This past Saturday morning, my son and I got up early and headed out for a bike ride. We took some new routes through an older neighborhood. Not paying attention, I started to follow him too closely, and my tire knocked his, sending me into a twisting spiraling thud (!). It was an intense fall and three days—and two yoga classes—later, the ligaments in my neck still feel really strained. My forty-something hips feel a little wobbly, too.
I often think our physical pains are wake-up calls for emotional signs we may not be heeding.
For me, this surfaced as a reminder for how important it is that my outer work stay aligned with my inner purpose (remembering “why” I’m doing what I’m doing).
Whether we’re software developers, stay-at-home moms, creative entrepreneurs, contract workers or college students, I think it’s really easy for all of us to become task-masters and feel our primary work is be busy, to get things done, to be productive. But it feels lifeless if it’s not coming from a place of true depth and connection, right?
I find it really grounds and brings me into balance to stop what I’m doing every once in a while and remind myself why I chose the path that I’m on (coaching/supporting others to remember who they really are).
Sometimes I’ll read or re-post my company purpose statement, re-visit my vision board, have a heart-to-heart with a close friend that knows my work well, look at photos of clients smiling faces, re-read “kudos” emails or simply process “why I do what I do” with my husband.
How do you align with your work? What makes you feel connected? Like you’re truly contributing? That your work is meaningful? That you’re in service to a greater good?
A few times a year, I lead a career change workshop. During the introductions, I ask the participants to share “what is one quality you MUST have present at your next job?”
Overwhelmingly the response: that I’m contributing or connected to something bigger ….that I’m making a difference ….that what I’m doing matters, comes up.
We all want to feel aligned and that what we do—directly or indirectly—somehow makes the world a better place.
Feeling adventurous this holiday season? Next time you’re around your friends or family, ask them why they do what they do? I bet the answers will surprise you and your friends will appreciate the opportunity to reflect on this topic. (And for those who are already feeling some of the high expectation, sensory overload, shopping hype holidays, check out my ideas for 5 Steps to a More Peaceful Holiday.)
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