Feeling Stuck? Try Striving Less and Serving More
Do you sometimes struggle with keeping your mojo running at top speed? Are you a high achiever who thrives on running circles around “normal” people and their normal productivity? Do you get a thrill out of maximizing every hour of the day? Is accomplishment one of your superpowers?
If you relate to any of the above, you are a member of my tribe and I’m a member of yours. We are competitive to a fault sometimes, raising the standards and the bar that we set for ourselves so high that even a 7’ pro basketball player couldn’t reach it. I can get such an energy rush out of the “doing” in my day. I secretly love it when people comment on this superpower of mine, even though they are actually unimpressed. And when they challenge me, telling me it’s unsustainable as I age and that I must slow down, it’s like a dare that makes me salivate. I feel like the greyhound staring at the bunny and waiting for the gate to open. Even as I write this, I sit taller and feel myself smiling. I’m ready to rock-and-roll!
The problem is that occasionally, I lose my mojo. I don’t know what happens to it. I wake up and have the typical insane list rolling through my head of all that lies ahead in the day. All the possibilities, all the goals that are clamoring for my attention, all the tasks that are waiting to distract me. And yet, it’s like some clouds rolled in overnight and are stifling my superpower…my mojo.
When these cloudy days appear, seemingly out of nowhere, I react by trying harder. “Doing” faster. Running to get ahead of…whatever it is that is trying to slow me down. Grabbing coffee and opening the laptop before my eyes are fully open, I’ll MAKE something happen and my force of WILL, will overpower these clouds. Now when you think about the fastest way to dissipate clouds, you don’t’ think of the wind, you think of the sun. My reaction is like the wind trying to blow away the clouds when the sun is trying to get my attention and is patiently waiting to melt away the clouds. It’s patiently waiting for me to slow down so that I can refill my energy tanks and my own source of creativity and doing what matters, which is service.
When distractions or tasking tip the scales of purposeful productivity, my batteries start to run low. Meaningful conversations, meaningful connections, purposeful actions serve as a battery charger for my soul. Regardless of which type of work I am doing or which roles in my life I am playing, when I start striving to achieve, accomplish, win, finish first, look good, etc., I lose sight of my own fuel source. And when I lose sight of that source, like losing the sight of the sun, I can get down on myself, down on others, down in general. That downward spiral of the mind can endanger our dreams, our vision, our higher purpose. And most importantly, it can endanger our potential from being realized.
The winter season and the holiday time of year naturally bring with it an invitation to slow down. There is a natural cycle that wants to be honored and resistance to the cycles of nature can actually impede our growth. There is a peacefulness that is available through surrender and letting go. The word surrender is not even in the vocabulary of many high achievers, like me. But when circumstances of life force our surrender and our letting go of control and holding so tightly to our plans, a big surprise is revealed. The surprise is an overwhelming sense of peace that is available for us when we just slow down and loosen our grip of striving.
One way to loosen that grip, is to shift our focus to service. How can I serve today? Who can I serve today? How can I serve my own highest self today?
When action is fueled by service, and not by accomplishment, we can simultaneously recharge while we are moving. If I go to the gym because I feel lousy about all the pie I ate on Thanksgiving, I’m feeding the clouds inside myself. If I go to the gym to nourish the vessel of my body, I am drawing on the sun source inside myself, which is expansive. If I panic about spending and the holidays and choose not to look at the bank account, I feel fear. If I spend an hour consciously creating a spending plan for the month with clear intentions and conversations about holiday spending, I feel empowered. If I focus on my own disappointment Monday morning over things I didn’t accomplish over the weekend (when I thought I would “catch up”), I try to start checking tasks off quickly and unconsciously to feel better. If I give myself 15 minutes of reflective time Monday morning to ponder the most purposeful actions I could take, I head out into the world centered with confidence.
We all have a higher purpose and we all have potential that must be expressed fully and authentically to shine our unique light in the world. One of the fastest ways out of the cloudiness is to shine your light in service of something greater. Service doesn’t have to be in opposition to achievement. Service doesn’t have to be grand. Service doesn’t have to take huge chunks of your time or money. Simply weave the spirit of service into all that you do and into all interactions today and see how the striving melts into respite.
Serve More…Strive Less…and Enjoy Your Journey!
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