Work is often spoken like a four letter word, as if it implies something bad, difficult, or even something one would be wise to avoid. For years I have marveled at people’s reactions to “working” and wondered how that kind of belief or interpretation was developed or conditioned.
Perhaps it is because our culture displays such a positive image of wealthy, famous people at leisure, or from the abuses suffered by so many factories or farm workers, or maybe both and even more ways I have yet to consider. Additionally, as a psychologist I understand so many people suffer with psychological limitations that get in the way of their desire or ability to work, and for that I am even more sad-yet motivated to assist in helping, inspiring others in overcoming the obstacles that impede them.
Whether you have a positive relationship with work or not, there are always challenges that arise both within the individual, the environment, or the task or job itself. This week I want to offer some things to explore at work that have been incredibly helpful to me recently in examining my many “work” roles.
As the image above reads, “You cannot spell CHAlleNGE without CHANGE and this is both very true and WISE. So, an invitation to look at ways you may be experiencing a challenge at work, in work, or in a project or role. Beware, or BE AWARE that as you examine the challenge you may see the opportunity or the need for CHANGE.
Some challenges at work that may show up WITHIN us,
- Resistance to starting or doing something
- Lack of desire or motivation
- Lack of clarity or direction
- Lack of skill or ability and training
- Internal conflicts
- Emotions like fear, anger, and shame
Some challenges that may show up in the environment or situation,
- Lack of resources or reinforcement
- Lack of support
- Lack of time or too many demands
- Lack of clarity
- Conflicts with others
- Conflicts with objectives
This is by no means an exhaustive list, yet a place to simply start and examine any challenges you have at work, with your work, or in any of your projects that require sustained effort. Just pick one fo this exercise!
My personal example of “challenge” right now is a conflict with others, so applying mindfulness and bringing the attitudes of mindful living (listed in last weeks blog) has been a helpful way to examine the conflicts I am having at work, An important part of this process is shining the light within to BE AWARE. So, grab a journal or some paper/ tablet, then write out your challenge and begin this inquiry:
Step 1 What am I Believing? Thinking? Assuming?
Step 2 What am I Saying? Doing? Feeling? Or NOT Saying?
Step 3 What is the problem I perceive? The threat? The danger? The goal?
Step 4 Dig deeper and do the work to explore all the branches that stem from the stated challenge. Take your time and resist jumping to problem solving, fixing, or avoiding. Stay with it and keep exploring with mindfulness, curiosity, and openness.
Step 5 Ask yourself, “What do I need to change?” because not only can we not spell challenge without change, we also cannot overcome it without (INTERNAL) change.
Some, not all, the possibilities of things that I can change WITHIN include my attitude, perspective, emotions, behaviors, and even my goal. Thanks to mindfulness I am slowing down and changing my goal. I am choosing to get curious, both within myself and with others, as I approach the challenge that is before me.
I hope this simple, yet powerful approach is as helpful to you as it has been for me, and I would love to hear feedback as you apply any or all of this to your challenges in everyday work/life. Email me at email@example.com or join our Facebook group (above) and post your challenges, successes, and struggles in our private group.
If you want to deepen your mindfulness practice and cultivate the attitudes for daily life, consider joining the next MBSR class starting soon or stay tuned as we continue this month on ways to bring mindfulness to work.
May you find peace and meaning in all you do,
With Love and Gratitude,
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.
Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches. Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.