By Chris Klonoski

Similar to the phases of the moon, the changing of seasons, and the ocean’s tides, it is natural that our professional lives will have some fluctuations as well. These natural ups and downs are not always easily defined or solved, but they are quickly felt. 

These feelings—frustration, boredom, anxiety, and laziness—are signs that it is time to tune in. Of course, a day or two of feeling “off” is just a part of being human and will usually self-correct. But a persistent, uncomfortable emotional state usually sends a clear message: It’s time to pay attention.

For various reasons, we don’t always recognize emotional turbulence in our professional lives; instead, we ignore it. Or we attack the problem, often before fully understanding what the problem is. This only serves to exacerbate our current emotional state or worse, create new issues. Instead, taking what we at R+R refer to – often – as The Pause (capitalization intended) gives a moment of peace, of relief, and will help identify paths forward. 

The mountain should have been a molehill.

Tuning in, and often, is as important as checking your email. We often blow right by emotions or intuitions that are trying to share some useful information. Taking a moment several times daily to check in with yourself is a sign of healthy maturity. These regular gut checks keep us attuned to our emotional world and help us become aware of what is happening around us. And to those around us. 

Becoming self-aware keeps us grounded and receptive to our environment and the people within it. The beautiful irony of carving out time to pay attention to our inner life is that the more we pay attention to the inside, the more we are able to connect outward. 

Cultivating a daily meditation, prayer practice, or journaling habit helps in numerous ways: it boosts awareness, helping us stay focused and on track. Also, we gain an outlet to release unwelcome thoughts and energy. And finally, it helps us identify issues before they become unwieldy. Assessing and addressing the emotional needs within and clocking them in others provides priceless insight and the ability to recognize, comfort, encourage, or course-correct.  

X-ray your feelings 

It is easy to overcorrect when evolving from a state of ignoring or burying emotions to the action of acknowledging and addressing them. Emotions are great flags, guides, and signs – but they aren’t always factual or law. Be curious about what is unearthed, but don’t get sucked into the undercurrents. 

Emotions fluctuate. They are impermanent by design. They provide valuable information, and then they shift. Appreciating them is not the same as obeying them or believing they are the only information that matters. They can be demanding, and self-important – and they are often enhanced by a lack of sleep, nutrition, or water. They are particularly bothersome when they have been ignored for a period of time. And they enjoy asserting themselves during times of high tension. 

If this description sounds like the definition of a child, good. Emotions are similar to children—priceless, foundational, essential, and beautiful. But they need intelligence, experience, guidance, and respect to realize their full potential.

“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” 

Dread Pirate Roberts, Princess Bride

The world can feel heavy. 

We’ve never before had so much information: events around the globe, occurrences in your neighborhood, health advice, mental health resources, spiritual guidance, positivity toxicity, analytics. The information, carefully chosen, can be evenly weighed, yet the outcome does not feel balanced. Ever.

When feeling overwhelmed, take a break…from social media, from your news habit, from the negative chatter, and occasionally from work. Don’t underestimate the curative power of simply walking away from the norm and seeing the world differently. 

I plan to stop using social media soon. I have to be on it for various reasons, so I have created a plan for how and when I will handle contact. But I plan to no longer scroll during all of the in-betweens. The thought of this recess brings me so much peace. I haven’t even done it yet, and I already feel better knowing there is this break for me. Waiting. 

Because we need the space in between. 

Therein lies our surrender. Whether it is a 30-second break to stare out the window instead of at the screen, the breath you take before you respond, or a five-day break, we must surrender to that pause to breathe a little space into our life. 

In that space, gifts of the spirit can rise… peace, intuition, calm, and a sense (a remembrance) of what you value. 

The space reminds us that it’s the relationship that matters (to yourself and to others) and not this conflict, this conversation, or this challenge. Whatever is the best of us, the purest part, needs that space.

It is always there. Waiting at the door. Ready for us to surrender and remember.

Let’s Talk!