Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I want to talk about the skill of awareness. Awareness is so important in building a life and a career you love. However, many people lack a good set of awareness muscles so they end up doing things they don't like or things that don't fill their cup. And then they wind up feeling drained, unfulfilled, or frustrated without knowing why. Have you ever stopped to think about why you do what you do? Have you ever stopped to really think about the big decisions you've made and why you made them? Is it because everyone else did it that way? Or is it because someone said you should do it that way? Is it because your parents did it that way? Or maybe because you think people will respect you if you do it that way? If any of those answers hit a nerve, the key to feeling more freedom right now is acknowledging (i.e. having awareness) that you may have chosen something for reasons that no longer resonate with you or never did in the first place.
Let's start by defining awareness. Awareness is "knowledge or perception of a situation or fact." I refer to awareness as a skill because I believe it's a muscle that needs to be exercised and developed. What is the opposite of awareness? I'd say it's being on autopilot or blind decision making. So many of us operate blindly on a day-to-day basis, doing things simply because "it's always been done that way." Or because our parents did it or our friends are doing it. For example, maybe you took a corporate job because both of your parents worked in corporate America and you never even gave it a second thought that there might be other types of great jobs out there. When we make decisions blindly or from autopilot mode, there's no real intention behind our decisions. And when we get in that zone, we can keep doing something (like going to the same job even though we dislike it) because it's easier to keep doing what we're doing than to make a big change. When we operate from this place (listen up here!) we are giving up our power to make real decisions. THAT is why we end up feeling empty, unfulfilled, bored, etc.
The goal, always, should be to do things intentionally for reasons that resonate with you. Sounds simple but so many don't operate from this perspective. That's ok, it takes practice! Every time you make a decision this week, no matter how small, try to recognize that you are actually making a decision. From what to eat for dinner to how to approach a difficult topic with your boss, recognize that each instance is giving you an opportunity to react and decide. It's so empowering to realize just how many decisions and, more importantly, options we have each and every day. And each decision shapes the life we live. Then, when you are consciously being faced with a decision, ask yourself, "Why am I doing what I'm doing?" Start small then work up to big decisions. For instance, perhaps you don't like your job and you recognize that, each and every day, you have the decision to show up for work or call out sick. Let your mind mull over the question, "Why do I get up each day to go to this job even though I don't like it?" Your mind might come up with ALL sorts of interesting information. Maybe you'll find that you're staying at your lawyer job (like I did) because it's a prestigious career and people are impressed that you have such a "great job" (Side note: it isn't a "great job" if you don't like it!). Maybe you'll determine it's all about the money. You know, it's just really nice to be able to comfortably pay bills and build a savings. Or maybe your mind will wander and you'll think, "You know, my dad only ever really praised me for good grades growing up" and you'll determine that you're carrying on in a "high-achieving" career because you subconsciously feel that's the only way to earn your father's respect and attention. Or maybe you'll find that, while you don't like being a lawyer, you don't really know what else you're qualified to do and so you just stay put because considering other options seems overwhelming. Mulling over your chosen decisions can be such an eye-opening exercise because, once you know the underlying forces behind your decisions, you can change them much more easily.
I wanted to touch on something that relates to this. In today's heated political climate, it's so important to ask yourself why. Are you voting Democrat because your mother always did? Are you voting Republican because your boyfriend is? Do you live in a big city where it's "cool" to be liberal and vote Democrat? Be more intentional than that! Research the parties, listen to people on both sides, be open-minded when evaluating the flaws of each party, etc. Don't blindly follow what your parents have always done, don't operate on autopilot. In other words, don't give up your power so easily. Be intentional. Your voice matters!
Cheers to growing our awareness muscles and making intentional decisions!