You went to college or trade school, specialized and set your career and life path pretty early on. 20 years later you are still in your lane, doing what you do because it’s what you went to school for and were passionate about 20 years ago. You have invested in your employer, career and are “following the plan” to retirement. And yet……. Something in the back of your mind and heart are prompting you to get out of your lane and do something different…… Something more. But wait!! Is that jumping out of the flow?
Here is the really simple, direct answer: NO. Staying in your lane when your heart, soul and passion are steering you in a different direction is 100% being in the flow. THE REAL FLOW. Not the flow society, your employer, your family and your expectations say it should be. That’s just staying in your lane so you don’t disturb others with your wants and desires. Listening to your heart and following your passion even if its contrary to what you were taught about how you should directionally manage your life is in fact staying in the flow of who you are meant to be.
Personally, I have had a very fruitful and fulfilling corporate career. I have people reach out for mentorship and advise on how to get as far as I have as a woman and a person of color in a predominately male dominated industry. I am humbled by the opportunities I have had and grateful for the experience. However, I am a very different person from that 21 year old that started out having lofty goals for my career. I want more and THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!!! More for me means following my entrepreneurial spirit, surrounding myself with a group that supports my values and my value. Being true to myself, re-evaluating what fulfills me will lead me to a richer live. I believe this for myself and for you. So, here is the plan I follow to get to where I am meant to be and not necessarily stay in the lane society thinks I belong in:
So, are you in the flow or just staying in your lane? Where do you belong?
We say thank you to everyone. From the person that makes our morning coffee to our co workers. If you are a believer you thank God, the universe, etc for the good and opportunities that come your way. You may even have a gratitude practice. But When was the last time you thanked yourself? I don’t mean taking a vacation because you deserve it (and yes, you do deserve it). I mean thanking yourself for just being.
As with everything, we are told to put ourselves last and everyone else first. Putting yourself first is selfish, yada yada yada………. I would argue that putting yourself first, even in your gratitude practice, allows you to see more of the things to be grateful for. Here’s some food for thought:
So what does self gratitude look like? Wake up and do your gratitude practice then tell yourself how amazing you are, how deserving you are and what great things you will achieve today. I do it in the form of speaking blessings over me and my life. Try these out:
Do this in the morning, with your coffee, after lunch, etc. make it a routine. Routines re-wire your brain so that you build confidence, self assurance and self love.
So, how are you grateful for yourself today? What one thing have you said about you, to you that is inspiring you?
Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash
Sometimes, while we are in the flow, we can’t see the forest for the trees. We feel stuck, like we are not moving. Folks, the seed feels the same way when planted. It can’t move, its surrounded by dirt and its looking for nourishment. It pays attention to the little things: the water that filters through, the nutrients it can absorb from its surroundings. Eventually its able to grow, break through its shell and climb out of. The dirt to the sunshine. In life we go through a similar process. Here are some tips to know when it’s time to grow where you are planted:
So- are you planted and didn’t notice? Are you willing to let yourself become who you were meant to be?
Being in the flow is a real thing. When you are in the flow things seem easier, they just happen. But being in the flow requires some action on your part. You need to let go. Yes, letting go is hard. What should you let go of? Do you even want to? Why let go when the world tells you that you need to stand up and fight/argue/defend/state your truth……
Here are some thoughts on letting go that may help you make this an easier process:
So, are you willing to be introspective and let go? I promise it will be one of the best things you will do for yourself and will help you know that you are back in the flow.
I am not sure why there is conflict between self-awareness and humbleness. The reality of it is that we receive conflicting messages all the time on these two areas: Stay humble = Put others first, don’t talk about yourself too much, do your work and you will be noticed (eventually). Self-awareness = Know yourself, know your weaknesses, think before you speak (or email), know what you bring to the table, etc. However, we refuse to say that self-awareness and staying humble can in fact show up in knowing and articulating your worth, speaking up for yourself and others, putting YOURSELF first because in doing so you are in fact better able to help others. Maybe we need to go back and understand the meaning of humbleness, especially in the workplace.
Dictionary.com defines humbleness as:
The quality or state of being modest and lacking in pride or arrogance: We need to teach a
different kind of leadership, one where humbleness is more important than confidence.
The quality or state of being or feeling low in rank, importance, status, worth, etc: We
observed the humbleness of the local homes, but also the hard-working ethic of the people
who lived in them.
Even these definitions give off the sense that humbleness = less than and less than somehow is a good thing. The first example shows how engrained this idea this is in our culture. When humbleness is more important than confidence, who is the one taking risks, who will pose the provocative ideas, who will move the needle forward with passion and vigor if that can be construed as the opposite of humbleness, arrogance? When did being confident become a bad thing?
So what can we do. In order to balance the scale between humbleness, self-awareness (including articulating your worth) and not coming across as arrogant, consider these:
So, how are you showing up today? I propose we start showing up confidently self-aware and mindfulinstead of humble.
You have been wronged. You know it. You feel it. You are angry. All very valid feelings. Now, what are you going to do about it? Life is full of ups and downs. Bad things happen. Things out of your control happen. Other’s perceptions may affect you negatively. For years……. And then, you need to move on. Here’s why:
One of my favorite workplace culture definitions comes from toolbox.com. This HR organization defines workplace culture as:
“……the cumulative effect that leadership practices, employee behavior, workplace amenities, and organizational policies create on a worker/internal stakeholder. It can be measured as either positive or negative work culture.”
I am sure you have heard this before “it’s important that you fit in.” Whether at work or on social circles, “fitting in” and being accepted seems to be the golden carrot. Yet we hear conflicting messages all the time! The current voices in diversity, inclusion and equity are shouting from the rooftops “be your authentic self!” And yet, you still hear whispers that maybe you are too boisterous, too direct, too quiet, too emotional, too much of “you” and not enough of someone that “fits into the culture” or better yet “represents the shared values of the organization.”
We all know this quote, usually attributed to Alexander Graham Bell, “when a door closes, another opens. But the full quote is much deeper than this:
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so
regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has
opened for us.” (emphasis added)
You know you’ve done this. As much as you can think that you have moved on, sometimes you look back and think about the “what if.” What if I would have said it/done it differently. What if I would have gotten that job/opportunity/made that change. Here’s the thing. Once the door is closed the question is, “are you through the door or still standing in the same room?”. I want to propose to you that when a door closes we are facing it from the other side and we are staring at it instead of turning around and looking into what the future holds. You are not trapped. Its’s just that you are still not facing the right direction.
So why don’t we turn around? I would argue that the main reason is tied to those “what ifs” we long for. Think about it. Even if you get what you most want you still wonder what else could be out there. When you feel like the door has been slammed in your face you stare at it and go through an exercise of self-evaluation, maybe blame yourself or others, then go through the grieving process. All this while not turning around to see what’s ahead.
Here’s my suggestion, take a moment and breathe, then do think about your “what if.” But only stay here for a designated period of time. This time will vary based on how you feel. Do put a timer on it because this will be key in your ability to move forward. Once your “time out” has elapsed, turn around and see what’s ahead. Maybe that slammed door is a huge favor that gives you the closure (punt intended) to move away from that part of our life and into the next path. Windows are even better. A window opens lets you fly!!! So don’t think “well it was not a door but I’ll take the window.” In my experience when a window open your are being gifted the ability fly into a future that is brighter and better only if you stop staring at that door next to the window.
So, what door knob are you still trying to twist open? Time to let go and look around you. Greater things are meant for you than what’s behind that door.
When you think about it, most inter-relational events happen not in a vacuum but as the culmination of a series of smaller occurrences. A lot of the time the series of events happens almost imperceptibly. Here are some questions to ask yourself: