I wonder if you’re like me and have a whole lot of things you’ve bought for different interests that have captured your attention for a period … and then suddenly you realise you haven’t touched them in years? Some of them I look at and realise that by the time I got the ‘thing’ home I had already moved on.
- I have the racing kite that I took to the beach with me and tried out for the first time. The wind was a little stronger than possibly was suitable for a beginner … having nearly killed someone when the kite swooped straight into the sand and breaking the sail I’ve never used it again. It’s in my storage unit. It’s moved with me 8 times in the 12 years I’ve owned it … and it still needs fixing 😉
- Then there are my colouring books … I loved those for at least 6 months. And I’ll get back to them ‘one day’.
- Or the hammock I bought when I was in Panama in 2001 that has yet to see the light of day.
- My guitar is gathering dust in the corner of my bedroom.
- There are the memorial photo albums from my trip through SW US in 2001 that I promise I’ll do every winter …
- Oh and the light shade for the entrance way that is on the bottom shelf in the living room.
- There’s more … it is quite a list!
Does this mean I never actually do anything or complete anything?
No, of course this is untrue. There are many things that I have completed, I have experienced huge amounts of activities. Different ones, frequently. However, so often we focus on what we don’t have or haven’t completed rather than on what we DO have and what we have DONE. And this leads to feeling inadequate. As if we’re somehow failures. And it gets worse if we start comparing ourselves to others out there … the passion-flames or the dedicated stalwarts of society.
And so my new challenge to you is to take 10 minutes out and grab a large piece of paper and note down the following:
- The topics I’ve read about, studied, researched
- The active things I’ve participated in, tried, exercised through
- The creative moments where I’ve written, drawn, scultped, played
- The adventures where I’ve explored, had a go, travelled, connected
- The jobs I’ve had and all the skills these have given me
And then consider this question … what DO I finish regularly?
For example, I will always complete preparing, cooking and eating dinner parties that I am hosting; any novel I decide to read; watching movies I’ve chosen; qualifications in people science; external client led projects; visual creations and so much more. When I have a new trip or adventure planned I will make sure that tickets, accommodation, transport and key activities are organised ahead of time. Actually there is quite a lot in my life that I complete. So that statement ‘I never complete anything’ is totally untrue.
What I (and those in my life) sometimes struggle with is knowing how long something is going to retain my interest. How far I am going to stay energised and intrigued by my latest ‘project’ / ‘learnings’.
And we are learning to stop being precious about this too. Because I have done some hovering over my life and looked at my time / commitment and interest retention patterns. And it turns out that for most aspects of my life I have a 6 month to 2 year duration. Most of my jobs have been for 2 years. The only one that was longer was when I was a management consultant – which is designed to fit within my duration requirements. The shortest client project I did was 4 weeks, the longest was 2 years. Perfect.
And what this means is that now when I’m choosing to pursue a new interest or new career … rather than putting the pressure on myself that ‘this time it *must* be a LONG time’ I ask myself … what can I see myself doing for the next 12 months? How about the next two years? And that is all. Because I know that within the next 12-18 months my self and my world will evolve and new opportunities will be in front of me. I also know that for the time that I am focused on my current choices and interests I will bring great energy and wide-ranging perspectives to the projects I’m pursuing.
So, when you hover over your life journey and interest patterns thus far what does this reveal to you about your durations? And when you know that about yourself and take the pressure off that something *must* be a long commitment … instead stating to yourself: What do I want to achieve in the next ‘#x’ months? What job/career am I interested in for the next ‘#x’ years?
How does that feel for you? I’m curious to see what you share with us.