Straight Talk: Don’t you ever stop?
Don’t you ever stop?
It’s my most dreaded question and frankly it makes me sweat. It hasn’t sat well with me for a long time, because I felt the curse of judgement.
Judgement of myself.
I have often wondered if there was something wrong with me. My little inner voice asked, am I supposed to stop more than I do – am I doing life wrong? Equally, I struggle with the question: what hobbies do you have? It makes me panic. I don’t sew, or paint, or enjoy gardening. Honestly, the closest hobby I have, is probably thinking about eating chinese roast pork (not even eating it).
I have come to believe, there are a couple of reasons people tend to ask these questions:
They genuinely want to know how I manage my time so they can learn about their productivity (the type who are always learning)
They are confronted by the sheer amount of activity in my life, and are projecting their own lack of productivity by comparing to me (there’s no other way to say it)
This seemingly innocent line of questioning by others in my life, tends to make me ‘front up’ to defend myself. But defend myself from what? I decided to work through this on almost a weekly basis with my health mentor. She picked up on it too, and asked me how do I switch off? I just couldn’t answer. It was a foreign concept.
Deep within me, I have a yearning to progress and an inherent need to explore, change and be involved in the evolution of our world. It’s an insatiable appetite for learning, understanding and doing.
Does this serve me? Yes.
Does it ever inhibit me? Rarely.
Do I feel tired from it. No.
I’ve found that when someone is querying that I’m doing too much, I now ask myself if my activity is serving me, and I ask them: what is it that they see in order to ask that question? Perhaps they can see evidence I’m not yet privy to. If I feel abundant and resourceful – I thank them for giving me a chance to check back into myself – but internally realise their question is most likely about them.
After years of this experience, I’ve realised that what I do is manage energy well, and unapologetically. I know what my purpose is in life. It’s so clear I am compelled to strive for it constantly. I know how I work, what I contribute to and how to go about getting it. I am self aware most of the time, and have learned to listen to my voice and body signals and alter the course of my energy accordingly.
So do I ever stop? No. I am a constantly moving ball of energy. Switching off or stopping, is more like turning down the dial or changing direction for a little while. Think of a river, does a river ever stop? It certainly runs dry, but it never stops. It moves, ebbs and flows, changes direction and alters its speed. But, it never stops, until it is no longer or morphs into something bigger than itself.
The world is changing and how we regard time is also changing. It’s happening right now, people are working several jobs in flexible ways, dispersing their leisure time as it fits in with their life. Soon we will be working an average of six jobs and taking short breaks rather than big long holidays. The sharing economy will see us using many of our skill sets, in ways that create exchanges (sometimes money, sometimes learning, sometimes contribution, sometimes all of those things). I think we could all do well to get clearer about what our purpose at any given time is (life, projects, work, relationships) and understand our motivational preferences to affect the outcome of that purpose.
Here are some questions for you to consider:
- Do you know your own standards for all the parts of your life?
- What’s in or out for you?
- How do you know life is working vs when it’s a like moving through mud?
- When are you the best version of you?
- When do you feel full up emotionally?
I’m interested in your answers. Please share. Thought you might like to know…I now have an answer to both questions:
Don’t you ever stop?: It depends on what you mean by stopping. I manage my energy well and in a way that suits me. Thanks for asking! How about you?
Do you have hobbies?: Yes. Curiosity. Oh, and sometimes I eat chinese roast pork.