Published July 31st, 2015
Many greetings from Vine Pergola at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
Earlier this week, I spoke at an event on the topic of fueling your work activities with passion. And...even more importantly, learning when the tank is full and to stop and relax. Let me try and explain, this quirky juxtaposition that reveals the light side of passion, and also it's shadow side.
There is an abundance of information these days put forth by amazing teachers that helps enlighten us about uncovering our true selves, our needs and wants. And, also, helping us become aware of where our true passions lie. It is often said that once you identify your passion, and you find a way to make that passion the foundation of your work activities, your work does not feel like work. You live all your days with endless joy. You have achieved nirvana, right?
Well, maybe this is true for some people. But my sense from what most people are sharing with me, and also from my own experience, too much of a good thing can turn over on you. Just like eating too much of something very tasty, or taking too much of a medicine that is supposed to help you. This is especially true today, when it is possible to engage in work activities all day, everyday. With our smartphones, we can always check our email, post to social media, answer calls, and literally be connected to our colleagues and our responsibilities at every moment.
When our work activities are fueled with passion, we are even more motivated to stay connected. People are telling me that they are not sleeping, not taking time off on a weekend or evening, sometimes not even remembering to eat. This is not good people. Not only is this behavior unhealthy, it will surely eventually lead to burn out. Literally, your passion flame ends up incinerating the pillars in your life that keep you together -- the structure of the Pergola that supports the ever-changing vines.
Yes, yes, we have all heard the term "everything in moderation". But what does this really mean in practice in this day and age? How do we infuse passion in our activities in a big enough dose to keep us flowing with a smile, yet not too much that we end up losing it?
Here I share a few tips to try:
Make a plan: Just because communication and work activities can happen at any time, take control of your own schedule and plan and block out time in your own day that works for you. Communicate with colleagues about mutually appropriate times to meet. Put these activities on your calendar and stick to them. Honor their importance and do not try and multitask.
Take breaks: Eat meals, especially lunch, without working at the same time. Talk with others who you are eating with, read a nice book or magazine. Think about something else other than work. If possible, try to work after dinner as little as possible. And, take at least one day off a week. This does not mean you are a slacker, in fact, you will find it to be just the opposite, when you do get back to your work activities, you will feel even more productive and fresh. You will have re-kindled your passion.
Leave some space to digest: As with food, you should eat only as much as to satisfy you, leaving some space in your tummy. Just as with a washing machine, if you overstuff it with clothes it will not clean properly. Check in with your energy and mind several times a day and see how you are feeling. Are you satisfied with what you have accomplished? Have you met your responsibilities? Will completing one more project put you over the edge and end up being poorly executed? Can you save it for the next day? I find that periodically monitoring my mind-body and my energy keeps things flowing smoothly and joyously.
It's all about finding and anchoring on the happy middle. It takes some practice, and it is worth every minute.
Have a great weekend!