Drift is really hard to avoid.
You know that feeling when you’re going to the right places and doing the right things and you’re doing them for several weeks… except you’re not doing them. It’s more like a subconscious-zombie-robot doing all of the amazing things you do. You’re just kind of along for the ride for either minutes or hours.
Normally when those things come up, I like to do some small physical things to bring me back to the world and they all involve laughter:
- Ask someone how their day is.
- Find a problem you can help with, then help.
- Walk to someone’s desk to ask them a question instead of messaging it to them.
However, what I find to be most needed and helpful isn’t a small break, but an intentional moment of focus. From there, here’s the path to a little less drift:
- Find a place that has a mild background noise. Coffee shops are cool. So is your living room and a bit of music you like.
- Pull out a notebook. Not a laptop. Not evernote. A notebook.
- Ask the questions you’ve been avoiding. Ask about your happiness. Ask about your contentment. Ask where you’re going and how you feel about the journey. Ask ifi you are scared to arrive, successfully or otherwise.
- Write down the answers.
- Ignore the texts and the pull to know all the information about everyone else but yourself because you are the only person you are uncomfortable sitting in silence with. If you have a pet, it will notice your discomfort and try to pull you away from it. Thank your furry companion for its efforts and remember that you have work to do.
- After a while of digging you are either going to find joy, discontent, or nothing. If you find nothing, stop digging and look at things on the periphery like personal life.
- Repeat #3-8.
When you get to the end of this, 30 eternities will have passed. You will be tired. Only 40 minutes will have passed. Take a breather, then continue.
The thing we are the most afraid of is our only path forward and that thing is examination. Not judgment, but an honest look at where and what we are and after that grace, forgiveness, curiosity and wonder and movement.
That takes discipline and, much as we think we’re all about that word as business professionals or adults, we aren’t in general. We’d rather things just work, just go, just be without us having to exhaust ourselves.
Truth is, work worth doing is work focusing on.
Truth is, a life worth living is worth asking lots of questions about.
Truth is, our focus needs more focus and that’s okay.
Discpline, my friends.