In both my professional and personal lives, I’ve often found myself utilizing the phrase, “doing the work.” In fact, on more than one occasion a former colleague has reminded me how much of a favorite term it is for me. The practice of “doing the work” is one I’m happy to admit I practice as much as I preach. And between coaches, therapists, Human Resources and other professionals, “doing the work” is a term used regularly and as a matter of fact.
What is “Doing the Work”?
“Doing the work” is a means to an end. If your goal is to manifest peace, boundary setting, empowerment, joy, or any transformation in your life…doing the work is the active process by which you will do so. There’s no double meaning in the phrase, it literally means doing the work to bring about positive change. More than anything, doing the work requires a deep and abiding commitment to getting to know yourself. It’s an act of self-exploration by which you gain clarity on your met and unmet needs & wants. This clarity will, in turn, allow you to acknowledge and then work through any deeply held beliefs about yourself and others. It’s also a process through which you become accountable and empowered to make choices that align with the desired outcomes you seek.
Getting to know yourself is a life-long iterative practice of exploration, discovery, acceptance, healing, and improvement having both major and minor effects on your life. Once demystified and successfully done, you’ll find yourself habitually doing the work and effortlessly applying the concept when interacting with colleagues, family, and friends.
What Doing the Work Requires?
When preparing to do the work, you must be willing to question how you can contribute to improving your life. To be successful, it’s necessary to embrace and cultivate the following mindset:
Awareness & Reflection. Developing self-awareness means exploring and opening yourself to learning who you are. Insightful self-awareness facilitates self-discovery, accessibility, and depth. Self-reflection is the act of questioning your behavior. It’s being curious about your actions, questioning why you behave as you do, and understanding the “why” behind your “what.”
Presence. This is your ability to live in the moment. Practicing presence in the moment means meeting life where it is, showing up for yourself and others, and offering your whole self as opposed to multi-tasking and being half there. Being present in your life heightens your connection to oneself as well as to others.
Ownership. This addresses the question of who’s responsible for your well-being and happiness. By embracing this mindset, I encourage you to check-in with yourself and question whether you are actively or passively participating in your life? Acknowledging this lets others off the hook and places accountability for your choices squarely on your shoulders.
Grace. Be kind to yourself and others. Accept yourself, flaws and all, and work to change the things you don’t like. Understand the need for and be willing to forgive yourself (and others). It’s important to be gentle with yourself and go slow when necessary.
Doing the work can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Getting to know and understand yourself and your motivation is an effective tool for facilitating transformational change. Embracing and cultivating the perspectives listed above can help in your journey to live the life you want.
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