My tendency to be goal orientated and driven manifested itself at an early age. Like many others, I went to Brownies as a little girl. Sadly, I can’t tell you much about the girls in the pack or what fun activities we did. I can, however, tell you how many badges I amassed. 37. So many, that my mum had to sew an extra row, as they wouldn’t all fit on my sleeve.
I loved the process of working for a goal, completing the relevant tasks and being rewarded by a scrap of fabric. No sooner had I completed one, I was onto the next.
That behaviour followed me into my career. For the last ten years I have been on the Corporate Ladder, working my way through the ranks in a male dominated, ‘old boy’ run industry.
I was constantly chasing the next promotion, achieving ever harder targets. I was working for the idea of ‘someday’ when I would be earning more money, and more importantly for me, would have reached the top of the ladder.
Attaining the goal was primary; however what I didn’t consider was if I enjoyed the journey on the way up.
Slowly began to dawn on me that I didn’t enjoy the process of my daily life and wasn’t even sure that I wanted the next promotion. That was a revelation for someone who has been chasing reward and promotion since Brownies. And it made me reconsider my attitude to work and my career.
I had a lot of great ideas about what I wanted to do and was forever writing lists and making plans. None of them were related to my corporate life, but were more creative and whimsical in nature. However, what I didn’t have was time to execute any of the projects due to my workload and self imposed promotion schedule.
I decided I wanted to enjoy each day more, instead of waiting for a big pay off every couple of years when I achieved a new promotion. So, I found a similar job, but with much less stress and pressure. It meant a readjustment in my salary, but it was absolutely the right decision and has allowed me the mental space to pursue my other projects.
I still have my Brownie uniform and plan to frame and hang it in my workroom to remind me to stop focussing on the goals and enjoy the process of my daily life more.
My tips to enjoying the process more are;
o Identify the things about your daily life that you enjoy. How can you build them more into your routine?
o Identify the things in your daily life which cause you stress. Can you reduce or eliminate them? This may mean confronting issues in a different way or looking for creative solutions.
o In five years, what would you want your daily life to look like? How does that compare to your daily life now? What are the major differences?
In a future post I will talk about the things I treasure in my daily life.