What do you feel called to do? And who do you feel called to be?
Socrates advised that the unexamined life isn’t worth living. Similarly, the unlived life isn’t worth examining. Deep questions like these two can propel us into a healthy analysis of our lives and careers, in order to make sure we are thriving, not just surviving.
Here’s another question, one that can stimulate change: “If I wasn’t already doing this, would I choose to do it today?” You can ask this about your career, marriage, any aspect of your life. You’ll be able to tell immediately if you are thriving (i.e. fully engaged) or surviving (being a reluctant participant).
Once you’ve asked and acknowledged your answer, it’s difficult to ignore the implications. But another question immediately arises: What do you do about it?
Fortunately, the first step is easy. Commit.
“Commit to what?” you may ask.
Commit to accepting where you are right now; not as a permanent state, but as an important stage of life filled with powerful learning opportunities.
It’s true. Nothing is perfect and there’s no sense in waiting for improvements to magically occur so commit right now to fully assess your situation, to understand how you got here. You can’t find your way to a new destination on a map (or know if a trip is even required) without understanding where you’re starting from.
You have your job, relationships, your family, home, etc. Work with what you’ve got. That begins with accepting what you’ve got. Healthy change can come, not through rejection of what is or through radical innovation on a dysfunctional theme, but through assuming full ownership for what’s already here (it is your life, after all). That proverbial greener grass on the other side of the fence never looks as green when you get there… and it still needs mowing!
In addiction recovery, there’s a term that’s used to describe what we’re talking about. It’s called, “pulling a geographic.” In other words, moving on to a new job, town, or relationship, without realizing that wherever you go, there you are. So, meaningful change . . . change that can move you into a healthier place in your life, begins with understanding how you got here and then seeking the help you need from friends, family, professionals . . . whatever the situation requires, to learn, change, and grow in ways that are true to your authentic self (which is most often hiding just beneath the surface of who we think we need to be).
You may laugh at this, but our clients regularly testify to this truth: Where you are right now couldn’t be better as a perfect platform for increasing your experience of thriving. Remember thriving is a state of mind and heart that is not dependent on circumstances. Once we learn to inhabit that state of mind more regularly, what to do with what we do have, and whether to stay or go becomes much more clear.
We like to conclude these posts with a Thriving tip drawn from our new book, Thriving, in Business and Life. This one acknowledges that all of us are here for a reason:
“You can answer your calling in life by accepting the starting points available in every moment and growing them with intention into the thriving life of contribution you sense is possible and within reach.”
Will Wilkinson and Christopher Harding