Yvonne empowers people who are seeking their passion and zest to dig in and play with the mysteries of their own life.
What the hell am I doing with my life??
This is a something I have stated many times.
I have been a student, an instructor, an archaeologist, a writer, a researcher, a facilitator, a project manager, an artist, an actor, a coach, a podcast creator, and a physical anthropologist. But, more to the point, I still am ALL of these things. I am doing all of this with my life. And I am seeking more things to do too.
Coming to this realization was a long journey of digging through some deep and sometimes mucky and serious dung. Our society implies that we need to be one thing; that we need to be labeled. And we are heavily criticised if are not label-able. However, I’ve found that the only way “What the hell am I doing with my life?” can be answered is with “whatever makes you happy.” And this often happens by defying labels. Or, by embracing many, many labels.
Too often we push aside happiness with ‘shoulds’ and ‘ought-tos’, by forcing ourselves into prescribed boxes often determined or implied by others.
“It’s better to have a secure job than to be happy.”
“I am a mother: I need to sacrifice my life and happiness for my children’s safety and happiness.”
“Happiness is a luxury; I need a job, home, and family to survive.”
The problem with this mindset is that one day you suddenly find that life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be: you’re at a job you hate, you resent your family, you want to run away to Thailand and live on the beach. That’s because you’ve denied yourself and your own happiness.
I get it. Really.
I lived in a sea of insecurity most of my life. I denied my needs and desires because I wanted a job, more money, to be liked or respected. Then (likely a gradual transition) I found that life just didn’t have any meaning any more. I was my job, I was my output, I was who others thought I was (or, what I thought they thought of me). I also thought happiness was a luxury. I was living through the external. And that’s when I asked myself: who the hell am I?
I had lost track of my internal. I had lost track of who I am to myself. I had lost track of who I am when I am just being me.
I’ve seen this in academia. I’ve seen this with students. Heck, I see this everywhere in everyday life. To me, this disconnection with self is the quintessential mid-life crisis. Only now, 20-somethings are experiencing this along with +40 year olds.
I’m not through my own mid-life crisis / disconnection from myself and I don’t expect to be for a while; however, I have done some tough work to get back on the path to figuring out who I am and who I am to me.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that happiness isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. I need to seek out those things that make me happy or give me good energy. I follow the buzz. What you are interested in or makes you happy is a direct reflection of who you truly are. This is why I now embrace all of the labels I cite above, and I’m actively searching to find more!
Watch this short video conversation between my friend, Christa Bedwin, and me as we talk about finding our happiness.
If you’re resonating with my story, or find yourself in spot where you’ve lost your passion or zest for life, reach out. I might be able to lend you some support. This is a journey and sometimes we need a little help along the way.
Dive in and be inspired:
Scott Dinsmore, Ted Talk: How to Find Work You Love
Maggie Berg & Barbara Seeber: The Slow Professor
Robert Holden: Authentic Success
Alexander Clark & Bailey Sousa: How to be a Happy Academic
Jonathan Thon, in University Affairs: The Benefits of Hiring an Executive Coach
Leslie McDaniel, Coach: Vision Clarity Course
Shawn Anchor, Ted Talk: The Happy Secret to Better Work
Sir Ken Robinson, Ted Talk: Do Schools Kill Creativity?
Barbara Sher: Refuse to Choose!
Joan Borysenko: Fried: Why You Burn Out and How to Revive
University of Alberta What the Job podcast: Workplace Burnout with Michelle Inness