Here’s your weekly dose of Fired Up Frday, the newsletter from Straddle The Line where I share life hacks, career tips and inspirational content to help you find purpose in your work and fulfillment in your life.
Swallow Your Pride
As we grow out of our teenage years into our twenties and thirties life’s complexities start to mount up. We search for career stability and prosperity. We want to find financial security despite our mountain of debts. Romantic relationships have more gravity as people look to settle down.
Trying to balance all of these things will put a lot of weight on anyone. It puts a lot of weight on me. Just when I think I have one part of my life “figured out” another hurdle pops up that forces me to reconsider my progress. I wrestle with the new problem endlessly until my mind forms into a pretzel.
The worst part? I usually take this burden on all by myself.
I’m too proud to tell my family, friends or girlfriend about what’s really going on. I don’t want them to worry. I don’t want people to think my life is imperfect. Like many of us, I like to maintain a facade that projects to the world “I’m doing great!” even when it’s not true. Scratch that… especially when it’s not true.
But if I learned anything from my mini career crisis two years ago (which has been well documented on this blog), it’s that the worst thing you can do is keep it all in. You do not have to face these burdens alone. In fact, I would argue, you CANNOT face them alone.
Everyone around you is ready to help if you let them. You just need to swallow your pride, raise your hand and tell the trusted people in your life “I need help.” Everyone will be eager to support you and they won’t think anything of your “imperfect” life. We’re all imperfect.
In fact, by you opening up first, the other person might let you into their life as well. You can then start to support each other and that’s when the magic really starts to happen
Escape the Emotional Rollercoaster
One day I have a productive meeting with a prospect and advance a sale. My mind fills with optimism as I start counting up the potential business I’ll close. I feel great.
The very next day I get an email from another prospect who tells me they’re choosing a competitor. It’s a sale I was working on for months. I’m devastated.
Each day is a roller coaster where I’m allowing external circumstances to dictate my ups and downs. It’s a roller coaster I can’t get off of… or so it seems. But there’s an old philosophy I’ve been reading up on and applying to my life that’s beginning to help.
Stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy that teaches us to feel indifference towards pleasure or pain. Stoics believe that the path to happiness is found in accepting this moment as it presents itself and by not allowing ourselves to be controlled by our desire for pleasure or our fear of pain.
I’ve found that by attempting to be more even-keeled no matter what the day brings, I’m able to slow down the roller coaster and make my days more stable. Now when I have a good sales call I smile, take a deep breath and move on with my day. Similarly, if I have a bad call I reflect on it for a minute, take a deep breath and move on. I don’t attach myself to the accomplishment or dwell on the mistake.
Being indifferent might sound bad but if the alternative is riding an emotional rollercoaster, I’ll take indifference any day.
It’s easy to feel like you’re accomplishing something just because you’re busy. You show up at the office in the morning and write out your “To-Do” list and as you check each item off throughout the day you get this little rush of energy and feeling of accomplishment. At the surface, it seems that the more items you can check off of your list the more productive your day.
But do you ever take the time to scrutinize what’s on your to-do list? How many of those things are essential to your work and how many can be pushed off or perhaps never completed at all? What is essential to accomplish this day or this week or this quarter? What are you doing to move that item forward?
These are questions you need to ask yourself to move out of, what Life Hack calls, “To-Do” List Purgatory. By focusing in on what’s essential in your work you can avoid the “busy” high that plagues us all and carve out time in your day to work on things that are more meaningful and that will actually produce the results you’re seeking.
When you get to your desk today and look at your “To-Do” list, ask yourself is this item essential? If it’s not, find one that is.
Quote of the Week:
“Creativity and ego cannot go together. If you free yourself from the comparing and jealous mind, your creativity opens up endlessly. Just as water springs from a fountain, creativity springs from every moment.” – Jeong Kwan
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