I usually try to blog twice a month but I always find November to be a frantic month. This is my first entry this month and I’m sorry to let you down. There are a lot of school commitments in November and I am very busy focusing on my second book.
My calendar is full of appointments where I interview people about stress in their lives. I am finding it so rewarding and I love the process. People open up about very personal things in their lives and I am humbled by many of their experiences. Talking to a lot of people shows me that people are struggling with many things. They are carrying around heavy burdens and my life doesn’t appear to be that hard in comparison. It gives me perspective and helps me to appreciate all that I have.
Last week I was lucky enough to get a free ticket to a Dr John Demartini talk. It was the first time I got to see him live and it was so interesting for me. As a speaker myself, I wanted to experience a talk from someone as accomplished as him in this space. The topic was also very pertinent: how to transform adversity. As someone who has experienced great adversity in the past few years with my burnout, it was a wonderful topic for me.
He spoke about aligning with your values, a topic I briefly cover in my book, Avoiding Burnout. What I realized during his talk is that my days are a lot better when I’m working towards things that I care about. I love my kids and I do want to be there for them but sometimes my days are completely dominated by their activities, needs and demands. I spend hours in the car each week getting them to their various commitments and I often end the day feeling resentful that I could not tackle my stuff.
I feel torn in the late afternoons between doing the obligatory cooking and evening routine, and trying to squeeze in a hour or so of my work. It sometimes feels like my work gets pushed to the end of the list of priorities and gets abandoned. This leaves me feeling defeated and wondering how I can ever accomplish my dreams. A defeated person is not an inspiring person. On the other hand, someone who has focused on their dreams and spent some of their day achieving things, feels happy and ready to give.
Just as Demartini spoke about, it doesn’t feel tiring and I’m not exhausted at the end of the day. I have recovered fully from my burnout and I’m able to tackle a lot in a day. I’m able to operate like a normal person – squeezing in trips to the shops at short notice and rushing the kids around to multiple things on the weekend. I love my work and I want to keep doing this as long as I can. I am excited about my next book and when I’m excited, those around me are lifted too.
I also started seeing a coach lately to have a third party to account to. I wanted to get my book going a long time ago but it tends to slip down the busy to do list. Having a coach is working so well for me as I am pushing hard to deliver on what I promised and I am accomplishing a lot more. I am working harder than I have in months and I’m really enjoying it.
Doing the interviews for my second book, Healing Burnout, is fascinating. I enjoy it so much more than I thought I would. I love engaging with people, hearing their stories and learning from them. I’m seeing new perspectives on how we manage stress and what we put in place to avoid harmful stress. On these days, I don’t feel a pull towards my sanctuary to write and work. I feel content and I’m in a good mood. I feel empowered and that I’m working towards my goals.
It’s interesting for me that we know things and we know what’s good for us but we fail to do it. I knew that I needed an external person to account to in order to move forward with my goals. Yet I hesitated in getting a coach. Now that she’s working with me, I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. Knowing yourself is really important and is the first of my principles of self-preservation in my book. I knew what I needed, yet I didn’t give myself permission to do it. I also knew that aligning with my values was important and that we are much happier when our work aligns with our values.
I also knew that taking care of everyone else’s needs first was one of the ways I ended up burnt out. I’m feeling so much happier and in control of my life now that I”m working on something I’m passionate about. I’m nicer to be around and I can inspire others when I’m in this place. I just need to keep it up so that I don’t slip into bad habits again, ignoring my needs and my values and not giving myself permission to do what I want and need to do.
Are your values aligned to your work? Do you give yourself permission to do the things you want to do?