PLAYERS NOT PAWNS

game-of-life-mindfulness

So a couple of blog posts back I made a bold statement – “I shall be a box ticker no more!” – Only at the time, I was referring to my choice in men.

However, over the last 2 weeks, and true to form, I got a little carried away and have evidently thrown all of my boxes out the window…

Any checklists to do with work, and life the way I’ve been living it the last few years has been tossed out.

Looking back, the start of this blog saw me at the start of some big changes. 

I’d just moved so I had a change in scenery (always helpful for new beginnings!) and I was starting to make some small habitual changes with regards to work habits, eating habits, alcohol habits and social habits too. 

3 months down the line and I now feel worlds apart from the anxiety and unease that was all consuming in April.

This feeling right now, however, is not all too unfamiliar. 

Slowly, I’m remembering more little anecdotes about my past and the way things used to be for me. 

My thinking is clearer and this new positivity I’ve been waking up with most days now is actually how I used to wake up every day years ago.

I used to be completely fearless, excited each morning about what they day would bring and I used to see every new day as an adventure. 

It would appear my adventure days are returning…

Because I have remembered something very important.

Something that applies to all of us.

We are born to be players not pawns.

And although I was worried it was fleeting, I now feel confident and sure enough to say that I’ve officially got my flow back.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the word, “flow” is basically when people forget themselves in a function. 

In flow, people are living so deeply in the moment and with full control, that their sense of time, place, and even self, melts away.

During these episodes of flow I feel calm, content and ridiculously present in the moment which we all know isn’t an easy task these days and has taken me by surprise now that I’m aware of what it is.

So what changed? 

I can’t pinpoint what exactly, and at the start I was a little worried that it was fleeting but I feel so much more confident that I’m finally getting back to my old self again.

I stated at the beginning of the blog that I was pushing some work things to the side and personal ones too and by that, I meant I was taking a damn chill pill with regards to everything in life. 

I stopped flying and tearing about to meet people – in particular, the ones that added no value to my life.

I stopped planning ahead days and weeks in advance and kept my diary as free as possible to take each day as it comes.

I stopped beating myself up for wanting to make the most of the glorious weather and choose longer sunnier walks with my dog over sitting in the office staring at a computer screen.

I quietened the noise in my head and was finally able to tune in with my gut, allowing it to start taking the lead and guiding me through each day.

I have stopped worrying about what I should or shouldn’t be doing and just been doing what I truly felt like doing.

As for work, well I’ve been having the most fun here!

I have genuinely been rocking up to see clients like I am their best friend and the connection that I’ve had with them has been unreal – work, once again, does not feel like work at all.  Hurrah!

Instead of taking any angst or outside mental baggage into appointments, I make a promise each morning if I’m seeing anyone that for the time I am with them we are going to laugh lots and have tonnes of fun and I am going to be 100% present with them in that moment.

It’s actually how I used to work at the beginning before I became such a stress head, worrying about where the business is going and all the things I needed to do to push it forward. As well as stressing about everything else in my personal life too.

A while back I stopped asking internally what I could do for my clients and instead selfishly began asking what they could do for me.  I think it’s fair to admit that I began doing this with people outside of work also. 

I stopped giving so freely and began living my work and personal life with ulterior motives.

I have now reminded myself that it’s okay to play – It’s the best and perhaps the only way to truly learn, discover and evolve.

Which is a bloody good thing as for the last year I have been seriously considering jacking in my entire Hair and Makeup Artistry career –  I just wasn’t having fun with it anymore and I was running out of drive and purpose to keep pushing on and continue.

Think about this for a moment  – Children are in flow constantly.  They use their brains and bodies to endlessly explore and take information from the environment they live in.

But, at some point in their lives, they stop.

They start to get ashamed that what they are doing is childish.

And this is perhaps our biggest mistake. 

When we stop listening to our gut, try to think only with our heads and stop living from a place of joy we are on a sure path to angst and misery.

It’s a fact – When we are in flow, self-conciseness dissolves and time passes quickly – It’s one of the most satisfying experiences in peoples lives.

And if you think you can’t be in flow in the workplace like I did, you’re wrong.  It’s also a fact that people are much more likely to reach a flow state at work than in leisure as work has a structure such as clear goals, immediate feedback and challenges matched to our abilities.

It’s why more and more people are taking on volunteer work as it’s nourishing them in ways that paid work simply is not.  

My daily checklists and routine have been a burden now for more than I care to remember.  They served a purpose at the start – Working for myself, I had to create a system to comply with to hold me accountable to get things done.  I also needed a personal checklist to ensure I kept myself fit, healthy and generally kept my home and personal life in order.

What people believe shapes what people achieve, however, and while complying can be an effective strategy for physical survival, it’s a crap one for personal fulfilment.

Satisfaction depends not merely on having goals but on having the right goals. Misunderstanding this leads sensible people down self-destructive paths. (Ahem…)

As for working your way up the career ladder and chasing after promotions or materialistic things, I’ve got some news for you. 

The science shows that the secret to high performances isn’t our biological, reward-and-punishment drive, but our deep desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to LIVE A LIFE ON PURPOSE.

We are all in pursuit of mastery of something or another.  But when it comes to mastering that activity, career or even personal relationship, you can approach it, you can hone in on it and you can get really, really close to it but you’ll never touch it.

It’s the source of frustration but also the source of allure – Why reach for something you can never fully attain?  But why not reach for it?

The joy is in the pursuit more than the realisation.

And that is why I will continue to play.  If it’s not making you happy and you’re not having fun with it, whatever it is, then what’s the point?