April Happiness Project summary: Have I made my work work?

This month’s Happiness Project theme ‘Making my work work’ has been a bit of a beast, and the resolutions perhaps not the most concrete to tackle. I think that’s okay though, because they’ve got me thinking about a lot of things. I haven’t magically transformed my work life, but I have started to clarify some things. And, as my life is full of uncertainties right now, a bit of clarity is pretty sweet.

April’s resolutions were driven by two quotes. Returning to these now, I can see how they’ve permeated my work this month.

“Embrace your inner wiring, whatever that may be” Emilie Wapnick.

This has come through in ways I never knew it would. As you may know in April I suffered from some panic attacks and really had to pull back, and work at slowing down even more. I finally feel I’m getting attuned to my natural internal rhythm (slowly). I’m learning to figure out how I do things rather than doing them the way I think I should. Slowing down is a big part of my journey, and this month I returned to it big time.

Resolution: challenge the gremlins

Working on challenging my gremlins I’ve started to figure out what I care about and the fears associated with this that may hold me back. By writing out what my gremlins are saying, then re-writing this in a positive way I feel I’ve started to get a little control over them and am able to embrace my inner wiring a bit more. Sometimes, though, it’s still totally scary.

A little mantra to get through the fear…

I work how I work, I do the work I do. I define myself how I want.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it” Howard Thurman

Resolution: create my definition

In thinking about creating my definition I’ve started to get to the heart of what makes me come alive. Reading back over my journal from this month I can see common themes –  both for things I like, and those I dislike. As I learnt from reading Sháá Wasmund’s book Do Less Get More, it’s very good to know what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can do less of the stuff you don’t like/aren’t good at and focus on what you are good at.

Writing my story from childhood to now helped me pull out some uniting threads, my dharma, my purpose, the thing that makes me come alive. I’m still working on wording it coherently and fully figuring it out, but it’s nice to know it’s coming.

Resolution: effort where it really matters

Working on my strengths speaks to my effort where it really matters resolution and, although I’m not in a place where I can hire a VA/delegate my work to someone else, I’ve really thought a lot about what I would delegate if I could and tried to figure out a way to ditch some things/spend less time on them.

Resolution: evaluate

Part of slowing down is being more mindful about my time and how I spend it. I’ve really been trying to check in with how I’m spending my time this month, and how I feel from moment to moment. I’m trying to notice when I’m persevering with a task that’s just draining me, when perhaps I’d be better off switching to something else for a while. As a person driven by achievement this is hard, but has been great when I have managed to identify those moments.

Resolution: freelance financial goal

This is the only concrete resolution on the list this month, and I did it right at the start. I decided that I would like to make £5000 this year from my freelance work. It might not sound like much, but for someone who has never made money from freelance work it’s a lot! Hopefully I can make it happen.

Moving into May

One of the big gremlins or stumbling blocks I’ve faced this month is the knowledge that I am soon to move cities, and need to get a stable (non-freelance) income so that I can a mortgage and fulfil my dream of buying a house. This has confused me, and made me feel that pursuing my freelance career/what I really want to do is just a time filler for now until I have to go back to a ‘day job’. But this month has helped me realise that a. a day-job can be important and b. it can align with my values if I find the right one. By evaluating my strengths and weaknesses, and starting to find the thing that makes me come alive, I’ve realised what kind of work I actively want to seek out (as well as the kind I don’t).

So, as ever I will be continuing with these Happiness Project resolutions as I move into May and a new theme.

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

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