So, early in January, I’d come to a juncture in my life, where I was full of energy. I was ready to blow the top off my beautiful new business, ready to bounce gleefully into the entrepreneurial world with a grin on my face and a shimmy in my butt. This was my time.
My business plan had been created, my flexible work day designed to suit my needs. I was ready to change my life and step up to that plate, like I’ve always dreamed.
However. I then made a terrifying discovery.
I realized that now, I gotta work, bitch.
I’m not a mind reader, so obviously I have no idea what y’all are thinking, but I’d like to imagine it’s something along the lines of, “Well what did you expect? Did you think your business would just magically build itself? Or perhaps, like many others, you anticipated that Oprah would post you tiny business pixies that would sprinkle fairy dust everywhere and unicorn-fart your work into existence?”
Or perhaps this could have crossed your mind, “But Grace, you’re finally working on your own business! Every bit of what you’re doing is creative and fun! You can do all the things! Why you no want to do all the things?”
Oh, and if it was something like “Why on EARTH do you have to use such foul language?” Well honey, you are in the wrong place. This here be authentic – learn about yourself -break down your barriers- pirate language territory, arrrrrgh!
Anyway, you’d be totally entitled to all those thoughts above. Heck, I’ve obviously had them myself.
The point is, I immediately noticed that there was something not quite right with the way I felt about getting to work, so I set out on an epic journey to discover just why I didn’t want to knuckle down and work hard for the money, so hard for it honey.
My little adventure began with a pen and paper. I sat myself down, wrote the word WORK in an adorably cute fluffy speech bubble in the middle of my page, then around it, I began to write or draw whatever popped into my head.
It was by doing that simple little exercise, I happily discovered that my predisposition to work, which was now rearing it’s ugly little head, didn’t mean I was a lazy ho-bag (hurrah!). It was all just a matter of me having an unhealthy definition of work, which I’ve created for myself over the years. And when I say ‘created’ I mean, ‘chiseled into every bone on my body.’
My little adventure into the inner working’s of Grace’s mind, showed me that my thoughts on work have been less like the sex-tastic britney gif above, and more like the Cindy-esque image below:
My thoughts and beliefs around the whole concept of work, when I exposed them to the light, horrified me to the core. They were far from good – they were very, very bad.
I realized I had a set of ugly pre-defined beliefs built up around what it is to ‘work’, based on the horrible experiences I’ve had from shoving myself into ill fitting jobs not suited to me. Not to mention picking up the meaning of work cultivated by others in my growing and learning environment as a child. That’s right, I was a child once, before I turned 30.
Check it out below – here are a couple of things I jotted down around my pretty little page during that excercise:
GRACE’S CRAPPY (OLD)
BELIEFS ON WORK
WORK – Is something that people (like me) are forced to do, to keep a roof over their heads and food on their plate. And rather terrifyingly, it’s seen as respectable and ‘the norm’ to work in a mind numbing job in modern (western) society.
‘Work hard, reach the top.’ ‘There is no substitute for hard work’ How many times have you heard phrases like that?’ ‘Hard work is what we have to pay for a meaningful, happy, life’. That last one just gives me the shivers.
WORK – is responsible for that crazy time I got burnout. *I feel it’s important to add – that IS a belief that I held in the past. I am now well aware that GRACE is responsible for that time Grace got burnout. Working all day without taking a break, eating or going to the toilet is most surely a bad idea, no matter how much you want to progress in your career. Believe me, I have learned my lesson well. These days I make sure my workflow is more efficient and give myself proper self care by just having all my meals and breaks on the toilet. JUST KIDDING OMG!! There is all sorts of hygiene problems within that last sentence. I do not do that. I give myself proper breaks, nourishing meals and wonderful self care (even when I don’t want to. Especially when I don’t want to).
WORK – is responsible for killing talented young people all around the world, but especially in Japan, where they actually have a word for it – Karōshi – which (according to wikipedia) literally translates into ‘Death From Overwork’. I discovered all about it after I suffered burnout in 2011 and started to wonder if I was the only young person who felt that work was killing them. I have a really huge love for Asian cultures and people, and was gutted to discover stories like that of Mita Diran and Fujie Sugiyama and her son Takanori.
After reading their stories, and having suffered burnout that did temporary damage to my short term memory, caused me to lose an unhealthy amount of weight very quickly and forced me to take a whole year off of any kind of work, I felt extremely lucky that I got out of that job when I did.
WORK – in the past, has sucked the soul out of me and left me feeling inauthentic, exhausted and icky. Work isn’t work unless it’s painful, long, boring, or depletes me in some way, generally both emotionally and physically.
WORK – is responsible for me attaining money, which I need, but I’ll only get a lot of money, if I put my self care on the back burner, and put all my energy into working, to produce good work.
Not so good, right? I realized I didn’t have ANY positive beliefs around work. Not good!
So. I decided, that was it, I was going to change my whole mindset when it came to work. Why? Because all of the above is just NOT the kind of toxic mindset I want to be bringing with me into my new biz.
And lets face it, we it comes to work, I can’t escape it. None of us can! It’s something I’ll always have to do, and I just couldn’t expect myself to throw my heart and soul into it when I realised the way I felt about it (see above!).
I couldn’t expect myself to reach success with my above beliefs about work, so I decided to shift my mind set and make ‘work’ work for me.
So, after spending some time thinking about what I’d like work to represent to me, here’s what I came up with:
WORK – the consistent enjoyable actions which lead to completion of a goal or plan.
WORK – a way in which I can contribute my magic to the world, while encouraging myself and others to grow.
Work – the awesome thing I choose to do in between self care and fun.
And what about you? How do you feel about work? Have you got any icky, self-limiting, punishing beliefs around work that’s stopping you from reaching your goals… stopping you from taking care of yourself? Stopping you from giving yourself an awesome pat on the back for how far you’ve gotten today?
How about packing your knapsack, and going on a little adventure like I did? Who knows what you may discover!
Have you discovered some limiting beliefs already? If you’d like to share, just leave them in the comments below! Who knows who you could be helping get over their own toxic beliefs?
So that’s my adventure! To remind myself of how far I’ve come, before I sit down to start a beautiful days work, I look at myself in the mirror, give that young lady a cheeky wink and proclaim, ‘Now get to work, bitch!’ 😀