Years ago I had a well-paying but unfulfilling job. Every day, every hour of every day was difficult. I felt like I belonged someplace else, doing something other than what I was doing. The daily grind and long hours made me feel I had very little control over my day to day experience.
I wanted to leave that job. I wanted to quit. Check out. Explore other opportunities. There must be something better for me out there, but where?
The job wore me down. I felt desperate for change.
And then one day I realized I had a choice.
I asked myself Why do I continue when I feel so unhappy?
At the time, my kids were elementary school age. I was a single mother and I felt to my core that my most important job was to be their mother, that God had given me the responsibility to care for them. At that time in my life, that was my purpose.
The job helped provide: food on the table, a comfortable home, vacations, and clothes and shoes for them. It provided stability and continuity for us.
The job wasn’t fulfilling or satisfying, but it afforded me what I needed. It was like a safety net when life felt a little shaky. Maybe I could’ve have found something better suited to my strengths, but I had two good reasons for staying.
Coming to this realization helped shift my attitude and the job became so much more bearable. I showed up every day knowing why I was there and it helped. A lot. I still had my struggles, of course, but at the end of the day, I was grateful for the luxury of choice.
Whenever I feel stuck, I remember that experience. What are my choices and why am I doing what I’m doing? What’s the underlying purpose of my actions?
Do you feel stuck sometimes? Is what you’re doing driving you crazy with frustration?
Here’s what I learned:
1. It’s a choice.
You may feel like you don’t have a choice because the choices don’t seem very good. In that case, make the best choice available at that time. And keep moving forward.
2. Be grateful for every day.
Just a little bit of gratitude spills over into all things. In my case, it calmed me down and helped me be a better mom and a happier person.
3. Take a big-picture view.
Your options may not be great. You may have to make the best choice depending on your long-term goals or immediate necessities. Take a step back and get perspective on the big picture.
The only thing that changed was my attitude.
These 3 things – knowing I had a choice, being grateful, and taking a big picture view – helped me change my attitude and my outlook even though my circumstances were the same.
Same job, same schedule, same juggling of work, kids, and home – everything.
When I realized I had good reasons for choosing to show up to the job every day, my whole disposition changed. I was happier, more calm and relaxed, more grateful.
Sometimes you have to make the best “bad” (not-ideal) choice. That’s life. That’s the human experience. And you don’t know where your choices will lead or what awaits you on your path.
Choose love and it’s easier to keep a positive attitude. And attitude is everything.