How we spend our days is how we spend our lives: choose your life
How many of us have been taking stock lately of the way our lives have been working? This space provided by the current crisis due to the Coronavirus has impacted every single one of us in some way or another and it is the way that we move forward now that will determine our futures.
Perhaps being at home so much more has made you realise how much you enjoy working in an office with your colleagues, and has awakened you to how lucky you are, how you love your work, and enjoy the social activity... and wouldn't mind if you never had to get on another Zoom call!
But it's likely that it has also thrown up some unexpected realisations and helped you have a different perspective about how your life works, about the relationships you have with the people in your life, and about what is really important to you, what you really value.
It is natural to take stock when changes in your life happen - especially when the circumstances are thrust upon you. It's normal to feel anxious when you think about possibly making some changes. However, it is also easy to push the idea of change - and more uncertainty - away, thinking that you 'just need to get back to normal' rather than rock the boat and break out of your comfort zone.
Our brain holds us back from change because it wants to keep us safe.
When you put your hand on a hot stove, you instantly pull it away - your spinal chord has a reflex action - you don't have any choice or control in the matter. Your body is hardwired to keep you safe in this situation, without even involving your brain.
Of course your brain is much more complicated than your spinal chord.
It stores patterns and records everything for future reference so that it can make predictions about what you're going to do next and how it can keep you safe as quickly as possible. But what it's predicting is the past, not the future. If this sounds far fetched, think about how many times you have answered the question 'How are you?' with 'Fine thanks' without even thinking about it, even when you were certainly not 'fine'.
Your brain will fight you to maintain the status quo because it can only predict what has worked in the past; the way it has thought and behaved has meant you have survived and been relatively safe. But where you are now is in a future it cannot predict, possibly making plans it cannot compute. Your brain will struggle to deal with this.
If you want to make changes, it's likely you will have to do some work on yourself and listen to the stored memory patterns that come from your anxious brain as it worries how it can keep you in what it considers 'safety'. You will have to spot them and see them for what they are. You deserve more than safety and survival.
I want share with you what I have learned, after talking to and helping many people over many years to balance their work and their life and make changes.
1. These opportunities to make a change, to go in a different direction, live in a different part of the world, spend more time with your family... to do something that you love and make it a much bigger part of your life... whatever, they happen very rarely.
2. I have never worked with a client who, having made significant change, felt that they had made the wrong decision. Without exception, they were all happier with the new way they had chosen, with the path they forged for themselves rather then the path they had previously been following.
3. Disclaimer! - This isn't to say that it all went completely smoothly. It didn't! There were bits that went better than expected, there were bits that were disappointing. But there was satisfaction where they didn't expect to find it as well as where they expected it to be.
How do you want to spend the days that make up your life?