What lights you up?

Isn’t it funny that certain things energise us and others deflate us? I recently had a huge lesson regarding this. I noticed that if I have a passion for something then I have huge energy to deliver it. There is no struggle, just focused intended enjoyment with a finished/completed outcome (usually in book or project form). On the journey there are obstacles, moments of complete joy, a bit of fun, plenty of laughter and a sense of connection. When I  experienced this when working on my recent audio books it created a complete contrast to my day job. I work in a highly pressurised role building out technical architecture. Now it isn’t the actual type of job that fatigued me, instead it was the general attitude and environment. I worked in such roles before and have delivered epic projects based on the passion to create something wonderful for the users. The end goal was worthy and the people I was delivering to would really benefit. That also lit me up.

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So where did the contrast come in? Have you ever been approached for a role where your gut says no and the salary makes you say yes? Well that was my learning. I gave up a job in a lovely company to follow the money. I didn’t listen to the gut, I listened to the money in the bank and fully admit that. When I felt into the job approach my heart didn’t expand with light instead my gut made and bleaaurrrrch feeling as though it was uncomfortable. The lesson itself has been paramount for me because the last nine months in the role has been like wading through treacle. Admittedly I decided if I was going to take this role for money they I would honour myself by being authentic and being real within an environment where people were political. I did not intend to play the game. I would be the truth of self in a place where façade and appearances ruled.

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The first huge project I delivered was pushed and pushed to get it out into the world. I was tired. That project was delivered against all the odds. During that time I felt like a dung beetle rolling an enormous turd up a mountain. Within the teams there was no enthusiasm and no drive. The atmosphere was apathetic and it felt as though there was mass depression. The people were grey and it felt as though the corporation was like a grey cloud. I hardly ever saw anyone walking around smiling. Instead people were complaining. Their postures were deflated and their faces were filled with frowns. Where was the light? Where was the inner ignition?

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When it came to the work, usually when teams  have delivered projects in the past the team celebrated. There was none of that instead we were handed seven more projects in addition to the other forty one. The environment itself wanted more, more and MORE! That approach and attitude was justified by money. The meetings were political, aggressive and I was amazed how people were treated. Telepresence conference calls were like watching World Wrestling matches where highly egotistical people entered the arena and verbally took each other down and essentially body slammed each other into submission. Executives literally launched into anger-filled onslaughts. When I stopped such situations by intervening people asked who I was to dare to interrupt. When I introduced humour and fun to meetings it caused quite a fuss. Humour wasn’t used in meetings usually. People were not used to laughing because they were there to work. Not surprisingly random people, not involved in the meetings, joined just to have a break from the organisational aggression and to experience a new attitude.

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It seemed through not playing the game one gets a reputation as a maverick. Yet to survive in such an environment I had to find ways to light myself up, in doing so I hoped it would light others up. I intended to show a different way. During that time I realised that unless I felt that energy of light and expansion I was using my energy reserves to make things happen and it drained me. In an environment without joy or fun I was felt like a withering flower. At the same time my books were being produced on audio. Cruise Ship Creatures was being delivered chapter by chapter by Stockton Harris. Every time I heard a chapter I would ignite and fall about laughing. Whenever he had outtakes he would send them through. The fact that he was crying laughing made me so happy and again made me light up. The thought of delivering laughter to the world ignited me. The contrast of the suppressed environment revealed how passion gives me unlimited energy and unless my heart is in something then such projects fatigue me. So when people ask ‘what lights you up?’ I have found that many things light me up – yet being able to create work that brings laughter to the world and delivering projects to people who will be benefitted and appreciate the outcome illuminates me. It is wonderful to have such hindsight and being able to share. So with that in mind: what illuminates you? What really lights you up? How can you bring more of that into the world?

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