Early in my life I was very driven, and I still am, yet in a different way. Not to say you have to be driven to live a meaningful life. We each have our own take on what makes us happy and which satisfies our thirst for life. Many of us have been through so much pain, that the idea of finding meaning in life is laughable. What I share with you today is how, no matter where you are in your life, you can concretely increase the “fun” in your life, and a sense of hope. Know that I share this in the spirit of honoring wherever you are in life. I don’t pretend to have “the” answer for you, but I can share what has worked for me and others I know.
Consider Working For Yourself Even If You’re Working For Someone Else
I used to work for two major organizations, both universities, and there was some upside. I eventually chose to work for myself. The challenge for many, which I respect, is that you may have a job that pays you very well and allows you many advantages for yourself and your family. How in the world can you simply walk away from that kind of job and start your own creation? I’m not suggesting that, although I have seen it done, and I’ve done that, yet it comes with risk. On the other hand, you may have a job that is not paying you much, but you love the work and the same challenge of walking away abruptly is just as unfathomable. I am also not suggesting that.
What I’m suggesting is something else.
I’m suggesting you look at your current status of work and think about how you can still continue, and:
- Begin the process of customizing your weekly schedule within your existing position.
- Give some thought to creating your own position, over a period of time, which would allow you the time to transition in a manner that would bring you peace of mind.
Below are some specific strategies I’d like you to consider:
Create Your Own Timeline
Keep in mind that “if you’re not willing to do more than your asked for, you’ll likely never be asked to do more than you’re doing.” I reference this quote because what I’m about to suggest will mean you need to be seen as a very valuable individual where ever you work. If you’re not, make that happen with the quality of your effort. Once you’ve established this, here is what you can begin to do:
Brainstorm with the person you report to about a new kind of timeline which could lead to:
- Improved efficiency and quality of your work.
- A shorter work week
- A varying number of hours worked per day
- A percentage of work done from your home office
- A customized benefits package where you give up in some areas to gain in others
The goal here would be to simultaneously:
- raise your level of efficiency at work
- increase your level of personal flexibility
- create time for newness (see below)
Flexibility Within Your Routines
Within your existing life you have routines, and those can be an important part of feeling connected and safe. They can also lead to a sense of being trapped. To quote my brother Ted Cañez, “The truth often lies somewhere in the middle.”
What I’m suggesting is for you to reflect on your current routines and consider:
- Having some routines occur every other day or on different days
- Having some routines occur every other week
- Adding time to reflect as a part of your weekly routine
Start Something New Every Once In A While
This is simple and profound advice which has worked wonders for me. However, we often hear the advice that we should all strive to become a master of something, instead of a jack of all trades. One day I thought to myself, “Why do these have to be exclusive?” Why can’t we be extraordinary in more than one area? After all, we learn many skills in one area, and many of those skills are transferable, assuming we have an open mindset.
What I’m suggesting is:
- Learn a new language (I have learned some sign language over the last decade)
- Learn a new dance, or if you don’t dance, learn how to dance (I knew how to dance to the Cumbia, and then later learned how to dance Salsa!)
- Try a new food item or better yet, learn how to cook it (I used to only be able to grill proteins, and now I’ve cooked food from all over the world… a lot of fun!)
- Open up a private consulting business and explore new possibilities (I’ve done this multiple times and it’s led to feeling even more alive along with creating multiple streams of income)
When we doing something new, and then continue to evolve, this kind of “living” becomes the norm. I can share with you that it is very liberating, exciting and adventurous in nature. It can also lead to a very different kind of financial and emotional security.
We are more than we know. Embrace the unknown and start something new… I call this “Seeking newness.” Have fun and remember what Albert Einstein once said, “Fun is the highest form of research.” I believe it’s also a fantastic way to experience life.
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