Many people are in a transition right now: pre-retirement, the great shuffle, the great resignation and even great losses. It seems, every place you turn there are people discussing and evaluating work, home, school, and daily living. During these times of exciting and at times exhausting transitions, we often face a fork in the path. Will you choose the should path? or the “longing for” path? Which will be your transition path?
Any big decision requires reflections on things we want, long for, and have to do. For example: ” I want to work from home because of the flexibility. ” “I’m longing to move out of the city”. “I have to and want to be a caregiver for my aging parents”. We often discover our inner motivations when we listen carefully to the words we use during a transition.
Underlying “want” and “longing for” are the motivating factors of personal sustainability, security, success, contentment, happiness and growth. “I want a position where I will be able to learn and grow over time”. “I want to live in a community where there are diverse perspectives”. “I want to ensure my family will be secure and happy”. “I’m longing for an adventure.” “I’m longing for something new”.
If you are in a transition, fill in the blank, “I want__________________”. “I’m longing for________________”
As you begin to get clear on your wants and longings, you might hear the word “should” sneak in. “I should work harder”. “I should be better able to manage work life balance better”. “I should be able to juggle all the demands better” “I should do something more technical”. “I should find more jobs to apply to”. “I should spend more time with ……” “I should quit”
If you are in a transition, what comes up for you…..Fill in the blank, “I should_________________”.
When we hear the word “should” it does not mean we must stop doing something, but more an invitation to take a pause. Perhaps get curious about the motivator behind our language.
For example, when working with people who are part of the great reshuffle or early retirement there is this sense of an empty calendar. It feels like freedom at first from the daily grind and then perhaps evolves into frustration….what am I going to do today? Often a litany of “shoulds” sneak in and before we know it we are on the should path..”I should exercise more, I should visit my mother, I should do those medical appointments I put off, I should take my car for a tune up” and on and the should path goes.
Wait. Don’t take that path. Pause and be curious about the motivation of your should language.
Before we go down that path of “shoulds”, it is good to pause and ask ourselves:
- Which of these should activities are really a priority?
- Which of these are actually my inner critic/judger nagging me?
- Which of these “shoulds” are things I can set aside and not do now or do in a few weeks, months?
- Which of these “shoulds” will energize me? which will deplete me?
- Are any of my “shoulds” actually have to do? or want to do?
When we pause to be intentional about what we want and long for during a transition, we find a path of more energy, joy and abundance. When we pause to consider our should language, we can make better choices and fill our days with activities that fill us up, rather than deplete us.
What’s on your “should” list during these busy final weeks of December? What’s on your “Longing for” list? Perhaps give yourself the gift of a “longing for” and see where that path takes you.