“I don’t have the time and energy,” is the standard answer when I ask someone why they don’t focus on their passion more. It seems to be everybody’s story, including my own at times. It’s so common that we have stopped wondering about it.
Really, when you stop to think, it’s so ridiculous it borders on the insane: There’s something which lights you up, something you love so much it makes you forget time. And instead of making it the centre of your life, you slave away at a job, look after everyone else before thinking of yourself, and buy things you don’t need. After all, everyone else does the same thing, right? It’s just how our world works!
Well, no. Just because something is common, or accepted by a majority of people, it’s not necessarily the only way. Breaking out simply requires a bit of out-of-the-box thinking and the willingness to be seen as, well, “weird” by some of your contemporaries.
But time isn’t even the only issue; having the energy and headspace is almost as important. Almost everyone I start working with as a Coach, tells me that they’re so tired after a day in the office, or doing housework and chauffeuring the kids, they can’t possibly contemplate pursuing a passion.
In the following, I’ll give you strategies to tackle both issues. Implemented consistently, they’ll create a dramatic shift towards a life you’ll love every minute of.
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Time and energy crisis
Have you noticed how everyone seems to be tired all the time? It’s an issue of epidemic proportions. This can make it additionally difficult to find the time and energy for your passion. In order to tackle it, you need to address both the physical and the mental aspects of tiredness. I suggest you consider the following steps.
- It seems obvious, but ask yourself if you’re getting enough sleep. You may enjoy you late-night Netflix sessions, but wouldn’t you enjoy more having the energy to do what truly lights you up? Aim for at least 7-8 hours a night.
- Try and establish a regular sleeping routine for a few weeks. In other words, always sleep at the same time and get up at the same time, even at weekends.
- Take naps if you can. Anything between 10 and 40 minutes is refreshing.
- Get off the computer and off your phone for at least two hours before bedtime. Don’t watch TV either. Read, write, have a conversation with your loved one or meditate.
- If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking a warm foot bath before bed. Four or five inches (10-12cm) of warm water in your bath tub are enough. Soak your feet and ankles for a few minutes and then go to bed immediately.
- Establish a ritual of transition from your workplace (or time with your kids) to your home or free time. It can be something simple, like having a cup of tea or meditating for 10 minutes. Done regularly, this will help you leave the rest of your day behind and “arrive” in your own mind space.
- Ever been almost too tired to go to a party, and then you met someone interesting there and found yourself chatting half the night? That’s because energy follows engagement. If you’re “into” something, you’ll automatically feel energetic. Use this insight by scheduling small periods of pursuing your passion. 20 minutes will do for a start. Let this inspire and fuel you.
- Move. I can’t stress this enough. Actually, you could combine movement with your transition ritual suggested above: Take a walk after work, or if the weather is bad, dance to your favourite song or do 10 minutes of yoga at home. It can be the hardest thing to kick yourself to doing this, but I guarantee you’ll feel more energetic afterwards.
What’s your investment?
The main difference between succeding at change versus slipping back into normal mode, is your investment. I don’t necessarily mean money, although it does help (one of the reasons Coaching is so successful is that once you’ve forked over the cash, you’re more likely to stick with it). You can invest in coaching, training or professional equipment. But time and energy are just as important.
Determinedly freeing up time shows your commitment. It’s why I’m always on about prioritising passion! It’s not enough to make some time on a Friday evening; if you’re serious about being joyful, do it first thing on a Monday morning. Work the rest of your life around your passion – yes, it’s possible, I see it again and again with my clients – and watch how you suddenly, magically have time for everything.
Commit to it, schedule it, and stick with it. Life’s too short not to do what lights you up.