Archive for the ‘self-discipline’ Category
When I read Sue Sullivan’s blog post on going at your own natural pace, I knew I had to share it with you. There is SO much in our contemporary lives that is encouraging us to hurry and do more, it can be really challenging to step outside that and discover for ourselves what our best rhythm is. That’s why listening to voices that are encouraging us to slow down and go at our own pace are so essential.
We are blessed live in a rich time with so many things to learn, opportunities, places to see, things to do and as artists, of course, an unlimited amount of works we can potentially make. It is up to us to sift through our priorities and to find the pace that works best for our bodies, our mental health and our spiritual connection.
There is never a need to rush.
Living At Your Own Natural Pace
by Sue Sullivan
I believe we each have our own natural pace. Some of us are fast, some slow, and some in between. My mom used to tell me I was slow, and I was. I loved to dig deep and savor things, so I hated rushing. As an adult, I thought you had to be fast in order to be successful, so I tried to increase my pace. I ended up getting sick over and over again from pushing myself too hard.
Since going faster didn’t work, I devised ways to become more effective in what I did. In fact, at one job, the boss told me I got more done than anyone else that had ever held that position. I wasn’t working faster. I actually worked less hours than a lot of my predecessors. Instead, I was focused on being most effective. Since then, I’ve chosen jobs that value effectiveness over how much you got done. I chose jobs that didn’t require me to work at a fast pace.
A few years ago. I hired a life coach who told me that when people go at their natural pace, they are most successful. I resonated with the idea. Even though I had changed my focus to being effective and not fast, there were still times I pushed myself to go faster. I’d been bombarded with society’s message that doing things faster and getting more done is the key to success. It was a hard belief to let go of.
But looking back on my life, I’ve noticed that when I stayed within my natural pace, I have actually been more successful and happier and healthier. At one time, I got involved with volunteer work as a citizen scientist. The real scientists taught us how to recognize frog calls in the area where I lived. We were to go out 3 nights and monitor how many of the different kinds frogs were in a certain area. When I volunteered, I didn’t realize that you couldn’t just go out any night. I had planned to do my volunteer work on weekends so I could sleep in the next day. It wasn’t until I finished the training that I found out I had to do my monitoring on a night when it had just rained. It turned out, that season there was only one weekend night that fit that criteria.
I wasn’t willing to stay out late on a work night, so I only monitored the frogs for that one weekend night. At the end of the season, the scientists asked for volunteers to input the data. I decided to do it. The data entry was done at a local Audubon Society office. As we entered the data, I talked about the project and my love of frogs. They got a kick out of my enthusiasm. I ended up being in a feature article in the National Audubon Magazine. The first half of the article was about me and my experience, and they did a two-thirds page photo of me in my rain gear. I was totally honest, letting them know I had only done a third of the monitoring.
It takes a lot of courage to trust that living at your own natural pace will actually give you better results. I still find myself starting to rush. Then I remind myself to slow down and get into my groove. So for those of you fast people, don’t feel pressured to slow to an unnatural pace just because someone told you it’s healthier or more spiritual.
Go at your own natural pace. Look honestly at yourself and see what pace makes your feel most fulfilled. And don’t pick a pace rigidly. We’re dynamic people. We may have an overall pace, but we may want to slow down or speed up temporarily. I know there are times I dig zooming around, but if I tried to go at that pace all the time, I’d burn out.
Sue Sullivan has been actively involved in personal development for nearly 30 years. She used to go between the extremes with her goals, getting all psyched and working diligently on them, then burning out and crashing. She’d let go completely, gradually recovering to enjoy life again. Yet she’d be disappointed in not accomplishing those things she truly wanted. So she’d start back on the goal-oriented cycle again. She realized she needed to find a more sustainable way to achieve—a way she enjoyed and a way that felt natural. So she developed a system of working with goals that does just that. She teaches this system in her course “Surfing Your Enthusiasm.” You can read her blog at http://surfingyourenthusiasm.com/blog/.
A lot of people say to me, “You meditate every day? You’re so self-disciplined!”
I’ll let you in on a secret. It has nothing to do with self-discipline and everything to do with self-love.
Self-discipline is what I did in college. I kept to a rigorous schedule of study and exercise, rising at dawn to go running, attending classes all day, participating in various activist groups in the afternoon and hitting the library until late at night.
Inevitably this self-discipline would backfire. One day, I would realize I was completely sick and bored of my rigid running routine and I just couldn’t do it anymore. Berating myself or feeling bad about it wouldn’t motivate me, either. Enough was enough. I was sick of running. So I switched to swimming and started the cycle all over again, putting myself on another rigid schedule.
Then, I would get sick of swimming.
And have to find another form of exercise. And the cycle would repeat.
Now, I have an exercise routine that is based in joy and self-love. I love to hike alone or with friends, I love to dance, I love to go to my early morning yoga class. I love going to pilates classes and being around all the other students, I love taking walks with my husband. (Did I mention I LOVE to dance?)
And these days I know myself better than I did when in college. I know that need a lot of variety so I switch what for exercise I do regularly.
Have been berating yourself or comparing yourself with others because you are not more “self-disciplined”? What is the underlying motivation for wanting to do this activity? Can you find the love in it?