Ian Munro, at Leading Essentially, writes a provocative post this week about restructuring his “Inner Board of Directors” and how that has helped him to focus on his strengths. One of the exercises Ian gives is to assess your response to a given situation by determining if it drained your energies or pumped you up. And then, he gives practical advice on how to measure the outcome.
Yesterday, I spent several hours working on finishing a presentation I am giving on Tuesday morning. For me, the quiet and comfort of my office at home provides a more creative space to think in and to imagine. After six hours, I felt I had the framework for a strong presentation (it’s on Community Engagement) with the powerpoint slides created, but not ‘prettied up’. I like the task of creating the presentation. I’m not strong on making it look all pretty. But, I do have a team member who is really, really good at it so I sent it off to them to have the final product polished up when she’s in the office today.
A win/win. I used my creative strengths to build the presentation and today, she’ll use hers to create the actual powerpoint. I did what I love and she gets to do what she loves.
In the past, my IBOD might have been more tyrannical in its insistence that I can do the prettying up of the powerpoint. In the past, I might have listened. I might have believed I needed to do it all. That my worth was based on my ability to not only create the presentation but to do all the work of making it look good.
In a cost/benefit analysis of the presentation, it probably would have taken me an additional six hours, or more, to create the final powerpoint. a) I am rusty on powerpoint creation and all its intricacies and b) I like the ‘telling the story’ part of presentation preparation, not the creating the materials part. In recognizing my strengths and my limitations, I was able to minimize the time I spent doing something that might have drained my energy and left me feeling tired today.
Instead, I feel energized.
Not only did I finish working on a presentation I think will get my message across clearly and inspire others in their community engagement work, I also rewarded myself with several hours in the studio when I was done.
And in that time, I recharged and centered myself in that place where I can once again see, who I am is not measured by the work I do, or even how much I do. Who I am is measured by the passion, love and commitment I bring to whatever I’m doing. When I give my best in the moment of doing, I create my best and that is good enough for me.
It is something I’m becoming very conscious of as I immerse myself once again in the Way of the Monk. Path of the Artist course I’ve been taking with Abbey of the Arts.
When I do not balance, ‘out there’ time with inner work and creative-making space, I am prone to feeling more tired, anxious, despairing even. My thinking runs the gamut of ‘why bother?” with lots of chatter about my own self-importance rubbing up against thoughts of how unappreciated I feel and other inner nonsense running havoc. Get the gist? I become defeatist in my thinking and narrow-minded in my outlook. When I am detached from my creative core, my IBOD becomes more anxious and volatile. And then, who knows what kind of all hell breaking loose scenarios I can create?
Yesterday, when I was finished the work I needed to get done to know that I was prepared for my presentation Tuesday morning, (and not feeling anxious about it), I went down to the studio and set myself free to create without any agenda. And The Love Bird appeared.
What a gift. Of time. Of renewal. Of re-charging and inner-balancing.
What are you doing to keep yourself in balance? Where do you need to let the outer doing go to create some inner peace?