Until recently I saw my design work stuff as my “day job.” I saw it as a means to make money to support my life (duh) and fund my passion project. Now, however I feel a real shift. Instead of largely not acknowledging it, and desperately trying to own the space of “Coach” and “Writer,” I am recognizing how much I enjoy it and how much it lifts me. This simple change of mind has allowed me to fully embrace my present professional state proudly, without concern of transition, the future, labels or any other stigma I had previously attached to it.
To give you a little context, I should say that I’ve never been the kinda girl to hold down a job for long. I have tried many different roles at a variety of organisations, but if I wasn’t happy or realized this gig wasn’t for me, I found a new passion/ career to explore and went for it. I felt compelled to make a move as soon as I knew in my heart that I couldn’t see myself doing it when I was older or when the cons started out-weighing the pros. This did allow me to experience quite a lot in my twenties, but it didn’t provide much in the sense of security and every new adventure was preceded by a breakdown. I felt lost, unsure and without purpose. How would I ever find my perfect career? The one where it all clicked. I could be creative and learn and enjoy every moment. A place where no-one watched me work or projected their unnecessary stress onto me… You know, Work Heaven.
After a few years of being a professional nomad, I thought I’d return to my discipline and I launched the freelance design portion of my career. I got a few clients, worked at an agency for a bit and it was okay. I tried to grow it into a business, even pulled Hubby into it, but even with all that, I wasn’t feeling that zing, that “this is it, this is what I am here to do.” I was waiting. I was waiting for an idea or an opportunity to simply launch myself into success.
A few years down the line, I hit my quarter-life crisis and felt so depressed that I started reading a self-help book. At the time, this was not my jam, but WOW, BEST THING I EVER DID! I learnt an infinite amount of wisdom from this single book, but most of all, I learnt about taking ownership for where I am right now and how I choose to show up in this moment.
I made a number of changes, which you can read more about in one of my earlier posts, How to Be You. One of these was the decision to get a job. I realized that I wasn’t doing well with the freelance work because I wasn’t committed and simply didn’t really care enough to put my all into it. This meant that the long hours required to both grow the business and be the talent, was not something I was willing to give. My solution was that I would remove the long hours part. No more stressing about finding new business and checking the numbers. At a job I could keep it simple. I could do the work and get paid at the end of the month. This would allow me support, space and time to focus on my next big move, writing this blog.
I started putting it out into the Universe, telling anyone who would listen exactly what I was after. This is what I said over and over again, “I want a part-time job that pays X, is close to my house, flexible hours and requires a low emotional investment.” Most of the responses I got were, “Good luck.” But I was convinced it was out there. This combination in a job would provide enough support and enough space so that I could continue on this path of spiritual and personal development.
Well, I got it. All of it. Ok, not the last one. The very first interview I went on was exactly 7 minutes from my house in Johannesburg, it paid the exact number I was looking for, was part time and flexible. I walked out of there with a job and overwhelming joy that I had just manifested the next chapter in my life.
During the first couple at weeks of the new job I really tried to keep to myself. I clocked in and out and worked only my designated hours. I was trying really hard to just do the work and not get too involved, but it was impossible, because the Universe also gave me amazing people to work with and before I knew it, I was 200% emotionally invested in the work and where I worked.
Now, almost 2 years down the line I could not be more grateful. This is the longest I have ever been at a single job and I can see why. In my nomadic years, I was looking for the job to give me inspiration and creativity and opportunities to have fun and learn and grow. I was expecting an environment to have an open space just for me where I could shine in my special way. But this time around, I entered the space without expectation or attachment. I didn’t add any arbitrary requirements and or look for pre-mature ways to elevate myself. I arrived every day with gratitude for the job, its financial support and security, the opportunities to learn, and to connect with great people.
This “day job” is now as much a part of my identity as anything else. I love the work I do. New projects get me energized and I throw myself into each one. Of course, there are some projects that are more fun than others, but rather than hating a particular task, I understand that every new project means income for the business, which means I get to continue working there, I get to continue to add value and help grow the business. I am a part of something and am very grateful for that.
You have to bring it though! You have to be the source of the joy you seek wherever you are. If it is a day job that you don’t love right now, ask yourself which part you do enjoy and extend that feeling into all parts of your day. Choose to be inspired by even the most menial of tasks, as it is helping you feed yourself, and providing support in a number of ways. If you’re struggling to see it, I suggest writing down all the things that your paycheck lets you do. Everything from groceries, to taking care of your pet, living alone, feeling secure and empowered to pay for the bill this time around, your yoga classes, your data and so much more.
When you see this list, allow all that joy to reflect back into your work. I know it might not be your end game, but I promise that if you choose to see your job as a source of inspiration and support, and you show up with a grateful attitude every day, you will see shifts. People become kinder, the work becomes lighter and even the coffee tastes better. When you’re happy where you are, you attract opportunities for more happiness, in this job or your next.
If this is not exactly where you thought you would be by now, my advice to you is simple. Forget about where you thought you would be because where you thought you’d be, does not exist. You are here now. This is happening now. Choose to let go of your expectations and simply show up and do the work. Engage, share your ideas and give all you have to making whatever you’re doing the best it can be. This is a shift away from the expectation of others towards ownership of your reality. It changes everything when you lose the attachment of cause and effect and simply stay present and do the work. When I started at this job, I was a WordPress designer with basic coding knowledge. Today I am a front-end developer and project manage a small portfolio. Taking stock, I am very happy with how I’ve grown and am flabbergasted at how little time I spent planning it. None to be exact. You see, I went into the job without attachment and this became my superpower. Instead of wondering about my next strategic move or whether a particular task was beneath me, I simply showed up every day and did what needed to get done.
I’ve grown a lot in the last 2 years, both in capability and responsibility, but this would be true if I continued to stay uninvolved and only focused on what was required. I would not be doing the work I do today if I went into it with expectations and anticipations; if I demanded more without giving first and if I didn’t choose to show up with gratitude every day.
I’m still writing, I’m still committed to BloomHabits, but that does not mean I can’t also be committed to other aspects of my professional world. When I started my day job, I claimed I was in transition while I got Bloom off the ground, but today, I realise it’s not a job at all; I am, very unexpectedly, building a career.
Today I own where I am right now. Still unconcerned with “where I am going,” because I know that I am where I need to be, doing what I am meant to doing to invite more joy and love into the world.
Embrace where you are right now. Find joy and love in what you’re doing, even if you start with just one aspect of your day. Cherish it and let the power of that gratitude extend into more and more of your life. Choose to be inspired and happy where you are, and you will be.
For me, it was the Saturday before leaving for Mauritius on Monday. We had been planning our year of adventure for so long and now it was all happening in two days. I was very excited but also feeling incredibly weak and even a little like a had a cold coming on. I couldn’t understand why. Hubby (this man who somehow gets what’s happening to me before I do) suggests that I’m a little stressed and OMG I was! That was it! I had a project deadline for Sunday, needed to wipe my old phone, digitize all (and there’s a lot) of paper notes for Bloom and my day job, pack, prep some emails for Monday morning and be excited about all of it. It was just way too much and instead of asking for help, I kept it all in, claiming this very long list as mine alone.
As soon as I could see it, I started to feel better. It was as if simply by facing it made the stress dissipate by half.
Hubby offered to take on some of the load and where I had previously said no, I now said YES PLEASE!! Next, I got organized by making a list (naturally), allocating the items that I could give to him and just started for the top. Over the course of the day I realized a few traps and lies I was telling myself about control. Below are the opposite truths and lessons learned…
Who does what doesn’t matter, as long as it’s done:
One of my personal control lies is that only I can do something the right way. I know what I can do and struggle to acknowledge that someone else could do an equal or a better job. Some might say this is pride in your work. You want it to be perfect and therefore you should do it to make sure it’s on the level it should be. I would agree that quality is a must, but isn’t it also incredibly narcissistic to believe that only you can do it to the standard it needs to be?
In this scenario, we make pride out to be a badge of honour. “I take so much pride in my work, that’s why the quality is so high.” The thing we don’t see is that pride also separates us from each other. Believing that only we can do something right, doesn’t serve us by lifting us up, it keeps us away from help, better ideas and even new opportunities. It’s our ego telling us that we are better alone when really, all the collaboration, grace and ease come when we realize we are all in this together.
Support is more powerful than you realize:
Getting back to my long list… Naturally, there were a few items that do require my personal input, meaning that even though I had allocated some items to Hubby, most of it was still on my plate. That said, I still felt so much more capable, centered and supported just knowing that he is was in it with me. He was there to help however he could, even when that simply meant giving me the space I needed to get stuff done. Communicating what’s going on with you can be all you need to find the support and love to share the load of the stress.
Let people in, let them help, even if that only means bringing tea or lending an ear. It can be the most empowering you do for yourself to realize that you’re not in it on your own.
Done is better than perfect:
I’m sure this is not the first time you’ve read this little nugget, but I’ll share it again because it is oh so relevant here. One of my biggest tasks was to get my entire digital life into the cloud. I had been wanting to do this anyway, and now that we were about to embark on this journey it had become important to have my files a download away. There was one major obstacle, however… My files weren’t (aren’t) exactly organized. I had duplicates, hard drives, messy folders and I really saw the Move-To-Cloud as my big opportunity to organize. This would take time though, a lot of time that I simply didn’t have. It became a question of priorities. Was it more important to have the files loaded and accessible or that they’re perfectly labeled?
So, I sucked up my perfectionism, grit my teeth and uploaded my messy folders to Dropbox. I know where all the daily and very important items are and that’s okay for now. One of these days I will get around to collating everything into the perfect file system, but now that it’s done, I haven’t stressed about it once.
In the end, letting go of control is probably one of my hardest lessons and one I will face time and again. Next time overwhelm hits, I hope I’ll remember these lessons a little earlier to relieve the burden and flow through it with a little more grace.
You have help, love, and support all around you, you just need to let it in.
I feel the urge to write, but all I can think about is why I haven’t been writing for the last four months. I was on a roll. It was all going so well. And then a friend gave me some very mild, very nice constructive criticism and I simply stopped. I suddenly had nothing to say. I went quiet.
Why? Well honestly, I hadn’t thought to ask that until very recently. I’ve just finished reading Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving F*ck” and in the middle where he talks about the values that we’re running that don’t serve us I realized the most destructive pattern I’ve been running more most of my life: The desperate need to be popular.
I still need it. I need to be liked, admired, remembered, acknowledged. I go back in my mind tracking the source of this need, and while I can’t find a specific BIG moment there are definitely moments of feeling not quite “it.”
In primary school, I played second fiddle (or so I felt) to my best friend. She was perfect in every way, and I was not quite her. Later we moved and the group of girls at my new school wrote a letter to me. One of them handed it to during break. I was talking to another friend, but she graciously said, “Read it.” I did and started to cry. The whole group of about 10 girls unanimously broke up with me. In the next period (since I couldn’t stop crying) they all recanted the letter and took me back. I knew it wasn’t real, they did too, but it was easier than being a loser, so I accepted their apologies. I still do not know what I did that was so appalling.
I, mostly unsuccessfully, continued to search for my people again during school. I think I must have been quite guarded after these experiences. In high school, I met another group of girls. They actually did accept me (I think) but by this point, the fear of not fitting in or being enough had taken hold and if another shinier group called, I was there.
At one point I actually betrayed a very close friend in a very demeaning way for the simple reason that I could not face being alone again. I had to be in with the group.
These are just some highlights, but the just is that I’ve never felt like I had that magic, that magnetic essence that is “it.” That one elusive quality that makes you irresistible to anyone who meets you: Instant, powerful, enigmatic popularity.
In Manson’s book, he speaks about Values (I know, shocking for a self-help book.) The interesting part is that he speaks less about creating or choosing values that we want and more about how to recognize the values that are not as great. The ones we’re already running and that are already causing havoc in our lives.
As I gobbled up this book and went about my days, I realized how much of my life I live worrying about what other people expect of me. While I know that I cannot control what others think, I still spend a lot of time trying to maintain a particular image in their minds. An image of a girl who is effortless and easy-going and OMG she is also beautiful. So, I apply the same facade every day. I keep up appearances, as they used to say, all in an effort to be effortless. (Oh, the irony.)
As I write this, I suppose there should be a turning point right about now. A moment where I tell you that I’ve turned it all around and this is how you can too. But the truth is that this realization is new and raw, and I have no advice. What I do have is a plan.
My plan is to stay vigilant about my thoughts. To do my best to notice the difference between doing and acting in a way that is for others versus myself. From there, I aim to choose what serves me rather than my ego’s need to be accepted by other egos.
I hope I can because I believe this core, deep hurt has manifested into a value and metric that has kept me up at night, driven some very destructive behaviour and caused me to stray away from who I am.
I am not popular, and I don’t care… or at least I am trying not to.
This morning I woke up, checked my phone and was hit with a very real feeling of betrayal. I went quiet, still with hurt and anger and blindsided. I see now that the only way out of this feeling is to let go of the poor me victim I’ve constructed in this story.
By doing that I will be able to let go of the entire thing and move on. Sounds easy enough, but it’s not. That feeling was raw and ugly, and it held on tight. So, before I let go, I must own my space within the situation, see the lesson and the blessing. It is when I can see the situation from these perspectives that the feelings will dissolve.
I started by seeing the blessing. What good came from my not being a part of this occasion? Well, I’ve been getting myself back on track, focusing my energy on writing, learning and how I want to show up in this space. If I had participated, I would have been distracted from my focus and the progress made might not be at all.
I’ll add here that during my “silent rage time” I was agonizingly scrolling through my Facebook feed searching for some further dagger to perpetuate this feeling. When I found this meme, I stopped as it allowed me to see this blessing and how my path is simply heading in a different direction:
“Sometimes the very thing you lost was in the way of you winning.”
In that moment, a smile came over my face. I felt humbled by all that is working and conspiring for me. I could see the blessing, and it allowed me to choose how I wanted to feel. I closed Facebook and shifted my focus back to feeling good.
The lesson became clear in trying to decide how to respond. Do I call this person to explain my grievance? What would happen if I do? What will I gain? The answer: Nothing.
As a result of my call, she may know how I feel and she may apologize, but that’s about it. It will not change what happened and we will still be where we are. What could happen is that my response becomes a part of her story and something she repeats to friends and colleagues. None of this would serve me. In fact, it would only add energy to something I don’t want.
This leaves me with one option. Forgive her, the situation and my part in it. I do not need her to hear me say it or for her to know about my experience for it to be real forgiveness because forgiveness is simply the practice of acceptance without attachment.
So, I have forgiven. I am grateful for the blessing and the lesson and I hope we cross paths again when it suits my journey and hers. All Posts
This was my miracle today. As the Course in Miracles says:
“Miracles are both beginnings and endings, and so the alter the temporal order. They are always affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back but really go forward. They undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.”
So, my dear, how do you practice this in your own life? Here are the steps should you wish to let go of the dark into light and love:
Remember that what has happened is for you. No matter how bad it seems, or how much it hurts, it is happening so that you may learn a deep lesson and is guiding you towards the highest good.
Find the blessing. What have you gained/ been able to do achieve/ been able to avoid as a result of this situation? It can be an internal realization or a massive shift in your life. There are no criteria for the blessing, except that it has a positive impact on you.
Find the lesson. This may be a deep personal/ spiritual lesson of how you wish to respond and move forward. Be open to a new perspective or a confirmation of an idea and that will be your lesson.
Once you see the lesson and the blessing, you are able to confirm point 1: it is all happening for you. This allows you to view the situation, the person and your part in it with love. Feel the relief in that. The weight begins to lift.
Now, with love, forgive yourself, the persona and the entire situation. Thank each party for their role in delivering the blessing and the lesson to you.
From this place you are able to let it go. Release it as it no longer has a hold on you.
The dark feeling may pop up again over the next few days. When this happens remind yourself of the above. Affirm for yourself: It happened for me. This was the lesson, this was the blessing. Thank you.
Avril Chambers is a yoga instructor, Reiki Practitioner, and spiritual healer. During this conversation she shares her knowledge of the Chakras in a user-friendly way, providing a clear breakdown and some practical ideas of how to balance and align.