I’ve always been a little suspicious of those who say they ache to serve. Maybe it’s to do with the traditional understanding of the word in our culture, or a reaction to my ingrained urge to jump on demand and bend to the strongest will in the room… maybe not.
I’m not sure, but I know one thing: the more I heard that ‘service’ was the thing we should all be striving for, the worse I seemed to feel.
I felt that something was wrong with me as I pushed against the very thought of ‘service’. I felt a bit guilty thinking I’ve done my time, thank you very much, and now I want to be free and make my own decisions and do the things that give me joy.
I tried to want to serve. I tried to adjust my marketing to fit this apparent desire, but it just didn’t feel right.
‘Service’ is all so terribly worthy. Worse, it makes me feel less than worthy when the thought doesn’t give me the get up and go give my all to my clients every day. ‘To serve’ conjures up a little wet, sort of limp feeling that I cannot imagine could be of any use.
No, service doesn’t cut it. This does:
I. WANT. TO. BE. ME!!!!
I have one of those significant birthdays coming up this year… the kind that makes you stop and take stock of where you are and how far you’ve come… or not.
I’ve been determined not to be bothered by this birthday; I tell myself it’s just a number. To be honest with you I mostly just can’t believe that number even applies to me. How can I be Forty (almost) when I still feel like a lost, naïve child inside?
(And what the heck am I doing sharing that thought when I should be out declaring my expertise and confidence and can do-ness to the world? Nevertheless, I’m going to risk losing face and share my vulnerable moment for the sake of the story.)
Actually, my thoughts have done some pretty extensive wandering over the last few days until I remembered:
I have a lifetime’s experience in comparing myself to other people (it’s a built-in self destruct mechanism that kicks in if I ever start to think I might actually be getting good at something.) And I’m doing it again.
Every now and then I go innocently out to do something simple and rewarding, like buy a book perhaps, and I gaily walk straight into a brick wall!
This wall may take the form of those automatic cashiers in the supermarket (designed to cut operating costs by reducing four cashiers to one slave, running after the endless errors and frustrated customers generated by these machines.)
Unfortunately, the brick wall can just as easily take the form of a human being who has forgotten they are not a machine. Continue reading
I may be building an independent business but the people I want to connect with are workers for others. I’ve had many years in the most eclectic range of jobs you can imagine. I can see the appeal of the workplace – the friendships, the camaraderie and a clear sense of where you sit in relationship to others.
But inside I’m screaming for a blurring of the boundaries – an end to putting people in boxes.
Let’s face it, most of us spend a HUGE proportion of our waking hours at work, killing time between shifts, sneaking in a few emails before dinner, or travelling to and from our workplace. We make friends with our colleagues and work conversation drifts into our personal lives.
Despite this, we seem to think it’s acceptable to settle for second best in our careers, preferring security and financial reward in favour of job satisfaction and personal fulfilment. We seem to think the two are mutually exclusive, so we’ve chosen the money. Happiness, we assume, comes later.
Not true. The time for happiness is NOW.
I have an awful lot on my plate this week, and I’ve been getting a little lost in all the different demands on my time and attention. I still get lost in a maze of self-recrimination when I can’t fulfil every obligation that comes my way.
With a lifetime of people-pleasing habits buried deep in my psyche, I still sometimes find myself trying to respond immediately, instantly to someone’s request to help out. I forget quickly and easily my own need to connect with others, have fun, rest and recharge. I lose touch with my own inner compass and just step into reactive problem solving.
I don’t think I’m alone here.
For months, I’ve been pushing and struggling to set the scene for my future, and right now I feel like things are coming together. While they do, I’m playing a waiting game.
My body tells me I am tired. My head tells me I should do more. My heart (when I listen) tells me it’s all going to be ok.
My life is about to radically change.
This is not a surprise – we’ve been planning this for four years. In fact, it wasn’t going to take us that long. In the space of just one year, we were going to leave the hustle and bustle of a British city for the beauty and quiet of the Tirolean Alps. Three times a year for four years we’ve escaped to our great big house in the mountains, and each time we’ve come back to work, earn more money, and save.
This time it’s different. This time we’re not coming back to work. This time, I’m going to have to work over there.
Suddenly I feel responsible