I put a great deal of time and energy into building my career. And there is always something that needs to be done: new projects, books, podcasts, radio and TV interviews, webinars, and customizing programs for clients. The more I complete, the more in-demand as a speaker I am. Now don’t misunderstand me; this is not a complaint. I really do love and enjoy what I do. It feels good to provide needed services, and I feel that I do them well. The important thing is what I choose to do when I’m not in front of an audience or working on new programs.
After a lifetime of worry, frustration and disappointment in little shortcomings, I am now beginning to understand how valuable that time in between is. I call it my time. And with my time, I simply do what makes me happy.
The amount of my time isn’t as important as the attention I give it. In other words, it’s quality time that matters, not quantity. This time can be a day or a few weeks at home in between bookings, or it can be a simple luxury of staying overnight at a hotel before I give a morning speech. Whatever the amount of time I have, it’s what I choose to do with my time that brings value to it. I try to make conscious choices to feed my soul and complement parts of myself that need fostering and make me happy.
For example, whether I’m home or on the road, I always find time to exercise. Always! It simply makes me feel great physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Sometimes when I’m away from home, I might choose to walk through a historical neighborhood. I discovered years ago that walking is a form of meditation that always puts my mind at ease. Quite often, as I’m walking, solutions to problems hit me with such clarity that I have to laugh. (Seriously, try that the next time you’re all stressed out over a problem at work.) Or perhaps I might choose to stay in my hotel room and take a nap or read a book. Both are something I am accustomed to. Something else I love to do when I’m traveling is meet with friends for dinner and indulge in great conversation, nonstop laughter and, of course, a great bottle of wine (or two or three). Don’t give me that look! There’s always a designated driver.
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These are just some of the things that complete me as a person. To you, they might seem simple, unproductive or even boring. But to me, they are essential to my well-being. My time is when I let go of the hectic world and find my balance. Within this time, I have a profound understanding that I don’t have to push life so much in order to experience it harmoniously, to be guided more by intuition than ambition. Some of my greatest insights have come to me when I have decided to simply break away and pay attention to who I am.
Your job is not who you are; it’s what you do. What you do for a living might be a sacred part of who you are, but on its own merits, it doesn’t complete you. There’s so much more to you than what you do to earn a paycheck. Deep down, you know this is true.
By all means, dedicate a great amount of time toward achieving your professional goals. But for your sake, learn how to let go and honor those other sacred parts of yourself. If you do, don’t be surprised if you find that you are more passionate, enthusiastic and motivated at work. Allow yourself the freedom to use your time to love, laugh and learn. Find your balance! Find your joy! Live your life with passion! Don’t be afraid to shift your life in the direction of the things that you value and that nourish your soul. Shift your focus when you are feeling fragmented and upset to bring yourself back to your higher sense of being, and shift your priorities to allow yourself to focus on what matters.
Because when that shift happens, your life changes. And trust me, it’s for the better.
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