How would it feel to feel good about your work?

 

Twenty years ago, someone I hardly knew tossed me this question. It changed the course of my life and career. It is still working its magic.

 

It was a hot summer day, when my colleague and I literally crossed paths at an outdoor festival. We were both on the interpreting crew and were each hurrying in opposite directions to our next assignments. As we neared each other she smiled and casually asked, "How ya doin'?" Without even stopping, I spoke the worry that I had been chewing on for the last 24 hours, "I'm interpreting on the big stage tonight and I'm so scared!" She slowed down a bit and called back over her shoulder to me, "I wonder . . . how would it feel to feel good about our work?" The question landed with me like a warm spring breeze. We kept walking our separate directions. I've been chewing on that question for decades now.

 

I love interpreting. I have enjoyed a meaning-filled, interesting and sucessful career. Even so, I have spent precious hours in this amazing field concerned, worried, scared, and embarrased. Even ashamed. Dare I say it? Guilty. Yech! And, I remind you, I love my work.

 

Somehow, when my colleague casually tossed me that question, something shifted. It wasn't a permanent shift, but every time I asked myself, "How would it feel to feel good about my work?" I felt lighter, more curious. I still do.

 

What I have come to learn is that the quality of the questions we ask ourselves determines the qualitiy of our lives. 'Why am I so screwed up?' 'Why can't I get over it?' 'What's wrong with me?' 'What will they think of me?' 'Why am I so self-obsessed?' These questions took me down a familiar path to a familiar destination. It was well-trodden, easy to navigate, comfortable even, and it was right there. Easy to find. The more I walked it, the easier it was to choose.

 

Asking myself this new question took me to a completely different place. Now, when I ask myself, or my clients, 'What do you love about your work?' 'What's important?' 'What are you curious about?' What do you want?' I get different results - more importantly, so do my clients. Beyond a juicy metaphor, these pathways literally burrow new pathways in our brains - opening possiblities that were previously less than obvious.

 

The view from this path is amazing. It was challenging at first, and totally worth it. There are giant boulders, beautiful vines and overhanging trees, and an amazing expansive view. When I'm walking it, I feel alive and whole -- eager to explore. The old path is there, and I rarely choose it. Lately, it's becoming grown over -- usually, I don't even see it any more.

 

I'm a coach, and really I'm a travel agent. A safari guide. I help people who are tired of walking their well-traveled path, to create and navigate new more fulfilling trails through their work and their lives. Things are possible that we never imagined. When we feel better, we are able to attend to what's in front of us. Whether it is work, or any aspect of your life, there are more satisfying roads to take that lead to amazing destinations. I'd love to walk with you. How would it feel to feel good about yourself?

 

Arlyn Anderson

© 2014-18 by Whole Interpreter Enterprises, LLC

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