3 Beginning Steps Out Of Career Pain

Pain is definitely not my first desired go-to for information.  Upon first glance, I would much rather enjoy other forms of communication- a light suggestion, a brief nod, even an encouraging word!  And yet, as an athlete, I can, in fact, resonate with the concept of pain as part of my feedback loop.  As part of that history, I quickly got in touch with the good pain/bad pain reality.  Of course, good pain was when I would push my body to its limits, knowing deep down that I am strengthening it within a larger process.  And, the bad pain?  Well, I can more directly appreciate that message today when I turn in the midst of a yoga pose and immediately feel a shooting pain that simply screams, "oh, so wrong!"

But what about in your professional career?  I have certainly known the pain of not wanting to go in to the office - whether the desire to avoid an interaction with a difficult colleague, blatant contradictions between value-based messaging and leadership actions, or not finding the potential for growth and development that could keep me stimulated and energized.  It really doesn't matter which direction you profess, "live to work" or "work to live", pain is pain.  

So, what does one do?  There are the "simple" answers.  Just leave!  You know, get out!  The next answer, just bury your head, do your job and, when the clock strikes the designated hour, bolt like lightening.  Both of those responses can certainly hold truth or serve as a temporary placeholder.  In all honesty, I have lived into those answers myself.  But what I found in doing just that, the pain didn't go away.

So, where do you begin when the pain feels excruciating and You. Just. Want. It. To. Stop!  The following are beginning steps forward.

Step 1.  Start by bringing your emotional thoughts into the present physical moment.  Begin with your breath.  Breathe and allow yourself to feel the oxygen entering and exiting your body. Why?  Because that action brings you into the physical present rather than swimming circles in the pool of your thoughts.  Do this multiple times to practice being in the here and now.

Step 2.  Engage in self-reflection.  Move your thoughts from your head to paper.  Through journalling, you begin the process of releasing a block in your life.  And, it can be done in whatever way resonates.  Possible ideas are bullet points of current situations, key word capture or story telling. Just get them out of your head.  

Step 3.  Give yourself space to open to the awareness that comes from reflection.  Patterns, connections, the emptying of the mind to create room for possibilities can all begin to emerge. 

These steps can move you from hanging over the precipice to standing a distance away and taking in the view.  Allow this to be a beginning, your beginning, as you use pain as guidance and input rather than merely a scary voice from which to hide.

Moving From Lies

Do you remember when you were a kid and got in trouble for telling a lie?  The process of getting to the lie felt smooth and easily justified (whether it was grabbing a piece of candy at the store or telling a story about your brother that was well....trouble-inducing to say the least).  Maybe it wasn't so smooth and easy, but at least it was a quick run to justification.  I know I felt shame in being caught in the lie but also in the parental conversation that ensued about my choice and clearly seeing the lie in broad daylight. 

Bringing our "lies" about ourselves into broad daylight continue to be our saving grace.  Our lies, created by self-judgement, opinions by others and future outcomes, imprison each of us to such an extent that not only do we lose track of who we are and who we are meant to be, but we loose our direction as well.  Our career, the course of action we each take over a lifetime--whether in the world of work, family or volunteer--is hidden from our own understanding

Finding our truth begins in stillness.  It is simply the only way.  Once that door is opened (and trust me it can get sticky at times!) self-inquiry enables us to use our brain as the tool it is rather than the slavedriver/prison guard it can become.  Our prisons are created through the claiming of false and limiting thought.  Truth in reality is our key, or better yet, our sledgehammer!  As a fellow life coach and friend, Ray DePaola, has tweeted, "Truth is about trusting yourself.  You are strong enough, resilient enough and creative enough for your heart's truth."  Take the chance, you'll never go back.

Falling Short?

Been there.  Done that.  The frenzied action, I mean.  How about you?  Honestly, it really doesn't matter if it is the frenzied action of an engaging work project, or the organizing of a family holiday event.  The outcome can fall a bit short and I am tipping toward exhaustion rather than being energized.  I seem to re-learn this one a bit.   My life without stillness, simply frays.  And, yet.  Each time, I reground myself a little easier, smile a little more, even laugh when I recognize the walk.  Life works when stillness is one of those "rocks" in the jar rather than the sand filling in.  

How's stillness finding its way into your life?  Try it.  Play with it!  Begin in a way that fits you.  Perhaps it's with a cup of tea sitting in your backyard.  Perhaps it's getting up early, and feeling the celebration of oxygen entering and exiting your body.  Create space and listen in to yourself.  As you enter greater stillness in your life, you may be surprised by what you will find.

The Beauty of Nothing

The beauty in nothing is, at first glance, counter intuitive.  At least to the frenzied YOU.  No worries-I know her well.  And, as I allow myself to come to a stop, I feel her, too.  That stop-it's painful.  So much so that it would be almost easier to get back to it.   Almost.  It's like catching a glance of something out of the corner of your eye, but it is a whisper from inside.  You almost miss it.  It's a whisper of thank you.  It's as if I am catching up with myself.  And really.  I am.  

The Answer Is: Nothing...

Really?!?  But there is so much to be done, reports to write, decisions to be made, meetings to be had, kids to transport, dinner to grab....stillness, really?  And, yet.  When you take a moment in the midst of the frenzy, it can feel delicious and painful at the very same time.   There lies the truth-the fact you can actually -- feel.  That ability to feel is your direction sign inward to the answers that you are really searching for-the ones that lead to your Wisdom, your Truth.  There is deep wealth always there to be discovered.  Claim your Adventure!