No-Fail Friday: On purpose

Water drop_Paweł Chrząszczewski_Stocksnap

It goes without saying that winning is fun. As we talked about earlier this week, it also can come with significant momentum that makes future wins seem even more likely. This is all well and good, unless and until that momentum becomes inertia. It can be a quiet transition, and perhaps even go unnoticed, until one day you realize that winning isn’t as fun as it used to be.

Our mindfulness challenge this weekend is about uncovering this inertia. It’s both a simple and complicated task. All that it requires you to do is breathe. The twist is that I’m asking you to sit with an intention of clarity around any areas of your life where you may be #winning, but may, deep inside, not feel quite as #blessed as you might expect to feel about it.

You may come up with nothing here, and that’s totally ok. Maybe you’re operating at 100% purpose when it comes to your current efforts. That’s a great place to be. You might also come up with things you know you’d rather not be doing right now, but have to for non-negotiable reasons. We all have a few of those because, for better or for worse, we’re grown-ups. The value of mindfulness in this exercise is that it can help us uncover a third category – voluntary, winning, but not purposeful – and maybe even find the courage to do something about it.

For the record, you may not want to, and that’s ok. Sometimes in life, we need to have some “guaranteed” wins lined up. But thanks to mindfulness, you see them for what they are, and you are able to intentionally sit with the subtle discomfort that may accompany them.

Perhaps even better, there may be a way for you to shift your thinking about these areas to discover a purpose within them that you hadn’t previously considered or recognized. You can do this for your work that is less than voluntary as well. Purpose isn’t always inherent in effort; we assign it whenever we are able to connect the dots between our work and an outcome that resonates more deeply with us. Kelly McGonigal, who I’ve written about before, would calling this “befriending” stress, which is a powerful mindshift that not only changes the way you see your work, but the way your body and brain respond to it.

That may or may not be what you need in your situation in this moment, but mindfulness can help you figure it out. It can give you awareness of and clarity around whether your latest wins are the kind that you want to be using your considerable gifts and talents to achieve. If not, your breath and your intention can ground you through making a change, if you choose to do so. It may be worth considering, because if you think you’re winning now, wait until you bring a deeper sense of purpose into the equation. The successes that combination produces have a momentum all of their own that brings with it not just victory, but joy.

Photo credit: Paweł Chrząszczewski

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