While I may sound like “Debbie Downer” – I have a news flash:
Decline is inevitable.
Bear with me. I love working with people who work hard and accomplish goals. Maybe that’s you. If so, you can relate – nothing is better than experiencing your definition of success and contentment after a period of hard work and effort! By all means – enjoy it! Live in the moment. Savor your accomplishment – it feels great when your life and career are firing on all cylinders!
However, the cold harsh reality is things do drift, decline and fade. Without investment of time, energy, effort and/or consideration – everything eventually declines.
Don’t believe me? Think about your most favorite activity, food or event. Think about doing it (or eating it) every day – don’t you think at some point the sparkle begins to tarnish!
What I want you to appreciate from this post is declining isn’t bad. Fading or drifting aren’t the end of the world. Instead, from the perspective of The Deliberate Journey – it is valuable data.
The data tells you it is time to reflect and invest. It is time to take deliberate action to stay level or even gain a little altitude. You should embrace the awareness of drift as it allows you to be proactive in the management of your life/career and not fall into a steep decline.
I challenge you to stay aware.
Be tuned in to your life and circumstance. Without self awareness, the data goes unnoticed and unmanaged. While there are many signs of early decline – here are a few for you to start with:
- On a regular basis, you don’t remember much about your drive to/from work.
- Days seem to take longer than they used to – time doesn’t fly by anymore.
- Feelings of fear, self-doubt and worry are more common than before.
- You have a good sense of how your day or week will progress (before they even start).
- You start spending more time protecting what you have (instead of pushing for something new).
- Your dreams get a little dusty – you are more comfortable letting them slip to the back burner.
- You fail to throw your hat in the ring for promotions or new opportunities.
- Things become notably familiar – same restaurants, same TV shows, same friends, same vacations, same foods – new or novel are becoming rare.
- You find yourself counting the years left instead of opportunities that await.
- It has been awhile since you felt butterflies in your belly or a sparkle in your eye
- You don’t have something in the next 10 months you can’t wait to experience – no anticipation exists.
- You can’t see the next move/stage of your career clearly in your mind’s eye.
- Your days are spent in a predictable cadence – feels like you are on autopilot and not actively engaged.
- Sitting quietly with your spouse starts to feel more awkward than content.
- You find your self wondering what’s next or hoping that there is more to come.
Your assignment: Monitor yourself for the next week or so and see if these (or other) signs have begun to creep in.
If you find more than you are comfortable with – don’t panic. Instead, start to think of the types of things you can do to move from a declining default to a more deliberate decision.
If, generally speaking, you are on a good journey – a little extra effort and/or variation could be enough to get the freshness and contentment back. However, if you have fallen farther than you realize, it could take more effort to get back on top and on your way toward a purpose or place that feels right to you.
I’ll post some ideas for building more breadth and depth into life and career in a couple of weeks. If you have ideas – I’d love to here from you in the comments or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.