You know the feeling? The enjoyment you get during that first meal after you have recovered from the cold or flu. You savour the aroma wafting from your plate, your first real aroma in a week. You relish the taste washing over your taste buds which have come alive after a week of dormancy. And you feel hungry. I’ll say it again YOU FEEL HUNGRY!!!
You embrace the hunger for you know the feeling of having hunger in a world where you can satisfy that hunger with relative ease. It feels good to eat and to have your senses once again co-operating to deliver an enjoyable experience. You look forward to the next meal and the next as you focus on the joy of satisfying your appetite.
Metaphorically speaking this is exactly how I’m currently feeling about my work. And what a revelation and relief it is!
The discontent and restlessness had been creeping in for a while. But like all good soldiers, I was taught not to give into these feelings and to keep on swimming, swimming, swimming… I swam for a while, but most of the time felt like a salmon swimming up-stream. However unlike most salmon, I am not genetically programmed to swim upstream and eventually it became too much.
It took a further period before I was ready to admit defeat or if not defeat a temporary surrender. This was an enormous step, huge… because for the pervious twenty years I loved my work, threw myself into it and not only surfed with the tide, but caught pretty much every wave. To this day, I don’t know what changed… was it simply my priorities, my outlook on life, the sense that there should be something better, the sense that time was ebbing?
Whatever the case, this had me spooked and in totally foreign territory. I had had all the answers up to now, but I had hit on my $64,000 question.
After a period of just being, I am now back engaged in corporate Australia and I am hungry again. Only this time, my hunger is tempered by wisdom and I know the key is balance. Work is but one component of a busy and well-rounded life and I am learning the discipline of saying “no.” Now, I am happy to let a project go to someone else if it means I have time to do the things that feed my soul. Now I’m happy to say, “yes, I’ll do it for you…. if it can wait until tomorrow.” Now I know that I can face the consequence of those decisions and this is not weakness. In fact, it is strength.
I am now working for a company that does meaningful work and I am proud to be working for that organisation. My team is wonderful, playful, engaging, human and appreciative. Their expectations are realistic and most of all we respect each other’s talents and disciplines. This is novel. My work is instructive and challenging. In short, I feel that my work is valuable and that I am valued and challenged.
And I can see now that value and challenge were what was missing in my last workplace. Value of course, has nothing to do with remuneration. It was only fear that was keeping me there – fear and habit.
Facing fear and putting it and the old workplace behind me was the best decision I made.
The family has effortlessly flowed back into the routine of a working mother and I have a real sense that my children feel that life is now back to their “normal”. My work flu is now over and I partake of my meal with a humility born of a journey taken and a lesson learned.
Have you had a “coming alive” experience? Have you ever totally changed your perspective on an aspect of your life?