My kids are sleeping and I felt inspired to share a few things on my mind.
This has been a very wonderful and busy first quarter. I have been creating and running at least four programs. Watching people learn, grow, get stuck, get unstuck and blast forward into new businesses has been really invigorating.
Each day I talk to really interesting people who are doing amazing things in the world. It is exceptionally stimuluating and fun.
There is a lot going on.
And in the back of my mind, amidst 32 urgent tasks a day to keep the machine rolling, I hear whispers of a strong voice telling me there is a new body of work waiting to be born.
My soul is craving quiet. I want to walk in nature, savoring long stretches of time without anything to do in order to listen to this voice.
And the ideas bubbling up are:
- The distractions that Seth Godin talks about in his new book Linchpin. And how when we are so busy responding to messages and interacting and building relationships that our true work eludes us.
- The deeper purpose and meaning of my life. What am I meant to do? Why am I here?
- The concept of personal leadership I wrote about a few weeks ago. This feels big, like something that is rumbling deep in the consciousness of a lot of people. Many, many of us are scrambling to live up to an expectation designed for someone else.
- Environment design, a concept both Andrea Lee and Charlie Gilkey talk about. How do I need to design everything in my life (systems, patterns, support, workflow) so that I have the time to create a new body of work?
- How much easier it feels to focus on backward-looking metrics (how many people read that post? how many people joined that program?) instead of creating a new future.
I don’t have the any answers yet. I just felt like sharing my thoughts.
What’s on your mind?
Thanks for the thoughts, Pam. It’s refreshing to know that we’re not the only ones asking these questions!
I’ve told several people this today – I think adults need spring break like students do! I don’t know about you, but with the warmer weather coming, it feels like the world is full of possibilities and newness. I just want time to soak it all up, refresh and work on the things that really invigorate me. Just think of all the things we could do with a little more time…
That said, maybe you need a break to refocus and let your ideas surface. It’s amazing what a little R&R can do! Whatever happens, if anyone can figure it out, I’m sure you can!
I think you are experiencing growing pains Pam. You are doing amazing work and have joint ventures and partnerships that many would envy! While you have found great success in leveraging other resources through collaboration, maybe it’s time for you to run the Escape from Cubicle empire in a way that doesn’t require your every ounce of presence and energy? Maybe more products? Just a thought.
Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with wanting some calm and quiet in your life, when that time comes you’ll definitely cherish it. Thanks for sharing this moment with us…can’t wait to see what the new body of work is 🙂
Several folks I read regularly have written something like this in the past week or so.
That bit of reinforcement is giving me more courage to focus on my larger work and deeper relationships — and limit the superficial distractions.
I may even forget completely that I have a Twitter account, which has started to feel like a “should” to me (even though I mostly ignore it, it’s still in the back of my mind as something I’m “supposed” to be doing). Hey, that might free up time to reconnect face-to-face with “real world” friends I haven’t seen in a while. Or just to take a long walk in the woods.
And I think I’ll give myself the gift of a real retreat, something I’ve been denying myself in my busy-ness but actually would be the best possible use of my time. I know that taking time for awareness makes the action that follows more energized, more bold, and more truly me.
Thanks for the boost, Pam.
I also feel like sometimes I get so wrapped up in doing little everyday management things that my real work eludes me: I end up doing more business than making art. It’s a funny thing, and sometimes it is easier to hide in the business than to go boldly forward with new projects. I also crave silence and space to think about new things. I hope to make room for some this weekend.
“A new body of work waiting to be born.” I can really resonate with that message! It’s like we hear this deep rumbling in our heart and intuition, but we can’t quite hear the words. I’ll be excited to hear how you find the time for your quiet time and your walks in nature, Pamela.
Beautiful. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you, for all of us. It feels like a very fertile time.
I just returned from a week visiting family in Tucson and not a lot of email/Twitter. Something began bubbling up – something emerging for me around hearing and telling stories, mine and others. I don’t know what’s coming yet, so I can really relate to your musings.
It’s so hard to heed the call of the internal voice and to try turning off all of the noise. Naomi (IttyBiz) just wrote about the unsustainable nature of all these demands on our time and attention in our new Social Media Universe. Like we’re at a 24-hour cocktail party. It’s fun, but exhausting. Time to step out of the party for some fresh air and some real life.
This post and the comments were very thought-provoking for me around the concept of life’s purpose. It almost seems that purpose is a label that people use to sum up the great works of one’s life. But it doesn’t seem fair or accurate because people have many purposes in their lives–maybe one is to be a great mother, a caretaker for others, and a champion for the rights of the homeless. But you won’t know all that until that person is at the end of their life. The label of “purpose” seems so limiting. How do you handle purpose while you are in the midst of living? My thought is that you can find your purpose in the moment by making sure that you stay true to your own values and listen to your gut while you do whatever it is that you are doing. When you look back on what you have done, then you can actually label your purpose for that time. So maybe stressing about finding your purpose before you do anything isn’t going to serve you. Thank you for letting me put that into words. It feels really good!
Nice post Pamela. Sometimes I’ll write posts on my blog to say what’s on my mind. Lately, I went through some writer’s block on what to write about. After thinking about it for about 5 hours, I took a break and went to go take a shower. An idea of writing on my writer’s block came up and I wrote about it in my blog. Sometimes when we go outside or just take a break from what we are doing, ideas just naturally come to us. What’s on my mind is trying to develop good ideas for the next month so I can develop a steady and consistent flow of writing.
Actually, been reading your book and on the part about ‘getting out of our mental ghetto.’ I am trapped in ‘cubicle nation’ and have been thinking a lot about the questions you pose but many others as well.
Perhaps the most important concept is the need to initiate the action in order to achieve my desired future state. Working 60 hours a week in a comfortable corporate job and great title makes it so hard.
So just thinking about ways to continue to initiate the action and not being complacent or passive.
Lately I have been amused by Andy Jetkins Video Boss, he creates some amazing videos.
Mmm, the seasons of creating – the excitement and energy of execution, the new creation waiting in the wings, ebb and flow. Each new creation calling for its own way to come into the world, wanting its own skill set, environment, rhythm. It’s so fascinating, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what you create next! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Very interesting. I think the best thing to come out from asking those questions is NOT the answers…but the experience of reflection, of looking inside yourself to discover who you truly are…what’s important to you and how you bless the world with all that you’ve got.
I can definitely relate to what you’re talking about. Every new client site I build leads to an absolute torrent of emails going back and forth. During the week where the site goes live, my waking hours are spend tweaking things, fixing things, and addressing a plethora of concerns. Coupled with how much I travel (~40 hours a month),it’s easy to lose a month or so at a time without really feeling like it.
Taking a step back to evaluate the effectiveness of our approaches before lifting off again is something we can (should) all do :o)
Pretend I know how to write HTML, please…
Pam, welcome to Life!
I believe that what you have expressed here is indeed the hero’s journey that those of us that are aware of it, are trying to live with integrity.
As you ask these questions, you grow. As you grow, you inspire others. Regardless of how public your walk is, as you walk in that purpose, you are helping all of mankind live their own purpose.
I am encouraged that as overwhelm swells around you, you hear the clarion call of your soul.
In case no one has bothered to tell you, thank you for being awesome. Thank you for listening to your heart. Thank you for doing your life work. It is important to you and to the rest of the world. Thank you.
I’ve been thinking about all these things a good deal lately. I’m concluding that we all, secretly, in our hearts, long to be heroes. We want to work and labor and get by, but at the end of the day, we also want to know that others respect us as good people, and we know that in order to earn that respect we have to behave in a certain way. For some of us – fewer than you’d hope – we’re able to find work that lets us behave in that way. We’re contributing something. We’re good people.
I think the people who don’t manage to make this heroic self the person who goes to work every day get exhausted, discouraged, beat down by how many hours go into something that isn’t good. It’s not that their work is bad. It’s just that it isn’t actively good. They can’t go home at the end of the day and say, “I did something good today.” And that’s sad. I think we should all, no matter what we do for a living, be able to say that. That’s what I kept thinking throughout reading Linchpin. Seems to me that linchpins are the people who found something in their work that let them go home at the end of the day proud of themselves, feeling like heroes.
One of the most difficult things is that question you asked – what’s my greater purpose here? I think if you know that, finding something in your work that answers that purpose is easy. I think most of us could find some way to shape our work to the purpose if we knew what the purpose was. Everyone says “Do what you love”, but I think the real quest is to do what you believe in. Which means you have to think, long and hard, about what you believe in. When you find that, I think you have your purpose, no?
Caught this on Twitter and it struck a chord with a good many things I’ve been working through myself. I’m glad I saw it. Thank you, for thinking aloud.
“And how when we are so busy responding to messages and interacting and building relationships that our true work alludes us. ”
Amen, Pam. This continues to be my struggle. I guess I’ll have to dig up Seth’s book and see what he has to say.
An eternal trap. Drucker wrote about it (he used the word “operating”, as distinct from focusing on contribution) probably in THE EFFECTIVE EXECUTIVE. It is really hard to avoid, because “operating” is responding to what’s right in front of us. It’s what we know how to do, and we do it well.
Finding our “true work” takes real work: self-discipline, ruthlessly cutting stuff out if it doesn’t contribute but just keeps the wheels moving. Sometimes my own sense of importance causes me to keep my fingers in stuff I can just let go of.
And our true work doesn’t elude us; we are unindicted co-conspirators because we don’t look for it; we are willing prisoners of the known