The single most common complaint I hear is:
“I feel like all I do is work”
Or the family person version:
“All I do is work and do things with the family”
What they are really saying is they feel less than fulfilled. They feel there is more out there. They feel bored and want more.
Many aren’t sure what they’d do if they could do anything else. Some have a clear picture of exactly what they’d do.
In both cases, as soon as the possibility of more is approached, resistance flies up like a barricade at a court house parking entry.
Basically, we aren’t happy with what is happening, but when the chance to change pops up, we feel like we can’t. Pretty messed up right?
About a year ago, I was talking with a former colleague and she was sharing a dream of a business that embraced one of her passions. As she spoke, she was glowing, literally glowing. She had the whole idea mapped in her head and described it in such amazing detail that I could see it. It is a gorgeous idea and she is perfect for it.
Tapping in to her excitement, I asked if she had thought about location. She had and went on to describe it.
I pushed a little further and asked when.
The reasons why she couldn’t then came tumbling out: obligation to her mortgage, her corporate career, jeopardizing her retirement, her husband’s expectations and the belief that she just couldn’t.
This is a very common story.
The successful professional who wants more, but can’t seem to have it. The more isn’t always a business idea. Sometimes it is a desire to be able to sit down and relax at night – without the stress of work preying on them. It is the desire for a life outside of work that is fun, filled with good friends and experiences that enrich their life, leaving them energized to go to a job they can love more fully since the rest of life is pretty awesome.
When I was hired at my last corporate job, one of the reasons I took the job was something my hiring manager said: “I believe in working to live, not living to work.” For as long as I worked for her, she lived by this. She was supportive to her team in this philosophy in a corporate environment that didn’t always agree with her on that thought. Despite this awesome environment, I still found myself living to work.
In my years of working in large organizations, as a leader in the US Army and then again in corporate America, I observed three reasons we feel this “all I do is work” feeling:
- Society tells us this is the right thing to do, everyone else is so we follow along.
- We agree to focus on work temporarily for a big project or busy time then…it never ends and becomes routine.
- We never saw a different way: this was what our parents or mentors did, what we perceived was right and we followed the example of those we admired and loved.
All three impacted my life. All three shaped the definition of success I pursued which was aligned primarily around a solid career. If it enabled some cool stuff in the rest of my life that was great – I saw it as a bonus.
If this is you, you can shift this.
One day I decided to listen to that calling from within asking for “more”. Not knowing what “more” was for me, I engaged a life coach who helped me figure it out. I moved away from living to work and having a life that had a successful career to living a successful life where I have a job I love. I feel the fullness of a lifestyle that supports my continued experience in this world – the experience I get to create anew each day.
How I shifted it:
- Engaging help – I got mine from a life coach, like me.
- Being open to possibilities and willing to change somethings in my life.
- Acknowledging that the life I was living wasn’t my dream life and taking the time to develop the picture of what I wanted.
- Taking immediate action to start living that life I wanted.
- Continuing to act, even when it was hard.
You can do this too. Are you ready to move beyond the complaint?
Start now. If you need help, apply for my lackluster to limitless energizer session and we will spend an hour on your plan.
Hi, I am Jennifer Murphy. I am a certified personal and executive coach ruthlessly focused on helping people live awesome lives – the ones that include work, but aren’t entirely work. I spent a large chunk of my life pursuing other people’s ideas of success and while those experiences were sublime in some cases, they weren’t the “more” I was seeking and I just never felt full. In 2011, I made the commitment to live life on my terms and everything changed. The life I love today was created.