My experience doesn’t fit into tidy self-improvement bylines. What I have to say can’t be neatly packaged into the clear cut, easy-to-digest format currently popular for writing about personal growth. And it is that variability and nuance that most informs my own personal growth and expansion.
My past 6 months have been full value, vast and varied. I’ve experienced moments where I felt like a super-hero, periods of time with an unshakable clarity of purpose, weeks of seemingly endless energies, days riddled by doubts, the greater part of a month with lingering low energy and mood.
Running in the background throughout it all is striving for doing. Driven by an internal desire to grow, to create things, to make the world just a little bit better, and with the flames fanned by an external barrage emphasizing the doing:
Stand up and be seen.
The 5 secrets to X.
Find the others.
7 strategies for Y.
Go go go.
When the energy is high and the stoke seems endless, the doing comes natural. It flows forth as if from a mystical wellspring. It feels good. It’s easy to sit back and say, “See! Look at all I’m doing.”
But my experience is more vast and varied than that. For reasons I may or may not ever fully comprehend, my experience of being is fluid and variable, cyclical and seasonal. My mood and energy ebbs, my external productivity dips, yet the external song and dance remains the same:
Go go go.
The friction between these factors challenges my way of being. When things feel natural and the doing is easy, the being comes automatically and without question. But when the energetic tides recede, and the doing slows, it is the being that begs garners my attention as I simultaneously hold the notion of do.more.now alongside the awareness that today is different, today it isn’t flowing.
The messiness of this experience shifts my focus and raises different questions. The don’t hide notion reverberates in a different key. The notion arrives: today striving for doing is a place to hide from being. Raising the question: which is more important to me?
Such a simple and sometimes muddy question to answer. At my core, it is the being, and my own experience that trumps the doing. Doing is– at its best–a way to the means of being. Yet it is so easy to get carried away, doing for its own sake.
We don’t refer to ourselves as human doings, we are human beings. My experience of being is vast and immense. My experience of doing is smaller and more focused. When I become overly focused on doing, my sense of being becomes myopic as my experience narrows.
Trickling in with the persistence of water is the outside world. The notion that to be successful, we must focus on the 7 key X to achieve Y, that we must focus on the doing. And that as a coach, as someone whose goal is to lift others up, there is a distinct pressure to be up there, to have it all figured out, but that is not a complete view of my experience. As a coach, I endeavor to help people align with their own reality, but false notions about who a coach is and what a coach looks like, when unnoticed or unchecked, corrupt my motives, moving me to try to do something so that I might feel or be differently about myself and my present situation. The catch being that in doing so, I’m missing the chance in that moment to accept and align with my own reality.
So where does all this esoteric introspection get me? It brings the realization that the quest for doing, if left unchecked, will–when the weight of being feels heaviest–become another thing to beat myself up with and a distraction from being. It brings me to acceptance of life’s ebbs and flows and a relief from always trying to change how things are.
This is full value living: The totality of the human experience; The immensity of being. This is what I came for: the immensity, the vastness of experience, Not just the ‘good days,’ type-1 fun, sunshine and full stoke.
These dips in energy and mood are the weather systems of my own personal eco-system, and by finding acceptance, the heaviness naturally, without striving without doing, begins to lift, my energy and mood rising a bit with it as well.