Some days ago, a question popped into my head when I woke up : “And now.. what do I do?”. I think that this is the first time it happened to me for the last 15 years. I was a little confused obviously, but the question was still there. To give some more context to the story, I am Antoine, French guy, 44 years old, half life living in Spain, a lovely wife, two kids, and Vera, my lovely dog and I just woke up after 10 years of crazy work life. Developer, entrepreneur, manager, team leader... a little of everything with big doses of stress, very hard work, burnout, and today everything seems to have been left behind.
I cannot say that it happened from one day to another, it would not be true, but this new feeling of “everything is over” is completely new. The process was long, maybe too long, but some steps were really necessary to reach the final decision on breaking the circle. The worst of all is that my body was screaming for this for a long period, but my mind needed some stages to assume it completely. It was not an easy period, leaving behind my company where I had spent most of my time and energy during all these years, being deeply part of my life path and history.
The “why” does not matter too much here, hard working life and burnout are sadly something extremely common for many workers’ lives of our century. What I would like to share in this post, are some thoughts, ideas and concepts that I was lucky to discover people nearby who help me a lot in this decision-making process.
Comfort zone is not always our happiness zone
Security zone, comfort zone, the concepts are the same. The point is, making a breaking change in our lives, usually could impose us and even more could terrify us.
And even though our day by day is a complete nightmare, without happiness, it could seem to be safer just to stay here instead of making changes, because we know perfectly where we are and we don't have to face the incertancy.
But with time, it happens that we build our habits around this treacherous comfort zone like walls around our own prison. And habits are definitely hard to break and change.
Also, blinded inside these walls, it is almost impossible to see the opportunities and alternative life outdoors. So, the decision needs to be made, we can't pretend to visualize in perfection and guarantee our future before that. We need to be already on the other side, completely aware, to get in a real and big picture of our possibilities for the future. Are our duties really our duties
Very true in my case, I growed up in an environment where work, sacrifice and duty were the center of our influences. Not necessarily consciously, but my father was, and still is, an extremely hard worker, always dedicated to his duties, with all my mother's support. This is my educacion model, and it took such a long time for me to understand that. However, It explains to me why I'm usually so insistent on any kind of project I undertake, without any limit at all. I'm just reproducing what I know, the same model again and again, it is on my DNA.
The point here is that sometimes we drive ourselves in impossible situations, imposing more and more obligations and duties that we really think that we should do. However, the questions are: is that really what we want? What are we supposed to do? What are we able to do? and even worse, is that really what our people are expected from us?
Be in the worst to get in in the better
If everything is perfect in the most perfect world, it’s obviously hard to get motivated on making decisive breaking decisions. Explained in other words, being in a difficult or uncomfortable situation could be a key state to help us trigger decisions. There is a quite visual model "4 rooms of change" which I really like and shows perfectly the concept:
On the top of the circle, we are in a stable and comfortable place, this is the best case and there is nothing to be worried about. On the other hand, down the circle, we have an unstable situation, with a lot of doubts and uncertainties.
The model describes how we follow the circle, again and again, in reverse order of a clock, every time we jump from one good situation to another through our decision.
First we are on the top, happy and healthy, but something happens which pushes us downhill on the left side, and we get down on the less relaxed situation with worries and uncertainty, but as a result of that, we make a decision, we break the rule and we switch to the right side of the model. From here, we start climbing up a learning and discovering curve which brings us again to a good place, hopefully much better than the previous one, and the circle can start again.
Take into account that this model can apply for big decisions and change, but curiously works as well with small and short changes.
What is yours is yours
When we decide to make an important change in our lives, an annoying feeling of losing something can emerge. Losing what we built, what we won during all this time. It is even possible that our environment will reinforce these ideas.
However, It's completely wrong, the past will never change for whatever we decide today or tomorrow. All our success, what we deserved, our experiences, our skills and our capacities stay with us, and we will bring them wherever we go. It sounds very simple and common sense, but it is strongly true and it helps to be well conscious of it .
Take only the good words
Before making an important decision, we usually talk with the people who are important for us, this is at least my way to do it.
We expect feedback, guidelines and advice from them, and it’s perfectly ok and very helpful. However, I also think that we must be extremely careful with what we receive from outside. Our life is only ours, nobody can live it for or feel it for us. So, what we receive are only interpretations and opinions, nobody can know how our future is composed, and sometimes it can also happen that unconscious' interests and conditions could be mixed on these opinions.
Conclusion, let's just keep what makes us feel great and motivated. Usually we already know in advance what we will decide, we just need some right words from the right person to get what we have inside out.
Release, Let Go, Surrender to the Flow
The last one, and maybe my favorite,coming from someone I really admire. It could sound a little neo-shamanic-yogui practice, but this is, I really believe it, a wonderful way to think and get happiness in our day by day, just enjoying what we have in the exact moment we have it, and just let it go in order to actually “go” somewhere.
“what resists - persists”, meaning that whatever we are resisting in life, will also persist in our lives. That is the very nature of how the mind works. So letting go, and follow the flow.
And now what do I do?
It doesn’t really matter, the key is that the decision is already made and I’m already on the other side. From here everything is adventure, discovery and new bases. Foundations build on our own experiences, conditions and wishes, exciting...