“Mary, if you find yourself ‘working’ or ‘struggling,’ you’re doing something wrong.”
This reminder came to me through another coach, and it resonated with me. In fact, in the weeks preceding this conversation, I found myself intentionally observing my beliefs about work.
I noticed I had fairly rigid work hours, and only business-related tasks were “allowed” during that time. When I attempted to break this rule by taking the dog for a walk or just simply sitting down and resting, I would hear that inner voice nagging at me to get back to work. It is an ugly voice that has zero compassion or grace. Additionally, I noticed that work was often prioritized over family, friends, and even my own well-being—work first, play later.
During work, my body was often tense, and the inner chatter kept pushing me through the parade of challenges that kept popping up, but…
I love being in my highly-focused work mode because I get a lot done. However, in this state, I realized that my focus was limited to only the solutions I could conceive, leaving little room for the possibility of unanticipated resources and support that could move me forward.
I’d begun to desire an easier way of being. This desire brought up a past experience.
Several years ago, I was role-playing with a colleague who was also a coach. I’ve never enjoyed role-playing. Although I was complying, I was resisting internally. Then, my friend, acting as the coach, asked me, “If money were no object, what would you be doing now?”
As if the oppositional, defiant part of me was just waiting for this question, I blurted out, “I’d be having fun!” In that pure moment, I realized I wasn’t role-playing; this was my truth.
What do I do with this? Well, I did what I was taught to do. I kept working, trying to find time for fun and connection when I could, but work remained my primary focus. No one around me questioned this focus; after all, it’s the work ethic we are all celebrated for.
While I was pleased with the progress towards my goals, I didn’t allow myself to truly have fun in the process.
Questions started to arise:
- If I make play a priority, does that make me irresponsible?
- Will I be alone, homeless, and hungry?
- Can something meaningful be created through play?
- If others see me as playful, will they not take me seriously?
I allowed these questions to roll around in my awareness, observing the emotions that came up. As these emotions surfaced, I was willing to be with the energy of those emotions. Eventually, the energy dissipated, and with it, the limiting beliefs fell away.
One new core belief emerged from this work:
We always have what we need to create our dreams, and everything happens in the right time. With this new core belief, fun becomes part of the process, not an add-on experience.
I’ve decided to make 2024 the year of play! If I’m not having fun, I will intentionally ask myself what it would take to experience fun, joy, lightness, and possibility in the moment and then do more of that.
I fully anticipate the days and situations that will challenge me. I’m not expecting to live in a fantasy land. Rather, I know that my experiences are always rooted in the meaning that I give to them, and I am committed to taking 100% responsibility for my experiences.
What is your intention for 2024?
What do you need to believe about yourself and your business to live in this intention?
For more content like this, check out my Fully Alive podcast. This podcast will inspire you to live with purpose, expand your impact and create with ease.