Life is quite the teacher. In April I wrote a blog about my lessons with impatience as I recovered from knee surgery. There is so much to learn when you aren’t where you want to be.
My knee has changed my life. In so many ways.
Which got me thinking. Of metaphors. Because that is the best way to describe this process of finding work that matters.
You have heard me talking about the importance of building a foundation, just like a house. What we really want to do is decorate the place. But imagine what would happen if you didn’t have a basement or supporting beams.
Work that fits for us always begins with us. And who we are. That is the foundation.
Don’t worry, I say. We will get to the decorating part. The part where we find that career that makes us want to leap out of bed in the morning.
Like all good metaphors, there is so much to be learned when we make those connections between seemingly disparate parts of our lives.
Here is how my knee can help you on your path to finding your dream job:
1. Be selective about who you listen to
After about 6 weeks of rehab, my knee was not doing what it was supposed to do. Bend. Well, technically it bent, just not that much. I began the process of digging for what was happening. A degree in anatomy would have been handy.
I asked a lot of questions. I got a lot of responses, opinions and advice. There was none that were off the mark; all were full of caring.
I went to the Internet. That’s where it got a little wild. “The thing that helped me was all that walking.” The next one said don’t walk. What on earth do you do with that?
I was an eager patient. I did everything the physio told me. And not much changed. I went to a second physio. A chiropractor. An acupuncturist. A massage therapist.
They all offered ideas, some of which wonderfully built off of another. I fine tuned the exercise program. I discarded some ideas and added new ones. Some of what I was told made perfect sense and some did not.
Ultimately, I had to pay attention to what made sense for me.
When it comes to your career, you will find lots of opinions. You may even solicit them. Not all of it will make sense for you. Listen. Check it out.
Most of all – listen to yourself! Here’s a quote I saw this week about listening to yourself:
Don’t forget to remember that the truth comes in whispers….after we have shut out all of the other voices around us. Be still.
2. Follow your own pace
As much as I willed my knee to bend, it wasn’t happening. I had an idea that I needed to push harder. I did this for a long time. Not much changed.
I have seen this before. If something isn’t working, I push. I have seen this in others who are in work that doesn’t work for them and what do they do? Try harder. Negate their own misery.
What I was experiencing was the body giving me some strong messages. I wasn’t paying attention.
What I had to find was my own rhythm. What worked for me.
When it comes to creating a happier worklife, there may be a desire to be there already. You may be a square peg fitting itself into a round hole. The idea is that you stop jamming that peg.
Beyond the fear, how can you find your own pace, the one that allows you to find your place?
3. There’s more going on than meets the eye
Often I hear people saying that they “just” need to find a new job. Then they find another job and after the excitement has died down, they find themselves unsatisfied.
During my healing process, I was told that mechanically my knee could bend. In fact, during the surgery, the surgeon bent the knee to full flexion. So what was going on? The answer isn’t really clear.
For sure what the trained professionals know is that it has to do with muscles and tendons and tissues and the brain?
The brain? What was explained to me is the brain is anticipating pain, after a long period of time with pain, and it is sending messages not to bend.
A lot more going on than you might think.
The same with your work life. When you are dissatisfied at your job and want to make a change, what is happening is so much more.
I heard this week about a study of people who lost their jobs either by quitting or getting fired, no one wished they could get their old job back.
How I see this is a person is ready for a change. For a change to be in the direction you want to go, you need to think about that direction. The more you are strategic about where you want to go, the more you will experience satisfaction at work. There probably is some mathematical formula in there.
4. Work hard; rest hard
Remember the line about music and how it is mostly made up of rests? The space in between is just as important as what it surrounds.
Resting is so underrated. In my world. Pushing hard is the answer. My knee needed to be kept moving. I began physio the day after my surgery. When I came home, I was exercising every 2 hours.
I was also told about the importance of putting the leg up, regularly icing and being mindful of how much I walked.
Work and rest. So it is when you are looking at work that matters to you. Just as important as doing the legwork of exploring who you are and what you want and looking for your place in the work world, it is also vital to take a break.
Make it fun!
What an amazement to me is when I am in the midst of fun and an idea arises to solve my problem!
Taking work and rest both seriously is quite the concept.
5. Experience the dejection and keep moving
In my recovery, I did a lot of the right things. Still, they was no significant change. I was discouraged. Big time.
In those moments, because I didn’t know what else to do, I kept doing the exercises.
Then the feeling changed because feelings do. And my knee felt better because it was doing what it was supposed to do.
The discouragement factor arises when we are in the middle of an important change. You will find this happens when you don’t know what to do for the work dilemma.
What you may notice is you are frustrated with your work scene but you have no idea what to do.
The answer is: keep moving. Keep moving in a forward motion. Seek out people who can help you. Look for books, websites, ideas and even metaphors for your situation. Ask a lot of questions to others and yourself.
There will be an answer.
Was there a life-altering event that happened in your life? What did it teach you? I would love to hear from you. Send me an email message here.