It is official. I am stuck in an endless monologue. Some people call it Groundhog Day. But I am content with an ‘endless monologue’.
Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Seven days a week.
Even the discipline of protecting holidays has fallen by the wayside. I am disappointed and angry with myself for sacrificing my holiday for work reasons. While I’m committed to my job, reflections on the last month reinforce that I resent the expectation that I am ‘always available’.
Because I am committed, and typically put work first, I appreciate I have blurred the lines. For many years, I have forced colleagues and staff members to take periodic holidays. It is essential to ensure a healthy productive workforce. Working week-in-week-out isn’t healthy. The research and evidence prove it.
It’s hypocritical when working in healthcare and you don’t even protect your own space from work. I have previously dipped in and out of work while on holiday. It’s been on my terms. Partly to reduce the intensity of the first day back at work. But the pendulum has moved from choice to expect.
Fundamentally, I have created and accepted the position. I take responsibility that I have become stuck. That I have fallen into this monologue. Hit the brick wall.
Solution, not frustration
One of my mantras at the moment is the solution, not frustration.
I get frustrated. Often. Too often. My expectations are high. As an over-functioner, I am constantly pushing myself. Expecting more. Then getting frustrated when I don’t achieve what I set out to do.
I remind myself that I am doing my best. In fact, I’m doing a damn good job. But I never think it is enough. I’m not convinced others think I’m doing a good job either. That’s their problem, not mine. As I expressed in It Takes Time I need to work on my frustrations and park the constant prodding from others.
Understanding why I get so frustrated isn’t simple. But it’s a start. Every thought, action, emotion and reaction is helping me learn more about myself.
Competitiveness is a factor. Too much emphasis on winning. Not a surprise given that most of my career has been focused on sales or driving income. Being top of the sales league. Beating last year’s income targets. Delivering budgets.
But why? What is it that I am trying to beat? Why is it always a competition?
I believe part of this is just my make up. I was hugely involved in sport at school. I played football, rugby, cricket and hockey throughout my school life at a competitive level. Academically I felt pressure to deliver results too. Every pupil is graded and placed in different ‘sets’. Teachers continually pushed me to do my best, but equally demonstrated disappointment that I wasn’t working at the highest level.
This focus on competition, or to constantly do better, isn’t healthy for me. I believe this drives my frustration. Frustration with myself and that of others. It drives my impatience and escalates my anxiety around the fear of failure. I’m on a roundabout. Similar to those at the fairground. I feel I’m sitting on a carousel horse, going round and round, up and down. Occasionally, it stops. Pauses. And off we go again.
I need to find a solution because I know my frustrations boil over. At work, I try to find solutions to resolve challenges, work better, do and achieve more. But I need to do more outside work.
Commit to change
I’m getting off the fairground ride. As it’s not fun to be on the roundabout.
It’s my responsibility to get off the ride and force the change. Given I’ve created and accepted the position I am in, I am the only person who can make this change. I’m committed to this change.
The culture I’ve created isn’t fun anymore. The expectations set by myself and others, are simply unachievable and trigger my frustrations. It pushes my anxiety about the fear of failure sky-high. Enough is never enough. It’s all psychological and it’s taken me a gear-shift to realise that.
I don’t want to live in a bubble that is all focused on material things. Striving for a better car. A better house. A larger wardrobe. A bigger bank balance. Building a pension pot.
After working for 30 plus years, it’s time for a change. I have an opportunity. And I’m going to grab it.
Getting a return on happiness is more important to me. Minimalising my life and focusing on simpler things is incredibly appealing. As corny as it sounds, I’m looking for a simpler life. Admittedly it’s taken a long time to realise it, but I’ve got there in the end.
It’s not going to be easy, but if I commit the same to live a simpler life as I have in my career, I’m going to smash it.
Incredibly, I’ve no fear about moving to Portugal.
Bring it on.
Never ending stairs picture by kind permission of Luca Bravo
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