A year and a half ago, I was unhappy at work, standing on a pretty damn horrible triad of helplessness, powerlessness, and ever-growing grudges.
It took me some time to realise that I had agency here.
I could step down from that triad. I could walk away and stand on something way healthier.
And I think it’s always possible: that whatever happens, we CHOOSE where we base ourselves, what values we’re living into, if we’re comfortable with risk and uncertainty, and if we choose to lead an authentic life, even if it means less comfort.
The bad news is it’s really hard.
The good news is it’s worth it.
But when we think about it, no-one is intrinsically better than anyone else. We are only as equipped as our toolbox is.
So here’s my question for you today:
What’s in your toolbox?
- What are the disciplines, approaches, teachers/thinkers/authors you like to turn to to increase your emotional agility?
- Any activity to quiet your mind a bit?
- A friend to call?
- Notes to yourself as reminders of what’s important in life?
- Eye-opening podcasts to listen to on your walks?
- Books that help you recenter yourself?
- A season of a beloved TV show that makes you laugh and cry proper loud? (for me, it’s Parks and Rec:)
I used to keep a hand-drawn “matrix” of resources like that for myself.
In each cell, I would write down an activity, an author, a discipline, a teacher (…I think you get the point), filling in this matrix with some of the most impactful resources that I can use. Not (just) to “feel better”, but to remind myself of the ideas, approaches, and values which I would oftentimes be moving away from.
“Whose shoulders am I standing on?” is another way to phrase this.
I still have a list like this (you can see some of its prominent items here).
But what I would do is not to try to hit everything what’s in every cell every day, but to choose at least a couple of them.
“I will read a bit of X and I will listen to a bit of Y…” – any combination, I knew with certainty, would result in me aligning with my better self. Not my perfect self – because…what is that, anyways? – but a ME whose a bit calmer, a bit more honest, and a bit more encouraged to walk the walk I would talk about so often.
Whatever system you use, whatever toolkit you have, make sure it’s a good one.
Don’t forget to update it, to expand it, or to thank and remove what’s not needed anymore.
I think there are multiple toolkits we are and should be working on, but every other toolkit might not be as effective without this one.
Accomplishment without joy, busyness without meaning, stress without purpose, relationships without being seen…
So yeah. Nice toolkit! What’s inside?