I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down with other wellness professionals, social entrepreneurs, and artists of all sorts who appear to be living their dream life. The conversation is always the same. I say, “How are you doing with it all?” and they say, “Great, how could I complain? I’m living my dream." Then I say, “So how do you really feel?” and their smile gives way to something like this, “Ben, I can’t tell you how stressed I am. Everyone thinks I’m living this extraordinary life, and partly I am, but I’m also dying inside!”
So let's say you’ve transitioned (or are thinking about it) from a job to your calling, from a career path to following your dream. You’ve decided to follow your heart, your bliss, and do what you love. And what you find is that this perceived freedom of living from the heart has left you in chains; you're more stressed out, more exhausted, more anxious than you were in your previous career.
Your dream of living a complete life is a distant memory. Now you find yourself doing the things that you love, but you’re a ghost of who you thought you would be once you did. You have a flexible lifestyle, but your ability to be spontaneous and present is long gone.
These are the signs that you should switch careers and follow your bliss. But you’ve already done that, so now what? Well, maybe you’ve revealed that what you thought would make you happy was just an illusion. But what's more likely is you need to change how you do your work and the way in which you follow your dreams. So here are a few tips from one spiritual entrepreneur to another, tips to help you find joy in the process by creating a healthier relationship with each hour of the day.
1. Create boundaries.
Don’t open up your computer or check your email until after breakfast, or until after you’ve gotten to the place where you'll do your work. Don’t do work after dinner or during meals. Keeping part of your days sacred will give you more freedom. Make a few of these small changes to start, slowly adding more as you get used to it, and you’ll find that by creating these boundaries you’ll actually have more time to work than ever before. Those sacred spaces you’ve created will be the juiciest moments throughout your day.
2. Schedule your days off.
We love our flexibility, but it ironically keeps us from being completely present in what we do for ourselves. Decide what days off you'll have each week and when your vacation time will be. You'll find you get more done in less time, and you’ll be more present during your free time. Your work will be fresh and full of life rather than forced and stagnant.
3. Find partnership.
One of the hardest things about being a spiritual entrepreneur is that there's so little money in it that we have to do it all ourselves. Writing every single moment of your life by yourself is heavy and exhausting, especially if it includes tasks you don’t enjoy. Figure out how to work with others, meet with others, talk with others, have someone tell you what to do, just once in a while. You'll find that even a little partnership will ease the weight off your back, making you a happier and more productive worker.
4. Eat well.
This is a no-brainer for a bunch of yogis, foodies, and generally aware people, but I can’t tell you how many people I know eat horribly and stop being active when the pressures of work take over. Eat healthier than ever when you get stressed. Your mind is your greatest tool to freedom, and when it's foggy and undernourished you'll never break the cycle.
5. Move more.
Instead of inefficiently jabbing at a project or task, go for a midday run or yoga practice when you start to slow down. Come back at your work with an excitement, rather than with anxiety.
Because it’s the best, but also because it will remind you of your powers of focus, of patience, and of trust. At first it might seem like you'll be losing time, but in the end it will help you find so much of your hidden powers of focus and attention that you'll get more done in less time.
7. Change it up.
This is where you get to experiment. If you're someone who works at home, try going to a dedicated workspace. If you're constantly in cafes, try going to a library or a work hub. If you work alone all the time, ask your friends to work with you. Maybe go on a little work retreat together. Do you really need Facebook? do you really need Twitter? Do you really need a cell phone? Do you really need to work seven days a week? Change it up.
The beauty of being a spiritual entrepreneur is that you're in control of what you do and how you work. If you’re not as happy as you thought you'd be living your dream, then doing more of everything the same way you’ve been doing it all along isn’t going to work, even if you’re successful. Reinventing your process will enliven your dream and enrich your life.
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