What’s life like for you right now – is it heavy and a struggle? A puzzle? Do you ‘should’ on yourself and judge yourself when you procrastinate on all those ‘shoulds’?
Or – does it feel fun, light and inspired?
We’ve just returned from a trip to Australia. It came about in a bit of a whirlwind… I experienced plenty of anxiety before the trip since my Visa only arrived the morning I was due to fly and the air-ticket had long been paid for. My nerves were pretty raw by the time it arrived and I promptly burst into tears when I got the approved visa at 9 am on the morning of my flight!
But that’s not what this article is about….
I’m home again after 10 days of activity, fun, exploration, loads of walking (a few days in a row of between 10 km’s and 13 km’s), figuring out Sydney’s public transport system, finding ways to save money (eek, the exchange rate…!) and being stretched out of our comfort zones plenty of times.
It astounded me the first work morning, after 10 days of having virtually no routine, that I could slip so comfortably and easily back into the routine I’d created here at home. And I must admit, it’s not always healthy routines that serve the goals I want to reach. I also started having thoughts of “It’s back to business today…” and something in that thought certainly didn’t have a fun feeling to it. In fact, some of it felt a bit heavy and a fair bit of ‘should-ing’ creeping in.
You know – that voice that says “Business means getting it right. It’s serious, and I can’t have fun while I’m doing it.”
Well, one of the reasons I love traveling so much is that it always manages to expand my horizons, my thoughts and my comfort zone. It gives me a chance to see the world from a different angle and perspective. And fortunately, right after the ‘should-ing’, another voice popped into my head with the opposite.
It said something like “No should-ing! What if, instead of the usual seriousness, my business and life could feel as FUN as the trip I just had? What if it’s possible to bring fun into every day, and what if I could stop the things I really don’t enjoy and focus on those I love, and that feel like FUN? What if I could bring the energy of TRAVEL into my business and life? How would that change things for me?”
Well, I could immediately feel a sense of inspiration and energy. The whole morning changed and I felt brighter.
A Sense of Adventure
Whenever we travel (and we’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in Europe in different cities, in the US, UK and now Australia), we make a point of adding to the adventure by using the public transport system.
Yes, it feels really uncertain and tense sometimes! We don’t know how it works the first couple of trips. This past trip in Sydney offered a beautiful example.
The public transport system there is simply amazing – there are buses, trains and ferries all linked to the same system. You can get a (free) Opal card and then pre-charge it with an amount of your choice. You swipe it at the start and end of every bus, train or ferry ride – and the system deducts the correct fare from the amount on your card. No hassle. When you swipe, a little screen tells you your balance, and how much was just deducted. A little ‘Bingggg’ tells you when your balance is getting low, so you can recharge at the next convenient place: at around 2,000 retailers, and machines at every train or ferry station.
As a past programmer, my mind boggles at what it took to write this system.
The wrong train…
Anyway – we had some almost-mishaps. We got on the wrong train a few times. There are so many, and so regularly, that we got on trains too early. (I mean really – the trains or buses often arrive early!). With beating hearts, while the train was already moving, we had to try and figure out where to get off to get to the next connection where we could either hop on a bus or train to the correct destination.
At the beginning of every trip to a different city, we don’t know how the transport system is going to work. At the beginning of every train or bus ride, there’s that bit (okay, a lot!) of uncertainty – “I don’t know if this is the right train, and I don’t know if it’ll get me to the right place.”
And you know what? There never was a disaster.
As I think back about that now, the memories no longer contain the fast heart-beats of anxiety. All they contain is the sense of adventure, how pleased we are that we figured it out, what a FUN time we had, even with the uncertainty, and how grateful we are we tried and got there eventually.
What about this can I take into the rest of my life?
Today, on the first ‘work day’ back from this amazing country, I want to pull these lessons from a far-away country back into my life, my business, and my present-moment.
When we have a goal, or plans for a new career, or new thing we want to learn, of course we don’t know how it’s going to work out. We don’t know whether the route (action) we’ve chosen to take, is going to get us there. We have some anxiety and fear. Of course. That’s only normal and natural.
And it doesn’t have to stop us from getting on the train or bus! Absolutely, we might have to get off at a station, and get on another bus. As we go on the journey, we can see whether the chosen vehicle (the actions we take) are getting us closer or further from our goal.
We have to be ON the bus, though, to know that. Waiting until everything is certain wastes so much time, gets us nowhere closer to where we want to be, and can keep us stuck for a long time. (Personal experience talking!)
Some Thoughts to Carry with Us
I returned home with the thought of how much fun it was to experience different things, try different ways than at home, and learning to trust that we’d get there – even if we were not sure how yet.
Could you ask yourself this too, today?
What if our business, career and life could feel like fun? What if we could approach it with an attitude of exploration, and finding out, instead of “I need to already be perfect at this”?
What if we could keep asking “Will this be fun for me?” and if not, “What can I change to bring in fun?”
What if we could say “So what if I don’t get it right the first time. I’m going to explore one way to do it, and not get hung up about this being the ONLY RIGHT way?”
What if there’s more than one bus or train to our destination, and the only thing we have to do is to get on one of them?
If you are an introvert, and struggling with deciding which bus to get onto, or whether you should get OFF the bus you’re on, I warmly invite you to book a 20-minute free coaching call!
No strings, just questions to help you with clarity, and solutions and ideas so you can go forward.
Liesel helps sensitive introverts to see their sensitivity as a superpower, love their work and practice awesome self-care so they can be energized and make a difference in a meaningful and fulfilling way. She helps them to overcome the fear of being visible, avoiding the spotlight and conflict, being ‘too nice’, perfectionism and procrastination.
She’s the author of “No Problem. The Upside of Saying No”, which is a handbook for those who struggle to say no, are overwhelmed and exhausted.
Click here to read about the book.