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.

3 Small Steps Toward Your Truth

Are you one of those people who start a novel and take a peek at the ending?  Maybe closer to my M.O., is choosing movies (at least a majority of them) that simply have a happy ending.  I want to know that everything will end up alright.  Perhaps this is world news coverage fatigue, but at any rate, knowing that I will have the happy ending is where I go and play.  

But what about life?  You know, the real thing.  You might think that after the above I would be dead on arrival.  And yet.  I am not.  Does that mean that I have found the special happy pill?  No. And. Yes.  However, it's not a pill.  It's more like awareness of a journey.  A journey that I slip and fall occasionally, lose my way, get tired, but also get back up, stop for rest, enjoy the vista, play on the hillside, regain my path and well, have a fun along the way.  

This awareness is found in three small steps - stillness, listening and observing.  It is these three steps that take me to a deeper truth that can't be found in the noise swirling around me.  My family's spring break was a mishmash of various directions - taking my daughter on college visits, engaging in a local business entrepreneurial class and celebrating my mom's 75th birthday.  Of course, looking back on this list to be accomplished in 3 different states might lead someone to say, "Too Much".  But then, leading a life in the "AND" of a professional life, family life and personal life can sometimes get off track when I stop moving from a place of awareness that takes me to my truth.  

Fast forward to about week and a half in, and I was toast.  I had let go of pretty much all three of my steps.  The beautiful part, however, was feeling the resulting pain and letting it guide me back to my awareness.  Moving back into stillness found in my early morning, took me into listening to my life.  Many thoughts came, but by observing them and just letting them move on through, I found myself backing into my deeper voice of love, gentleness and healing.  

Claim your time of stillness whether it is in the early morning hours with a cup of coffee, going for a walk or claiming journaling time before you start your work day.  Use the time to be with yourself, feeling your amazing body that you are privileged to have and just breathe.  As you relax into yourself, listen.  Yes thoughts, like clouds in the sky, will come.  Let them and let them keep on going!  Observe what is going by.  Begin to notice the tape that might be playing and how the repeat button is on constant. In the noticing, comes the awareness of the existence of your deeper self that is listening and observing,  That is your beginning.  It is this place, the place of awareness, that will lead you to your deeper truth.