Hard Work is Hard

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When I think about wayfinding and how to define it, I’ve often talked about it as navigating the path between work and life. Finding a way to put one foot in front of the other, slowly aligning who we are and what we do so that ultimately we can be (and feel like) one authentic, whole person.

In theory, it should be pretty simple, right? 

Well, today I’m here to tell you that this sh*t is hard.

Not hard in the way my pilates teacher yells, “hard work is hard!” when we’re holding a plank, knowing that we need to dig down and find more.

No. This is the kind of hard that leaves you feeling anxious, irritable, and exhausted. The kind of hard that leaves you awake at night, mentally reviewing your to-do list over and over and wondering why you just can’t relax and fall asleep already. The kind of hard that makes you look around your world and question practically everything you were once so sure of.

How do I know? Because I’m living it.

I started 2018 with a wish for what I wanted to bring into my life. Starting around Thanksgiving last year, I began repeating to myself: “Abundance with purpose, joy and ease.” For me, abundance meant opportunity, generosity, fullness. Being open to new things coming my way, and being willing and ready to share that energy with others. Some of it was tied to filling my financial ‘bucket,’ sure – but abundance, for me, really meant more than that.

I then chose to attach my wish for abundance to three defining words: purpose, joy and ease. Abundance with purpose meant having clarity in my actions, focus in all the busyness. Abundance with joy reminded me to bring a giving, grateful spirit to my interactions and to share my full cup with others. And abundance with ease meant allowing myself deep breaths, moments of complete rest and calm in the midst of all the movement.

I wonder now if perhaps I should have been more specific with the universe when making this wish for myself. Because what has shown up in the first two weeks of 2018 can surely be called abundance: new opportunities, new routines, new relationships, new questions, and more. It’s very, very true to say my life right now feels very abundant.

But purposeful? Joyful? Filled with ease? Nope. Not in the slightest.

If wayfinding is about navigation, then let’s just say I’ve steered off course. And the after-effects of that misfire have been very tough to shake.

So, what’s a wayfinder to do? Time to course correct. 

How each of us goes through this course correction process is different. For me, two things I always turn to in times of chaos are making lists and getting outside. My love for both was combined this week when I went for a brisk walk on a misty morning and listened to Jonathan Fields talk through his “7 P’s for Success Scaffolding” – a well-honed list of seven steps for setting anyone up to succeed with any endeavor.

While I thought the whole series of steps was valuable, one in particular struck me: #5 Practical Process. Jonathan gives the example of setting the goal of wanting to run a 10K. Say you find a plan to prepare for that achievement over 6 weeks, but the plan requires you to train for 90 minutes a day. That may sound possible, especially if others give testimonials to the plan having worked for them – but what if you examine your life and realize giving 90 minutes a day to this process isn’t actually practical for the realities of your life?

What I know now is that, while pursuing abundance, I have actually created a process for myself that isn’t practical for the true nature of my life. In search of opportunities and movement and fullness, I lost sight of the wise boundaries I had originally set up: purpose, joy and ease.

This week, I’m choosing to focus on those three additional, clarifying words – trusting that the abundance piece will stick around as long as I carry with me an open heart and mind:

  • How might I bring more purpose and intention to the swirling list of opportunities in front of me?
  • How might I recognize and savor the moments of joy, gratitude and happiness that this abundance has brought into my life?
  • How might I move through my day (and even my to-do list) with a sense of ease and grace, giving myself permission to stop and rest, rather than always pushing through?

None of this is easy. But then again, hard work is hard. 

Hard work is hard. 

Hard work is worth it.

This is worth it.

My life is worth it. Your life is worth it.

What wishes are you inviting into your life? Do you have a practical process set up to scaffold your success?

Onward,

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