The last few weeks have felt grueling. I’ve been spending every minute of my non-coaching work hours on building my business. I’ve been networking, writing, applying for public speaking, pitching prospective leads, investing time in SEO, and on. I was starting to feel a little fatigued and disengaged and I couldn’t figure out why. After all, I had chosen this new career path, why wasn’t I loving every minute? When the day arrived when I had to jump on a plane to fly across the country, I reluctantly dragged my luggage down the front steps. I didn’t want to leave, it felt like there was SO MUCH TO DO. But, to my surprise, as my car got closer to the airport, every mile seemed to start to invigorate me.
I began to wonder, why was I suddenly energized again? And then it struck me: I was shaking up my routine. I was introducing new stimuli, inviting new adventures, meeting new people and deviating from my usual Monday ritual. It felt a little rebellious. And a lot liberating. In fact, it gave me more motivation to return to my normal Monday blog-writing exercise.
I imagine there are others who might feel the same way that I have been. Feeling like the dull-drum predictability of your routine is sapping your creativity. And if you stay in this cycle for too long, it can lead you down some dark roads. I have a client who used to enjoy meeting others, engaging with people, getting to know her co-workers on a personal level. After years of being in the same environment and not seeing her life blossom as she had hoped, she began to disengage and started to avoid others. She slowly cocooned, took on more work, took less vacation, and when she reached out to work with me, she could no longer remember who she was, what she enjoyed, or what she was good at. Or when she had last taken a vacation. She was about as loyal an employee as you could find. But she was miserable. She is slowly starting to reengage with who she is and build the type of life that she wants to live. And sunlight is gradually starting to shine on her life again.
I started to think about my client, and my experience today, and how I could use this insight to help my readers. And here’s where I landed:
If you are feeling tired and stressed by the ennui of your weekly schedule, shake things up!
There are lots of ways to do this, here are just a few ideas:
- Take a mental health day. And revive your Senior Skip day from high school (remember that? A day when all your friends skipped school too and everyone supported the notion?)
- Plan a business trip and tack on a day or two to explore your new destination
- Plan/suggest a company offsite
- Schedule coffee with a few colleagues you want to get to know better. Ask them about their job and routine (imagine living someone else’s life and then decide what you what changes you want to incorporate into yours)
- Read a book and escape to a different world (I love reading biographies for this reason)
- Seek out a training program that your company will sponsor that will teach you something you’re really interested in learning
This goal of all of the above is to remember who you are, what you like to do, and find ways to incorporate that into your day to day.
If you strive on routine and predictability, the idea of doing any of the above may make you shutter. So think about small ways you can do this, even buying something new to wear might do the trick.
Imagine if you extended this thinking outside of your work life. What’s something different you can do with your friends? Your partner? Your kids? Your parents? Try something off the wall and out of the ordinary. And look for signs that you’re on the right track.
At the very end of this post, when my ipod was randomly shuffling through 1000+ songs, one of my favorites came on. Dancing Nancies by the Dave Matthews Band. On top of that, it was a live song, recorded at a concert I very likely attended at Deer Creek near Indianapolis. It’s one of the best music venues I’ve ever been to because it’s in the country and there are no obstructions so the acoustics are off-the-wall crazy amazing. In this song, Dave always reminds me what’s important: “dark clouds may hang on me sometimes but I’ll work it out… what’s the use of worrying, what’s the use of hurrying? Turn turn we almost become dizzy.”
When you’ve stumbled on the right next step in your life, you’ll know.
Signs will appear to confirm that you’re on the right path. But be sure that you’re paying attention so you see them instead of weighed down by your routine. Permission to take Senior Skip Day is granted.
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