I caught myself whispering that mantra to myself recently: "I need more work, I need more work, I need more work!" I was whipping myself into an anxious frenzy.
But as I mentioned, I caught myself. I stopped and said, "Wait a minute! Is work the thing I really want to request?"
I took a few deep breaths and then considered what work means to me. I usually associate the word work with effort, toil, struggle and exertion. Thinking of work in those terms (whether having or lacking it), usually makes my muscles tense up. Is that what I want?
Do I want to toil and struggle? No! Do I want to be a vibrant, productive human being? Yes!!
So if that's what I really want, then why do I keep specifically requesting more work? I thought about it for a moment, and realized that the thing I was really asking for was income – and that I was making a very limited request by assuming that income can only be gained through hard work.
So next, I decided to rethink my "If you're not sweatin', you're not getting'" paradigm.
I considered some of my friends, who approach their careers with passion, but whose postures communicate ease and relaxation most of the time. Sometimes they, too, spend long days devoted to their careers, but they never appear to be exhausted. They enjoy their work so much that the hours fly by without their noticing. They often finish those long days exhilarated and eager to tackle tomorrow's to-do list.
With all this in mind, I carefully recrafted my mantra. I looked at my bank balance again and declared:
"I need more income. And I want the acquisition of that income to feel fun and exciting...maybe even effortless!"
After all, when I am doing what I do best, harnessing my natural creative talents and abilities, work does seem nearly effortless. When I'm in "the creative zone", the hours do fly by. When I'm doing my best, I am confident that the work I perform is unique and valuable – and well-deserving of a commensurate income.
The first declaration addressed my short-term issue of needing more income, but I also wanted a declaration that would serve me in the long-term. So I created another declaration to fit that scope:
"I want my career to evolve so my work is creative, passionate, playful and invigorating, and maximizes the best use of my talents and abilities!"
I can feel the tension in my shoulders melting away when I say these words. I can feel a spark of excitement welling up inside me. This new statement feels so much more expansive and full of potential than the original "I need more work" statement!
Yes, now I must to do the work to determine how my personal evolution will proceed. But it doesn't feel like I'm about to dig an 10 foot hole with a garden shovel. It feels like I'm packing my suitcase for an exciting expedition, which makes taking the next step seem...well, fun and effortless!