Are you leaving yourself behind?

9 Jan

You have a million things you want to do and do well.

How do you decide what is worth pursuing and what isn’t?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with individuals who realize that the goal they’ve been striving to meet turns out not to be THEIR goal at all.

They come to me with a lack of passion, bored, uninspired, and wondering what they heck their purpose is and what would create meaning in their lives.
Sometimes rather than focusing just on motivation and the commitment necessary to achieve a goal, we dig a little deeper to get to the heart of their morose state.  Sometimes it’s worth diving into some uncomfortable and not necessarily easily answered questions. I’m going to share with you those that I’ve been asking myself of late.

I thought about this recently after a conversation I had with my mom. She asked me what I had done over the weekend. True to form I began rattling off a long list of  activities. “Well…..” I led, “I got up early and went in the office, trained and did some cardio, found the research articles I needed for my next paper, reviewed and took notes on all of them and then spent the next 4 hours writing it.  I still need to get all the in-text citations in there though. I find that I lose my train of thought when I need to stop and put in all the author’s names. I’ll probably do that later after I clean the house, do some laundry, work on my powerpoint presentation for the camp at the end of the month….”

She asked me how I have the drive to do so much.

“No one else is going to do it, Mom. But I also see the benefit in each one of these things. Do I derive joy out of writing a paper every week on a topic that just feeling like I’m regurgitating information? No. But I’m really perfecting my writing skills through the process, and that’s exciting for me! I’ve seen a huge change just in the past few months!”

I have been in situations and relationships that have driven me to feeling like I just want to give up. Throw it all away. Trash it. Start over. And it’s those types of feeling that I use now to ask myself a few key questions to center myself around the purpose of what I’m doing. Here they are:

1. Where does my drive to pursue it come from?

  • Think of your most prominent values: freedom? love? connection? achievement?  If you email me I can give you a laundry list of personal values that you can use to assess your reasons for behaving the way you do!)

2. Why do I want it?

  • What will the outcome be if I do this?
  • How will I benefit?
  • There is incentive in everything we do, otherwise we wouldn’t do it. Even if we are hurting ourselves, there is incentive at least in the short-term action. Binge eating, for example, is a method of avoiding a negative feeling- a short-term solution with long-term negative consequences.

3. Who am I doing it for? This is a biggie! We hear stories all the time about kids who are being pushed to do certain things in the pursuit of excellence, later to find out that the path was miserable for them. The goal wasn’t theirs– it was their parents’! Even as adults, however, we are easily swayed by the needs, wants, desires, and pursuits perceived as important to others. We can spend our whole lives chasing something that was never a passion of ours to begin with. Assess whether it’s the pursuit that you are relishing or what is at the end that you desire.  If it’s both, you’ve got it going on!

Don’t leave yourself behind in this go-go-go society. Take some time to assess what’s really important to you, and then chase it like there’s no tomorrow!

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