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Sunday evening, already.
Where has the weekend gone by? The hours disappeared so quickly, vanished. And as you begin to think about tomorrow, you feel restless and frustrated.
You earn a good living, and you can perform your job on automatic pilot. You overcame so many professional challenges over the years, you are now experienced. Yet, you know that when you’ll come home tomorrow evening, you will open a bottle of wine to reward yourself and numb the restlessness. And again, the day after.
Because your heart is longing for something else. You know this, deep down. But that’s not reasonable, so you shut down the emotions. Over and over again.
But here’s the good news.
You can stop this vicious circle before it is too late.
To do this, stop listening to your rational thoughts for a brief moment. Ignore the little voice of Mr. Spock in your head for once! Instead, feel your emotions and listen to the insights that arise.
Because that’s the shortest path to find purpose and passion in your work.
1. Ignore the signs of restlessness at your own risk
Sure, there are moments in life where the going gets tough. And it is not necessarily time to change path. Much can be gained by facing adversity, and persevering until the challenges are overcome.
However, there are also moments in life when the signs of restlessness and slight despair should not be confused with the pressure of a temporary difficult situation. When physiological pains add to mental distress, it is more than time to reflect on what is really going on, beneath the surface.
Insomnia, chronic fatigue, loss of concentration, cravings and addictions, anxiety attacks, abnormal mood swings can all be signs that something wrong is going on.
And the more you ignore the situation, the worse it gets.
Believe me, I know the feeling. I disregarded with disdain those physical and mental signs for months before I hit the wall. It was a shock, a terrible shock. I was forced to take a 3-month sick leave. It was the most difficult experience of my life.
Please, don’t wait too long. Maybe now is the time to step back and reflect on what is going on with your job.
2. Your rational mind can’t understand the real cause of your discomfort
When we are faced with a problem, we normally count on our rational mind to find a solution. We are trained early in life to develop and cherish our capacity to analyze and solve problems rationally. And that’s great, and indispensable. But what if your reason is not able to understand what is going on, to figure out the root cause of the problem? How could you fix the situation, then?
The source of your restlessness could well be hidden beneath the conscious surface, deep down within you. And that level of knowledge is not the realm of your rational mind. It is the realm of your intuitive mind.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”—Einstein
The good news is that the human mind is far more powerful and complex than you may realize. We tend to forget that we are naturally born with another ability, another way of thinking. And that’s our intuitive thinking. Don’t cringe! It may sound esoteric to you, but it is not. It is a fact, as demonstrated by neuroscience. Indeed, most of the decisions you take in a day are based on your intuitions, not your reason. Whether you realize it or not!
3. Newsflash: You already leverage your intuitive mind to make better decisions
You see, intuitive thinking is the process by which our mind jumps almost instantaneously to conclusions without us being necessarily conscious of the intermediate steps. It works by association, by analogy. It leverages our life’s worth of conscious and unconscious knowledge and experiences. And the language of intuitions are emotions.
Let me give you a few quick examples:
- You meet someone for the first time, and within seconds, you decide whether you like this person or not (It is likely that this person resembles someone you like, so you feel you know her already)
- In the midst of a negotiation, you instinctively find the best arguments to convince your vis-a-vis (You are so prepared that your mind figures automatically what should be said. You feel you are saying the right things)
- You make a tough decision within seconds, and your employees admire your incredible capacity to find the best solution with such ease (You have experienced so many situations that your mind jumps directly to the solution, by analogy. You feel you are making the right choice).
Rational thinking, on the other hand, works sequentially (collect data—analyze—create solutions—evaluate). It requires efforts on our part, and leverages conscious knowledge. It is expressed through words.
Because intuitions use deeply ingrained knowledge and models we created for ourselves, they have the power to inform us of our heart’s deepest wish. Rational thinking has only access to conscious knowledge, so it can’t.
So if you feel empty, restless and confused, your rational thinking may have a limited ability to capture the essence of the problem and form a solution. You may want then to tap into unconscious knowledge to understand what’s really going on with you, deep down.
Let your intuitions be your guide.
4. Forget the checklists: Your intuitive mind understands what to do next
We all have intuitions, whether you realize it or not. We are born with this ability. When you think about it, rational thinking relies on words, and words appeared only recently in human history. Before that, our ancestors could only rely on their intuitions, their instinct to live and survive. This ability is innate. You have it, I have it, and that’s great news.
However, here’s a little catch: you don’t control your intuitions. You can’t force them. They arise spontaneously.
But … you can create the circumstances for intuitions to emerge. And it is not that difficult!
The idea is to pay attention to the emotions that arise, because that’s how intuition manifests. The problem is that we often do not pay sufficient attention to how we feel as we go about our busy days. When we are over solicited by the demands of our lives, all of our attention (which is actually limited) can be directed outwardly. We then miss out on important insights by ignoring the emotions that emerge.
And the way to pay attention is to be present in the moment, as much as possible and as often as you can.
Quiet your mind for an instant and feel your emotions.
If you are are at work:
- How do you feel at this moment? Why?
- What’s great and gives you energy?
- What’s not so great and deprives you of energy?
- What do you learn about yourself?
- Do this as often as you think of it during the day.
When you’re home:
- Instead of numbing your feelings with alcool, reserve some quiet time and relax.
- What did you learn today about yourself? Don’t over think, let the emotions be your guide.
- How do you feel? Why?
- Journal if you like, it is a great way to deepen your understanding.
Listen to your intuitive mind for several days if needed, and many times a day. Feel the emotions and take note of what comes to mind, without judging. If your rational thinking intervenes at this point, it will cut you off insightful Aha! moments. Don’t listen to your reason. Keep your attention to your feelings. You’ll tap into your rational mind in the next step, don’t worry. 🙂
Can you now tell what is the essence of your discomfort? Do you know what your heart aspires to? If it is not yet the cas, continue exploring, with professional support if required. On the contrary, if you do, that’s great, you now have a target. And I bet you are in a state of febrile excitement!
And with a clear target, you can now take the actions required to attain your goal.
Are you motivated? Are you ready to take action?
5. No one can love your job for you
Now is the time to engage your rational mind! Let it become your faithful servant. Don’t let it destroy your dream. Instead, engage it to find the necessary solutions to attain your goal.
Evaluate your options rationally, with discernment
- If you were starting from scratch, what steps would you have to take?
- Now consider your current situation: how should you adapt the steps, above, to account for your reality?
- What actions must you take?
- What are the key milestones?
- In which order should you proceed?
- What challenges will you need to overcome?
- Who can help you?
- How will you know if you are successful?
Manage your progress, and stay focused.
Pay attention to your intuitions in the process, and to your priorities. Because distraction kills dreams.
It is likely that the road to get to the job of your dreams will be difficult. I know this for a fact! I worked as an actuary (for 10 years), before reorienting my career in management (for 15 years), and here I am now coach, speaker and author (for the past 4 years)! None of this happened spontaneously. It took time, good planning, and tight priority management.
Do not give up until you have evaluated all your options. It may not be necessary to make a radical change and switch careers. It might be enough to get a new assignment, join a different team, get specialized training. The important thing is to find a job that meets your deepest aspirations. And you will know intuitively when you have found the right solution.
Because you can feel what is good for you.
Imagine now the feeling of excitement on Sunday evening, as you anticipate going back to work the next day.
You know for a fact that you will wake up energized. Your head is already spinning with great creative ideas, and you have the confidence that you will do small miracles again tomorrow. And you will be so excited at the end of the day that you will enjoy a quiet evening, relaxed and fulfilled, ready to go to sleep and wake up yet to another motivating day.
You now know that it is possible. Because you have it in you.
As a seasoned manager, coach and author, I help entrepreneurs and professionals who are committed to becoming effective managers and inspiring leaders. I love sharing with you proven tools, inspiring experiences and best practices in management and leadership. To make sure you do not miss anything, please subscribe to my weekly newsletter.