By Nancy Fredericks
Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.thrivewithnancy.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
Deep inside ourselves, almost everyone believes they’re on their heroine’s journey.
But, tell me, what’s heroic about working yourself to exhaustion? Where is the superwoman winning the hearts and minds of others when we choose project assignment after assignment over our family or anything else that is important to us?
It’s healthy, even common sense, to draw boundary lines against the time erosion of our company’s expectations.
We all have experienced the currents of work environments can have us drifting off course unless we anchor ourselves to the fullness of our values and aspirations. Clarity regarding the composition of our life must be safeguarded rather than permitting the urgency of one area to run wild over the other.
I get it. We all have to earn an income, but not at the cost of the rest of our lives. Even with much of my work falling into areas of my passion that lights me up, I still need the other side of my life to count.
When we allow the business side to consume the bulk of our energy, it leaves little for the also-crucial in our lives. And that is an equation guaranteed to jettison fulfillment no matter how much success we attain.
We need to honor the healing rhythms of life….work…rest…fun…community… and everything else dear to our hearts.
So, what’s a powerful woman to do?
First, it begins with envisioning your life in its entirety as you want it to be…which means in full detail and drawing in all the color and emotions of your desires to generate a satisfying life.
- How important are your family and friends in your time and attention equation? Do you fit them in only during the slivers of time remaining once work is complete, or are they top on your time pursuits?
- Don’t forget your household chores. My particular stress bug-a-boo is shoveling. Not that I don’t find enjoyment with the outdoors and the snow and exercise, but it always seems to fall on my most overstuffed work days! I then elect to give up the negative dialogue in my head and enjoy the activity consciously.
- What habits make your life unique and are crucial to your wellbeing? Is it an invigorating walk in the morning? Or sipping a hot honey tea as you pray or meditate? Or stories shared with your kids at the end of the day? Are these heart-healing habits intact or squeezed out by the urgent?
- What outside activities bring you joy and satisfaction that doesn’t include your profession? List as many as you want in your life. And then, how often do you want them to be part of your regular schedule?
- Are you taking your vacations on a timely basis? What fantastic destinations are you dreaming of traveling to next? When?
- What else do you want to incorporate into your world?
Now that you’ve immersed yourself in your ideal whole-life aspirations, it’s time to delineate your life preferences.
Second, Yourself Priorities. Please note I’m starting with the personal since it often takes a backseat when it comes to our time commitments. Such an equation simply isn’t healthy. I know how difficult this concept is in today’s work environment. I continually have had to fight this battle myself as I find my calendar has run so askew that the bulk of my energy focuses on my company, not on what I hold precious.
What are the resulting emotions? Burnout. Discontentment. Exhaustion. Boredom.
I then need to remind myself that I work to support my personal life. Something is deeply off when I’m working so many hours I no longer have the joy and refreshment of off-time. That isn’t life. It’s a hamster wheel existence.
Third, Professional Priorities. I know that we women feel we have to prove ourselves more often than not. With such an attitude, women believe doing more gains them the keys to the kingdom to achieve their career goals. Wrong calculation. Strategic assignments are more crucial to successful careers than is quantity.
Have you begun transforming your mindset to align your work activities with your professional aspirations?
As a woman on your Heroine’s Journey, you can’t afford to let the world of business suck you in so much that you miss out on the fullness of all that your life can and should be. What heroic outcome is designed from that formula? Do you want your world filled with the stuffy greyness of work or a life bright with joy and fun?
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