When does it start for you? Is it on Monday morning, when your alarm first goes off and you press the snooze button? Is it over night, as your busy mind plays over and over for you all of the things you need to do when you wake up? Does it start earlier? Do you worry all weekend? Do you wake up frustrated on Sunday morning because the weekend is already halfway over and you haven’t done anything fun because all you could do was catch up on the stuff you don’t have time for over the work week? Or is it as early as Friday at the end of the work day, when you have the conflicting emotions of simultaneously being set free, but being worried about all the work you were unable to complete?
I have a real problem with the fact that our nation, our people, is it worldwide, I don’t know, but I have a problem that we accept that Mondays inherently bring with them dread, disappointment, and boredom. That somehow our lives are separated into the fun, relaxing weekends and hard, grueling, necessary workdays. The memes about “The Mondays,” “HumpDay” and finally, “TGIF” tell a really sad tale about what we accept about our lives. I understand that for some time in our recent past in this country there was a real need for this attitude, to make a hard living for your family, with whatever job was available and to do what it takes to feed your family. Everything else was less of a priority. Our ancestors went through some hard times.
My problem is that we have taken that attitude as if it is a banner to wear. I suffer through work, I work insane hours, I put up with circumstances I hate, so I can save up for _______. The weekend? Retirement? Did our grandparents and great-grandparents really work so hard just to pave the way for us to do the same? What did they want to pass on to us? The attitude that life sucks, then you die? Or did they sacrifice their own happiness so someday we could have better? That we wouldn’t have to suffer so greatly?
Today we have an insane amount of resources that through our ancestors hard work is now available to us at the tips of our fingers. We walk a block away and have our choice of vegetables, meat and nuts that we did not have to forage or hunt for. We look into our pockets and find entire libraries of information in seconds. We can see instantly the same things that people are seeing on the opposite side of the world. And still, we think we need to slog through the week, hating our job, feeling like we could be doing more, accepting that our fate is to trade our happiness for a paycheck when we could run our lives from our smartphones.
Well, I refuse to live like that anymore. I understand that at times you may need to accept a job that you don’t love to get money to live for a while. But there is no rule that says you have to stay there. There is no reason for us to accept that our fate is to be unhappy. There is no good enough excuse anymore. If you hate your job, you have the ability to change it.
Step 1: Realize that you are not stuck and you are not a victim. Your job is just that, a job. It is not your life. You are not married to it, you did not give birth to it, and you owe it no allegiance. You have an agreement with someone that you will perform a service and they will give you a paycheck in return. Your worth and your value are not intertwined with your job. They are inherent in you.
Step 2: Now that you realize that you are not your job, you can now look at it objectively. Make some lists. What do you like about your job? What do you hate about your job? What can you change right now? What aspects of your job make you want to beat your head against the wall? Are they fixable? Or do you need to start thinking about a change?
Step 3: My favorite part. Allow yourself to dream. Go to a relaxing spot where no one is going to bother you. You might need to put this time into your calendar, tell people you have an important meeting or a dentist appointment. Bring a journal and a pen. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes. For this time, all you are going to do is allow yourself to dream about what you would be doing during the day if money wasn’t a problem. Would you sleep all day, travel? Would you exercise or write a book or draw? What would you do? The trick is to let the wild ideas come up. There is a voice inside of you that will say, that’s too crazy, or that’s not possible. For this exercise, just say thankyou, and smile and allow the fantasy to get wild and write it down when your done. No matter how nuts you might feel.
Step 4: Read what you wrote and consider it as a possibility. Maybe in your fantasy you were a farmer, but really you just want to live closer to nature or to a farm. Think about ways that you can incorporate a little bit of your fantasy into your life.
Step 5: Repeat. Remember to dream often. How are you going to know what you want if you don’t even allow yourself to think about it? Once you do these exercises a couple of times you will begin to see patterns. Those patterns are crucial. Pay attention and you will start to see the little guideposts to a happier, free-er and more joyful tomorrow.
If you are a teacher and would like to meet with like minded individuals about making your workplace and your life a better place, contact me at email@example.com or call me at (808)343-4279 and we will talk. We have a fabulous Teachers in Transition group starting on October 6 and this could be for you!!