Have you ever found yourself at a crossroads in your life or career and felt the need to keep pushing, to keep moving, to keep exploring and questioning and researching?
This is something I've been discussing with my own coach and therapist over the last few months and something that came up for one of my clients this morning. At times we push harder, expecting the longer hours and the harder work to give us the answers, and yet we slow down, or stop, this can give us exactly the answers we are looking for.
I've never been a particularly patient person, and yet I am learning to be patient. I've never been someone what has done anything slowly, and yet I'm discovering the calm within the slower pace. And the slower pace, that I have crafted for myself, is allowing more moments of joy and connection and more answers and more direction and more clarity.
In a little over a month I turn 40, and this for me has brought up a whole raft of emotions and thoughts over the last year. I had all of these 'things' that I wanted to achieve and get done by the time I was 40 and I found myself pitting necessary pressure on myself to get them all done. Then lockdown hit and my long list of things seemed to be no more than just a list. Timings and events shifting or cancelled completely and at first feelings of lost hope.
I also found the time to question 'what next?' I realised that all of my life I'd been planning for and achieving all of these goals with deadlines and targets. I've spent the last 20 years saying 'by the time I'm 40 I will have ....' and most of those things I'd achieved by the age of 35. So I started to create this list of things that I 'should' be doing, a list of things that I 'could' be doing, just to say I'd achieved.
And yet in stopping and reflecting and slowing down, I've discovered much more in the 'being' and I'm enjoying being me. I'm enjoying being me much more than I was enjoying the pushing and the working and the striving. Don't get me wrong, as mum and step-mum to four boys and a rescue dog, partner, daughter, sister, friend and running two companies whilst maintaining my morning and evening practices, I still do a lot on a daily basis. But I'm creating more time for me, more time and opportunity and spontaneity, more time for connection and conversation and I'm loving it!
A lot of my clients want to know how they can be better at doing more. But the reality is that sometimes we just need to focus our attention at being brilliant at one thing and ok at the rest. And if we can be brilliant at being ourselves, this is how we create trust and credibility and connection and relationships and have presence and create impact. Often, self-discovery can be the hardest learning of all, but it's totally worth it in the end.
If I asked you how much you needed to get done today I'm sure you could reel off a hundred things and more. If I asked you who or how you needed to be be today what would you say? If I asked you who you are, now and everyday could you answer?
Who are you? Take some time to stop and think about it.
Kelly is an Executive Coach and Global Empowerment Coach for Leaders and HR Professionals at kellyswingler.com and Founder ofThe Chrysalis Crew. She leads and coaches with an open heart, an open mind and has the courage to challenge the status quo and do things differently so that we can all love our roles, find balance in our lives and so that we can all change the world of work for the better.