “on the road” to something important… we are so busy, how could we not be?!
What we don’t realize is that our purpose doesn’t live in the space of logic or in the world of reason. If we want to find our purpose, do meaningful work and fall madly in love, we have to drop to a deeper level, where our intuition, passion, and authenticity live. Unless we are willing to step outside of our comfort zone, nothing can change; at least not anything truly transformational.
Here is how to start the process of dropping deeper and finding your purpose (and it truly is a process):
Write down what makes you feel the most free. In what scenarios do you feel most like yourself? When and where do you feel like you are adding the most value?
Once you identify these things for yourself, create the space in your life to experience these scenarios. Make them a priority. It’s ok to not go to every networking event or to say “no” to dinner plans with your friends or family. Living in the grey means that there is space for flexibility, play, imperfection and ultimately, your authenticity and your purpose.
[Image above: andres.thor]