Being thoughtful about what we choose

It’s been a while since I have added to my blog. Ideas have been abundant. And, time has not been an issue — there is always time, the same 24 hours in every day, guaranteed. The bottom line is that I chose to do other things, even as my heart yearned to focus its attention on my coaching practice and all the ideas that I want to share.

Why would I choose to do what is contrary to the pull in my heart? Why do so many of us do that and feel the same frustrations?

I have been working on understanding this issue for a long time. Even as I have come to understand it much more clearly, I have not found it easy to change my old patterns.

I have always been interested in and excited about many things. Unlike some people, who only want to go deep into their work or an interest that consumes their attention, I have always been fascinated by and attracted to learn about a wide array of topics. And, in our media-saturated world, it’s become easier than ever to hear about and get involved with interesting activities. It’s easy to watch a new TED talk that someone recommended. Or pick up a new book discussed on NPR. Or get involved with a political race that aligns with my values. Or support a cause championed by someone I care about. Indulging in all of these seemingly small magnets for my attention adds up to an enormous amount of time and diffused focus.

As well, there’s another challenge I have faced for ages — saying “yes” to many requests that are not aligned to the work I want and need to be doing. This is an entrenched habit. It’s been tough for me even to slow down and consider the true scope of requests before making a commitment to take them on. I love helping people who need my skills and seek my participation in projects I believe in. And, I’ve become known as someone who has almost always said “yes”. So, there are lots of requests to be fielded.

Recently, two such projects expanded beyond the scope that I had (loosely) envisioned. And, although I did not want to work on them concurrently, I did not insist on some relevant pacing that would have enabled me do them sequentially. These projects are terrific, meaningful, and have been rewarding, but they have taken a big a toll on me. Sometimes it takes such a moment to see the light.

I have now set new boundaries. I’ve made and announced new decisions. I am being absolutely clear — to myself and to others — that I am no longer accepting projects that take me away from my core work.

And, I am limiting the amount of distraction I am letting into my life on a daily basis. I am slowing down to get more done, with clarity and focus. It feels absolutely terrific.

While my two big projects are not yet wrapped up, I can see the finish line for both. I will be proud and happy when they are complete. And I feel joy to be saying goodbye to doing any more work that does not align with the purpose that matters most to me.

My shoulders feel lighter, as does my heart!

If these issues resonate for you, and you’d like to share your experiences, ways of responding, or questions, I’d be glad to hear from you.