The Still Space Podcast Episode #32: What You Want Versus What You Need and Your Special Place
Execuive Coach Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE
Get her free career tools at www.MaryLeeGannon.com
Do you ever look out at the world and wonder why with so much beauty there is so much tension? Why at work there is a sound mission yet there are personal agendas, bureaucracy, posturing and cynicism.
Why at home and with friends there is love yet there are interpersonal struggles.
Why with your free time there are interests but there never seems to be enough time to get to them.
When we slow to a standstill we can actually canvas the landscape to notice not only what we need but more importantly what we want.
You think you need a new job. You think you need a different partner, more love, new friends. You think you need more time.
What you really want is to show up at work with confidence, influence and strategic execution that matters, gets noticed and opens opportunities for you to serve in a stronger capacity.
What you want is to go home, not reach for cookies or wine, but for a hug from a partner or family member with whom you can be yourself with all your imperfections while you provide safety for them to be vulnerable too.
You want to be the friend that cares, listens and understands with no expectations and feel joy as the same comes your way.
You want to set priorities that reflect how much you deserve time for the people, pets and activities that make you happy and the new things you’re excited to explore.
It’s exhilarating when you can shift from allowing external factors drive your unrest to searching openly inside yourself for the sea of your power that is already there.
It’s vast. The sun shines there. The horizon goes on forever there.
Happiness is the shortest distance between what you want and what you need.
There is a special place I walk for hours and just listen to the world sigh in calmness. It is an unswimmable beach with tall green spartina grass, Pluff mud and sea creatures on Port Royal Sound on Hilton Head Island. The faint calls of gulls and heron play a soft medley to the lulling laps of the sea, the tide changing the landscape hour to hour. The long blades of grass wave to the oyster beds in the salty breeze. Sometimes my feet wade through narrow gullys that serpentine their way to the ocean. Sometimes the water is deeper and darker from shells and sea life. And in it all I realize that I am called here to release the confusion of life that dances in the forefront so that I may listen to the simplicity of and the nature of joy.
Joy isn’t constant. Nor is the condition of any beach. But the vitality of both remind me to accept that life changes constantly and that evolution is the magic. Ride with the waves and the changes not against them. The energy is pure there.
Joy. We must nurture it and make time for it for then we experience it more often in everything. Sometimes it is loud and sometimes silent. Either way it becomes integrated into our lives. It is right in front of us every day but we often side step it on the quest for what we perceive as success.
You can never get enough of the things you don’t need. What we do need is joy. You deserve joy.
Find a special place for yourself. It is important for you to reconnect with what truly matters in life – your joy. Maybe it is a hobby room in your house. Maybe it is a park where you like to sit and observe nature. Maybe it is a place of worship or a museum. Maybe it’s a reading corner. Maybe the space changes and is simply a walk outdoors.
In this special place notice what calls you that you’ve not noticed for a while. Notice where no matter what is happening you still have power, influence over your thoughts and peace.
Has someone in the office been on a trip you’d like to hear more about and that they may like telling you about?
Is there a place you visit that you haven’t been to for a while that makes you smile?
Will you have more clarity after a walk outside?
Is there a friend you miss who you’d enjoy talking to?
Is the sun dancing through your window, casting an interesting pattern across the room?
Wishing you joy in your life today. It will make that challenge easier and more fulfilling. It will help you hear where you are called to spend energy. It will open opportunity. In the stillness of joy we can finally hear and accept what’s next.
You now have the tools to have executive presence and life mastery. The only thing you need now is the conviction to execute them. I won’t tell you that every day will be easy. I won’t tell you that you will always be mindfully self-aware especially in the face of doubt or attack. I won’t tell you that you’ll constantly be able to self-regulate your temper, self-sabotage thoughts, or withdrawal behaviors before you miss an opportunity or do something you regret. I won’t tell you that in every instance of feeling not good enough you’ll be able to show yourself compassion and unpeel the ego coverings and demons to see the brilliance in yourself and others.
But I will tell you this…Happy people don’t hurt one another. Happy people know how to find their Still Space. Happy people accept the things they cannot change and change the things they can. Happy people practice what works so they can get better at it. They don’t have accidental careers or lives.
It’s all a practice. Life is a practice in mastery. We have to know what to study and then practice it regularly or we become overeducated in the impractical and over-skilled in the obsolete. Think how often you have used the algebra character pi in your daily life. Practical when needed. Just hardly ever.
You will definitely feel fulfilled at work if you realize The Three Things. You will definitely feel the same in life if you do too.
Happiness is situational. Joy is a state of happiness for no reason - independent to the good and bad opinions of others. Immune to criticism and judgment. Responsive to feedback. Unafraid to face discomfort. Beneath no one. Above no one. Totally open.
Commit to yourself that you deserve the investment of time to practice what you have learned here. Review the Still Space strategies and pick the ones that are right for you. Review what you have highlighted regularly – on the first of the month for instance.
I cannot think of anything in life more important than The Three Things. All roads lead to them. They are your guideposts to deal with the uncertainty of life and its imposed suffering. No matter what your challenge or joy weave them into your life because everyone one of them is within your power. I’ve watched my clients’ careers and lives soar with mastering The Three Things. You need nothing else to access them. Only yourself. You deserve them. And the world needs your mastery.
Don’t ever forget that you are a super hero. Here’s to you for not sitting back, for not whining, for making it work despite the odds, for taking risks in the face of doubt, for holding true to your priorities sometimes at the detriment of yourself, for setting a goal and finding a way.
Here’s to you for listening and caring when you thought you had little to give, for being gentle with yourself when it seemed nobody was, for failing and starting again this time with wisdom, for swapping assumptions for truth, for not letting comparison distract you from your goals and achievements.
Here’s to you for wearing all the hats even when they didn’t all fit, for not needing to be right but for getting it right, for not being perfect but still awesome, for having the courage to face hurtful feelings so you know what not to do again, for having the curiosity to allow joy to take the place of expectations.
Applause for you for getting up every day and being you. You deserve every happiness that is here and flooding your way. You have everything inside of you right now to bring more of your genius to the world. And we need you, super hero. We need you.