I have been making some very deliberate changes to my life lately. I’m stripping out the things that aren’t working for me anymore and trying to be open to new things.
Like looking at e-mails after hours. It’s been a work-in-progress, but I’m now in a place where I can leave my work e-mail alone in the evenings. I’ve had to figure out what works for me, because like many dedicated and passionate professionals I am committed to what I do for a living AND WHO I DO IT FOR. So, it’s never easy to stay out of the “rabbit hole” of e-mail, but there have been some amazing benefits to getting consistent with dis-connecting from work on evenings and weekends.
The first being that I am now (after 3 years of trial and error) practicing what I preach about e-mail and the role it plays in work/life balance. If changing your work e-mail habit is something that resonates for you, just know it’s a process. One that requires you to be really compassionate with yourself. When I see that little red notification dot on my phone in the evenings (waving a red flag at my “be of service” bull) I immediately want to read it. Then I would either respond far too quickly to it (often with spelling errors or missing the main point completely), or I would get up and move to my lap top to give a thoughtful response, and stop whatever family or relaxing thing I was doing. Now, I tell myself it’s thoughtful to want to be so responsive, but waiting until tomorrow is the best thing for me AND the recipient.
I’m also giving myself permission to do things that have zero productive value outside of work. In the past even my hobbies had to have some practical use. It was a way to “back-door” a habit that kept the pressure on; finding a way to keep my productivity muscle in action outside of work so I was at no risk of having to “gear it up” to go back to work (especially on Mondays). One of my fears was if I completely relaxed I would never be able to re-gain peak productivity at work again (or it would take a long time to get there, with a career cost to go with it). And it was exhausting. No, it was harmful. I stopped all my hobbies because they had become punishing, not relaxing, and then I was at higher risk of burning out because I had no “shut off valve”. It’s taken some time, and a lot of re-framing, but now I have a hobby that doesn’t need to produce anything useful, and it is the restorative habit I needed to shut down all the open mental tabs that need to be closed to allow my energy to re-charge away from work.
I’m making some changes in my business too. Having more energy means I’m able to do things that are more vulnerable for me in my work, like posting videos. I was avoiding it completely, happy to post my writing, but not my face. And yet you have all responded beautifully to my perfectly imperfect reels and Tik Toc’s, reminding me that when I show up in a compassionate way, even a 34 second video can make a difference to someone. I’ve also introduced different coaching formats, a 90-minute coaching intensive (which is an intimidating format for a coach) and a self-directed coaching program (The Career Edit). Both of these have been beautifully received. And I’ll keep working with coaching program formats and tools (like video) to find the balance that makes career coaching accessible for you.
How about you? As you look back over this past year, what changes have you been working on that make a difference to your well-being? Anything counts, because whatever gives you a healthier life improves the lives of everyone you love and work with (true story).
My journey into stripping out the harmful habits that got baked into my way of being at work continues. I’m open to the reality that this is a journey that may never be complete, but is exactly what a frustrated world needs right now as we all contemplate our relationship to work and the role it plays in our wellbeing.
I hope this past year has been good to you too and I look forward to continuing to share what I’m learning. AND to apply what I learn from all of my amazing clients, finding new ways to support you in creating a work life you can love.
Give yourself the gift of a great 2023
The Career Edit is a self-directed coaching program that helps you get clear on what you want to do with your amazing skills (and what you don’t). It’s an important process, because while it may feel like you’re powerless at work, TWO KEY THINGS ARE ALWAYS IN YOUR CONTROL:
This is not a radical “quit your job” approach. The Career Edit is a thoughtful series of self-directed exercises to help you spend your one precious and amazing life doing something meaningful. To you.