Are You Losing YOU In The Struggle?
How often do you spend some time in deep reflection about who you are and where you want to go? A time of sacred idleness when you let those deeper thoughts that have been suppressed by a crazy busy schedule bubble to the surface. Moments when you pay attention to your feelings, questions, frustrations, hopes, and dreams.
If you're like many people, your answer is "rarely." I find that we're so busy "checking the boxes" of our task list that we rarely stop and ask if they are the right boxes to check (and yes, I find myself in that situation far too often). The person we strive to become is squashed by unrelenting demands on our time and unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We rationalize that we'll have time later for such reflection or that things will slow down in the future... and they never do.
If you're growing tired of the hamster wheel, rat race, juggling routine, daily grind, or whatever cliche that describes your current quagmire, find 15-30 minutes of uninterrupted time and answer these questions:
Am I living true to myself and my values?
Think about the significant choices you have made over the past 30 days. Are they in alignment with your highest values and priorities? Where are you failing to honor your values... and why? Is it convenience? An unwillingness to say no? Pressure from others?
Am I investing enough in the relationships in my life?
When life gets busy, one of the first areas we tend to neglect is our relationships. Ironically, it's these same relationships that can be such a tremendous support system for us when we are experiencing life at full throttle.
How fulfilled do I feel with my life?
(Use a scale of 1-10 with 1 being "not at all" and 10 being "completely.")
Regardless of your answer, think about what needs to change for you to give yourself a two point increase in rating. What does that look like?
If I continue doing what I've been doing, where will I be in one year? In three years?
Think about your big and small routines... or lack thereof. Are your daily actions compounding over time to get you to where you want to be professionally and personally?
What advice do I wish I would have gotten three years ago?
How would that advice have changed where you are today? What advice do you need to give yourself today so you don't look back with regret three years from now?
What is weighing me down more than I want to admit?
It could be anything from an unfinished project at work to a strained relationship. Whatever it is, what steps could you take now to help resolve it and recapture some much needed energy?
What's my overall attitude when I wake up?
Those first few moments in the morning set the tone for the rest of the day. If you're not waking up with a positive expectancy about what a new day could bring, what needs to change?
My hope is that as you answer these questions you begin to sense a greater need to better utilize your time to accomplish your highest priorities. Todd Henry puts it best:
We live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today's work...It's a lie.