I’ve been channeling my energies in a different way in the last four or so years. It’s a trend I intend to continue as it has worked out well for me and those in my life. I thought I’d share my process, as I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how I can prioritize future endeavors. The plotting we’ve been doing has resulted in a lengthy list, far too much than can actually be done.
I used to try and take on all things that were expected of me, to varying degrees of success. I was routinely overwhelmed and the stress impacted daily life enjoyment for myself and to the loved ones in my presence. Anxious, over-extended and exhausted I had to make a change as I found that I was growing resentful and found little to no enjoyment in my accomplishments. Part of the need to take so much on was due to insecurity and a need to find approval from those that I was jumping through hoops for, part of it was in trying to fill the void left by my Mother’s far-too-early departure, and there are other parts that I haven’t even tried to examine. The end result is that changes were made, and while there is tremendous guilt, there is also less stress and more enjoyment in my accomplishments and life in general.
Besides putting my energy into where I see the greatest critical need, I also focus on the gratitude returned to me. Yes, it’s selfish, but this blog is a place where I strive for honesty, so why dress it as something it’s not? No one likes being taken for granted, and it happens far too often in our society. When we get a need met, we tend to assign that person to the task eternally, whether or not the person wants that eternal role.
Let’s be clear – I’m not talking tit for tat. That is typically obligatory reciprocation. I’m talking about the satisfaction and pleasure I get from any acknowledgment of effort immediately makes the effort and expense worthwhile, whether a loud squee, sincere and heartfelt “Thanks” or a quiet “You rock.”
For example, I was told during an employee performance appraisal that I received top marks and if he had the budget available I would have received a large cash award. Obviously, the money would have been lovely, but the verbal and documented kudos lifted my spirits and I happily continued to bust my ass.
As another example, in my goofball way I went slightly overboard at a get-together and felt a little silly for it. I felt tremendous pleasure when a young attendee told me, “This is a fun celebration!” The sparkle in his eyes and the way he said it made it clear that it was a spontaneous and genuine statement. Forget the “Thanks,” those five simple words had me floating amongst the stars!
As an aside, I certainly hope that I spread around sincere thanks to those that are important in my life. I’d hate to think that I withhold that from the great many people that make my life so rich, since I get so much joy from hearing. I do intend to try harder to ensure that I vocalize gratitude as well as making sure I express to those that I value just how much they mean to me. It only takes a moment, after all, and doesn’t cost a thing.