Each Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps back from burnout in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on your journey to a fulfilling life of caregiving.
Originally published November 4th, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 3 – FORMULATE your plan. Recalculate the transaction of care using the Perfect Equation. Free yourself from your unconscious actions and outdated agendas.
How can tomorrow be better?
“Ideas are a dime a dozen… but the man who puts them into practice is priceless.”
If I know the proper foods to eat and how to exercise, how come I’m overweight, out of shape and unhealthy? If I know how I’m supposed to behave in a relationship, why don’t mine ever work out? If I know what it takes to have a successful business, why is mine always in the red?
We all know how to live our best life, but knowing isn’t enough. Somewhere between knowledge and practice there is a breakdown…
For me, the breakdown happens because I run around all day long reacting to my environment. I am constantly putting out fires, managing chaos, and allowing myself to be the effect of the people and situations in my environment. I am busy fixing or dealing with problems. My thoughts are generated in reaction to my environment and my body. I am on auto-pilot.
The flaw in “if” happiness thinking
Most of us ask for water when we are thirsty. We ask for a relationship when we don’t have one. We ask for health when we are sick. We ask for success when we are unsuccessful. This is because we are so attached to our environment and outcomes. We believe that when we have the car, the job, the girl, the boy, or the diamond, we will be successful and happy. This is effect-oriented living and there will never be any change in our lives when we live this way.
It is time for you and me to be the cause of a new and better reality for ourselves and for those around us. It is time for us to choose the thoughts we will engage. I know this, but until I let go of my attachment to results and surrender to the fact that I have to do the work, put in the effort and engage in the process, I will stay stuck in the same place of knowing and not doing.
Dr. Srikumar Rao, a colleague of ours, is considered a happiness expert. He maintains that the reason we are all so unhappy in our Western world is because we all buy into a flawed mental model of how the world operates. According to Dr. Rao, it’s like this: we think we have to get something so that we can do something so that we can achieve something so that we can be happy. In short, we believe that if “this” happens, “then” we will be happy.
To see the flaw in this logic, Dr. Rao asks us to questions ourselves. “What did I want 10 years ago? What was it I thought I needed to be happy?” If we are honest, we will see that we probably got that “thing” – our degree, the car, the house in the suburbs – and we are probably not much happier now than we were then.
Happiness lies in our process
Dr. Rao then asks us to remember times where we had a blissful, peaceful moment. Maybe we stumbled on a breathtaking scene in nature, a waterfall or a rainbow, or we participated in a joyous moment like the birth of a baby. Can you remember what it was like to see your child take their first steps or utter their first word?
Dr. Rao brilliantly points out that in these moments we accept the Universe just as it is. Our habitual wanting of another “thing” drops away and our innate happiness surfaces, and we feel it. Even years later we KNOW we felt it because we can still remember it as if it were yesterday. These profound moments in our otherwise ordinary lives allow us to feel perfection despite our problems. These moments show us that happiness, satisfaction and success are in the process and not in the outcome.
When we concern ourselves primarily with end results, we experience frustration, angst and all the emotions that are the antitheses of authentic happiness and satisfaction. The obvious solution is to invest in the process. In life, when we give the process everything we’ve got, our attitude changes. If we arrive at the destination, great! If not, still great!
When we live this way, every day is amazing. If we want success, we have to step into the process of generating success. If we want health, we need to step into the process of preparing healthy foods and going to the gym, regardless of the number on the scale or the inches on your waistline. Focusing on the process is where we go from knowing to doing. This is where real change occurs. It is the only place where we have to power to be the cause of something new or different or better!
Today, I will choose to be the cause. Today I will not be the effect of my environment or those in it. Today I surrender to doing the work, exerting the effort to change, and practice my knowing. I surrender to the process and trust that the outcome will be better, as long as I stay in the process of thinking, speaking and acting better! My joy will come from my success in the process. My victory is in the moment.
All the best!