Welcome to what we’ve learned to expect to be “the most wonderful time of the year”. From what I can tell from myself, clients, colleagues, family and friends, however, wonderful is more of an aspiration than a reality. The reality is more like a frenzied attempt to ‘get everything done’, much of which involves the acquisition of more ‘stuff’. Surely it could be more wonderful than that….
I’m minded of how one of my coaching clients recently reviewed our work together:
“One of the most important parts of this journey is that I used to think life was all about stuff. Now I think it’s all about feelings.”
I like that. Feelings are the ultimate payoff. Beyond satisfying one’s basic human needs, acquiring, owning and using ‘stuff’ only makes sense if it delivers the feelings we seek. The same goes for giving stuff, which leads to disappointment when those to which we give don’t react in the way that delivers the feelings we seek.
Furthermore, a focus to ‘get everything done’ implies the only reason to do anything is for it to be over. Then we can get on to the next thing such that that’s over, too. Do, then do, then do again and to hell with how any it makes us feel, be it in our professional or our personal lives.
Here’s an idea, and not a very big one. How would it be to do 10% fewer things about 10% less stuff and reinvest that energy to feel 10% better when we do what we do? Take 10% off our ‘to do’ list and create a parallel ‘to be’ list that focuses us on how we would like to be, how we would like to feel, whilst engaging in each of our ‘to dos.’ If we can find the seasonal journey, both professional and personal, a little more fulfilling then we stand to be less invested in the payoff we expect on the big day.
My client’s route to focusing on feelings came about through the mindfulness meditations I recommended, but we might each have our own way to stop and smell the roses. Perhaps it boils down to asking ourselves and others “how are you being?” rather than “how are you doing?”
At this time of the year, as at any time, wonderful is something to be, not something to do.