Ideal Work Life

Overwhelmed By Your Life? Perhaps It Is Time to Simplify.

If you had millions of dollars, what would you do? Buy an expensive house and car? How about a used van and park it by the ocean? That is exactly what Major League pitcher Daniel Norris did. Instead of spending his multimillion dollar contract to live up to the appearance of a celebrity ball player, this 21-year-old pitcher chose a simpler life. In a segment on the Today Show Daniel Norris said, “When I can simplify outside of the fair and foul lines, that’s so much less to think about off the field and all my focus is put onto the baseball field.”

Ideal Work LifeAs you go through your day, what is causing your stress, worry, and distraction? Is it a desire for a new car? Is it ensuring your dinner party is as good as your neighbor’s was? Are you concerned about people stealing what you own? Are you having difficulty paying your mortgage but worry you have failed if you downsize? Are you stressed because you can’t seem to achieve the American dream? Perhaps your unique dream life is different from the one society has dictated for us all.

Are the issues causing stress in your life providing you with any value? Start cataloging everything in your life. What brings you joy? What makes you feel whole? What helps to make you your best? Now, what is causing you to feel overwhelmed? What is a distraction? What is more hassle than it is worth? Next explore what is keeping you from removing things from your life that are affecting you negatively. Do you keep them around for your values or someone else’s? Are you living your unique Type Me life or are you unhappily living someone else’s life? Your ideal life might not to be living in a van, but is it the way you are living now?

Look around you. Did you create your life or are you living the life your parents, society, or your peers instilled in you? Are you trying to win at a game you don’t want to play? If you had the courage and the means, what life would you create? What would be included? What would you remove?

Henry David Thoreau wrote in the book Walden, “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” Simplifying your life is not just about downsizing your house or selling your possessions. At its heart, simplifying means living by your values. What do you personally value? When you choose to add something in your life, do you first gauge it against what you values? If you lived by your values, what would you experience? Make a list of all of the adjectives that would describe your life if you lived by your values. Perhaps it would be calm, peaceful, and content. Perhaps it would be exciting, adventurous, and joyful. What makes your heart sing? What truly makes you happy? Are you actively bringing into your life those things that make you happy?

Can you be as brave as Daniel Norris and remove yourself from the expectations of your role and status to remain true to your Type Me? Are you willing to stand up to ridicule and live the life that brings you joy? Are you ready to choose your version of living no matter what society expects? It is time to simplify your life by removing everything that is not you?

Living your life

Working for a Living

Recently whenever I talk to a client or friend about their job I hear:

I have lost the passion for my work.

My co-worker undermined my project.

It seems we only shuffle paper and no longer provide anything of true value.

My boss took credit for my work.

I have to work overtime again, without pay.

There is too much work to do. I am completely overwhelmed.

Once again, I had a nervous breakdown in my office.

There are many reasons we feel this way. The economy tanked out in 2008 and led to layoffs but the same amount of work to be done, so those still employed are doing the work that used to be split between many others.

A primary focus on quarterly goals has created an atmosphere of short-term thinking. The best choices for the company, customer, and worker are secondary to trying to increase the appearance of quarterly profits for Wall Street.

Individuals are afraid of losing their job, feel their pocketbook tightening, and have increased pressures. Because of this, tempers are shorter, people share less, care less. Civility and compassion at work are diminishing.

How Can You Make Your Job Better?

Living your lifeThere may be a few very slow moving changes we can make to the state of our business and the economy overall. In the meantime, what we can affect to make a less than desirable circumstance better is our own perspective, thoughts, beliefs, actions, and reactions.

Often when there are issues or conflicts, we want the other to change. We want our boss to be fair. We want our co-worker to do their share. We want the economy to improve. However, these are not things we can truly affect. We are not in control of them. We may be able to state our case to our boss, but we can not control her response. We can bring the workload situation up to our co-worker but we can’t change his level of execution.

To truly change our experience, we need to change ourselves. You may be in a negative circumstance, but you are still in control of how you experience that circumstance.

We need to become Aware of our actions and reactions. Are our actions and reactions helping or hurting us? Are we making situations even worse by how we react and feel about them? Are we allowing a poor work environment to affect our sense of self worth?

We need to learn Acceptance of the situation and others. This does not mean we rollover and take abuse. Acceptance means ending our desire for things to be different than they truly are. Much of our pain can be the pain from expecting and desiring things to be different than reality.

We need to look for Alternatives. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. What are things you can change in your own beliefs, actions, and reactions which could improve your experience of your current job?

We need to take Action. Complaining about our work but then approaching it the same way is not action. Blaming others and waiting for them to change is not action. Every day what are the small steps you can take to make your experience just a little bit better? That is action.

For more concrete ideas to make your current job better, download the 10 Ways to Survive a Less Than Ideal Job. To learn how I used Awareness, Acceptance, Alternatives, and Action to change my experience download the first chapter of From Type-A to Type-ME: A Framework for Stress Reduction. Both are available gratis. Learn how you can help share Melissa’s story, reduce the amount of stress in the world, and reserve your copy of From Type-A to Type-ME.

What do you see as the answer to this problem for you? What are the small steps you can take today to make a difference in your own experience?