If you have a day-to-day life that works for you, you pretty much win the game of life. Big time. And the first step in getting a day-to-day life that works for you is getting clear on what that life looks like.
What does it mean to have a day-to-day life that works for you?
A day-to-day life that works for you is filled with activities that you enjoy that are in service of things you value.
If you have a business, you believe in what you’re doing and you like most or all of the tasks involved in running it.
These two components are quite different and aren’t necessarily connected. A person may passionately believe in the environmental cause to which a non-profit is dedicated. But she may hate her job at the non-profit because it involves knocking on doors to get donations, which makes her very uncomfortable. Or a person may like shmoozing with people but feel her job as a drug rep is morally problematic.
The power of self-knowledge
All knowledge is powerful.
In the negotiation workshop I took in law school, we’d prepare for a negotiation by understanding not only our own positions, but also the positions of the people with whom we were negotiating as well as anyone else who may be affected by our negotiation. The more you understand a situation, the better you can deal with it.
I believe clarity about yourself is of prime importance.
When you’re clear about:
- what you truly want and
- what activities you enjoy truly enjoy
then you can set up your life so it works for you. So it flows naturally and easily. Much of the struggle we have in life comes from trying to force ourselves to do things we don’t really enjoy to achieve goals that we don’t really care about.
Trying to work on something you don’t care about
I’ve seen two scenarios over and over again. In the first, a person says something like, “I’d like your help with my business. I’m completely stuck. My ‘to do’ list is a mile long, but I can’t seem to make myself do a thing on it.” After some exploration, we usually discover that he’s trying to make himself do something that, deep down, he doesn’t really care about all that much. After he understands what’s going on, he can begin the process of letting go of the project and finding a project he really enjoys.
When he’s clear about what projects are truly in his heart, he doesn’t have to struggle with motivation. He’ll have natural energy and enthusiasm for it.
Trying to get yourself to do something you dislike doing
“Laura,” a sweet client says to me, “I keep wanting to go to networking events to drum up clients for my business, but I have some sort of resistance about going. Will you help me make myself go to some meetings?”
That’s not something to which I generally agree. A request like that means that it’s time for us to explore the situation. Are there other options for achieving the same goal that she may enjoy? Can we find ways to make going to networking meetings more enjoyable for her?
If at all possible, I’d want to find an approach that works for her, so she doesn’t have to struggle and force herself to do things she doesn’t want to do, especially if it’s something she’ll be doing regularly.
Bottom line: the importance of clarity about yourself
Fighting yourself, trying to force yourself to do something you don’t care about or enjoy doing, takes a tremendous amount of energy Even if you succeed at forcing yourself, the results may not be what you want. People can sense when your heart isn’t in what you’re doing. You do things with a different spirit and energy when you’re forcing yourself. Even if you succeed, you have to keep forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do, which is difficult to sustain in the long run.
You can avoid all that if you take the time up front to get clear. To figure out what you really want. To think about what activities you enjoy. And craft a plan for which you’ll have natural enthusiasm and talent.
Getting clear is a delicate process, not something you can force. Next, we’ll look at the important question: how do you learn about yourself?