I get a lot of newsletters. Some I read, some I scan, and some I delete. Last week, I noticed a trend in what I was reading. Or maybe I felt it was timely since I just completed ‘call #1’ in my 5 for 5 coaching (5 people for 5 months on a love-offering basis) and people were feeling a bit uncomfortable. Not only that, the Spiritual Center where I am a minster is physically expanding in a new way which is causing some discomfort in me. Walls need to be painted, other walls need to come down, and new walls need to be created.
We say we want progress, change, and growth and yet we seem to want to cling to the familiar.
We are reluctant to let go of what’s comfortable. And we don’t get to have both. Yes, comfort and joy may go together in a Christmas Carol, but comfort and growth (and dare I even say comfort and happiness) do not go together. What is the stronger pull? Our argument FOR our limitations or the movement toward fulfillment and wholeness? It should be a no-brainer, right? Think again.
Did you know that only 17% of the adult population is said to be flourishing; fulfilling their potential for happiness, success, and productivity?
Only 17%. That’s less than one in five. Ouch.
Here’s a blurb from one of the newsletters I received last week: “Trying to think beyond what we already know is really important if we want real change, real progress, but it is not easy to do! The process of Creative Imagination requires us to leave the realm of the known and to enter the not-yet-known. There is the answer, the great new idea, the future, waiting for us to claim it but it cannot arise in our awareness if we are clinging to how it has been. There is no room at the inn, so to speak."
Here’s a blurb from another: “Remember that people don’t hire coaches, they invest in getting specific problems solved and achieving results.”
And then some of us are so focused on change, growth, progress, “getting it done,” and achieving results that we forget to take any time for fun, play, and rejuvenation. I don’t know about you, but when I am “all work and no play,” I am definitely NOT flourishing. I may be productive, but I am also stressed out.
So, I came up with a short list (we love lists, don't we) of three simple things we can do to help us un-cling to the familiar.
1. Take some time out for relaxation and fun. Did you realize that taking a vacation can make you more productive? And studies show that after working 60 hours / week for two months you actually accomplish less than if you’d only been working 40 hours / week. Take a small recess every two hours. No work allowed. Take a rest or be playful. Allow your mind and your body to take a break from work, work, work (or even worry, worry, worry).
2. Set some priorities. Decide on your top priorities for the day or week and say “no” to everything else. Ask yourself these questions: Does this thing really need to be done at all? Do you absolutely have to be the one to do it? Does it need to be done perfectly or is “good enough” good enough? Does it need to be done right now? It is so easy to get sidetracked on those small tasks that we think will just take a moment or two (and maybe they do) – but if you add up all these small, unimportant tasks, we've taken away time from our priorities and what’s important. And now there is no time left for play and relaxation and rejuvenation.
3. Make friends with the feeling of discomfort. I know that doesn't sound fun. And discomfort doesn't equal pain. And discomfort doesn't equal sadness. For some of us, having fun may be uncomfortable or using our vivid imagination may be uncomfortable. Thinking outside the box may be uncomfortable. Learn a new skill. Take up a new hobby. Master something you are only competent with. Instead of simply zoning out in front of the TV, do something different (and that’s uncomfortable) that moves you toward your zone of brilliance instead of your zone of mediocrity.
And I am following my own directives. I took Monday off. Oh, I had big plans to clean my bedroom and bathroom and I had a pile of other chores in mind to do as well. So, it wasn't a day of relaxation and fun. And guess what? I didn't do any of that. I wandered and strolled. I took a nap. I meditated and contemplated. It was wonderful. I definitely felt recharged.
I’ll be in Seattle this week and I plan on doing nearly nothing on Friday in Seattle. However, I’m hoping my “play” will include the Space Needle and the Experience Music Project Museum. And if it doesn't that's okay, too. My priority is to take some time for ME. And you know what? That makes me feel uncomfortable.
Join me in un-clinging to the familiar and make a move toward progress, growth, and flourishing. Let’s be one of that 17%. I hope you’re with me.
Until next time,
Have some fun, stay aware, and rock on!
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.