Dictionary.com defines “force” as: to compel, constrain, or oblige (oneself or someone) to do something: to drive or propel against resistance. And, defines “function” as: to perform a specified action or activity; work; operate:
That was me – a “force-functioner”, constantly forcing myself to function in most professional situations that had lost their meaning for me. I, like perhaps many of you, believed that work was supposed to be hard and not fun, that I needed to struggle, that I was supposed to feel like I was walking through knee-deep mud uphill all the time. After all, it’s called work for a reason, right? This all changed for me last year when I took a three month writing sabbatical, which ultimately turned into a real sabbatical. Yes, I wrote a lot of my book Fear to Flow during that time but I also took time off – to restore myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually after a very difficult prior year. During my sabbatical I rediscovered what fed my soul and began doing those things more and more. I stopped reacting as if I was fighting fires all the time and stopped pushing myself uphill through the mud because I dedicated that time to restore myself. I also reset my nervous system – it had been trained to react and to respond from a place of false fears (which I write about in my book, Fear to Flow) and taking the sabbatical allowed it to reset to it’s natural state, which is one of peace and calm.
After doing this I discovered I lost my ability to force-function. I recall going to do some work for a client shortly after my sabbatical ended. It was a typical 14-hours-per-day weeklong type of project that I was accustomed to (or the old me was accustomed to). Usually that specific work left me exhausted by day three only this time I found myself physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted at the end of the first day. It was then I realized I could no longer work that way. My body, mind, and spirit would no longer allow me to run at 300 mph for 14 hours a day while barely having time for a bathroom break. I couldn’t do it. I’m not sure I ever really “could” do it but I forced myself to because I thought that was what I “had” to do – based on how I’d spent most of my adult life. But not anymore. Nope, that ability was gone. I lost my ability to force-function and I’m very grateful.
Forcing myself to function in roles that were not aligned with my purpose or who I truly am equated to a state of constant tension in my body – it created a state of internal struggle. I wasn’t even aware of it until I stopped doing it and was then back in a situation where it was required again. Losing my ability to force-function enabled me to stop accepting work that would require me to “force” myself to do anything and allowed me space to take on work that fed my soul. It also made me realize how important it is to create space in life to do things on a regular basis that feed my soul –not just find time for them during a sabbatical. Doing things that feed your soul, doing work you love, and NOT forcing yourself to do things that exhaust you or that you do not enjoy is a way of life. The sabbatical that I originally took to write my book allowed me to reset my nervous system and reprogram my operating system. It enabled me to create a life that is a sabbatical way of life, which not only includes a fulfilling thriving livelihood helping others live and lead from their most soulful authentic place, but also includes plenty of time to do all the things that feed my soul on a regular basis. And, it does not include any force-functioning.
What situations are you forcing yourself to function in and “get through”? Why are you allowing yourself to do that? What can you do instead, that feeds your soul? Once you create more time to do those things your soul will magically lead you to not only finding more and more things that feed your soul and allow you to thrive in all areas of your life, but it will also lead you away from anything that resembles forcing and struggle. And that my friends, is the way we are supposed to live our precious life.
Speaking of what feeds your soul, I am hosting a private intimate workshop (titled Lead from Your Soul) in September at Ashlyn Cottage on my property for a small select group of leaders who want to learn to lead from their souls. If you’re the leader of a business, team (large or small) or organization, you don’t want to miss this. Get all the details here.