There is a common theme in the conversations I have with people about their careers – they are unhappy, dissatisfied and not sure what to do about it. At the end of each of these conversations, we always come to the same conclusion: They need a thing.
You see, everyone needs a thing. Having a demanding career and spending the majority of your week working in an office can take its toll if you let it. Hell, forget the demanding career, life will take its toll if you let it. Which is why, despite all of our best efforts to forget ourselves and focus on everything around us, we have to make sure we have a thing. You know, something you do only for you. Something that is not materialistic. Something you can stop and do no matter your financial situation or where you are in life. It should be something that makes you feel good about yourself and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Something that is all yours. Something you have absolute control over.
One of my friends, after battling his own sense of discontent with the state of his life, recently took up running. In ten weeks, he is now running half marathons and has never been happier. In his words, “I am in a really good place.” His state of mind did a complete 180, and yet nothing in his life had changed. That is, nothing apart from his decision to start focusing a part of his week on himself, on something he wanted to do.
Running is so not my thing (clearly). I am not an artist, a photographer, a weight lifter or a golfer. And despite all evidence to the contrary, posting ridiculous images of myself all over the internet isn’t it either. My thing has always been writing. And as seems to be the universal case, I lost sight of my love for jotting down my thoughts (and, more importantly, all it did for me mentally) when I first started working. I struggled to find balance between my life and career and to find some place where “Lynsey” wasn’t synonymous with “attorney.” I searched for an outlet for about a year before I found my way back. My view on life, my career, and even Los Angeles has been better for it. It is amazing what a little self purpose can do.
So what is your thing? What do you do to focus on yourself in the midst of the craziness that is life? If you don’t have a thing and you have yet to discover what your outlet is, I challenge you to find, and more importantly commit to, one as soon as possible. I promise you will be better for it.