By Elaine Cercado
I recently paused in writing articles. My excuse: I didn’t have time as I have been pursuing multiple initiatives and projects! I went into a new business venture in the food and beverage industry; and engaged in a learning and organizational development stint with a vibrant IT company. Plus I remained as a mentor and training consultant. These are on top of my personal favorite roles in life – being a wife, a mother and a community servant.
Yet I’m not complaining because I’m happy and excited to do all these things. I feel very positive despite the overwhelming busyness in my life today. In fact, this has made me realize that I should resume writing about my discoveries, insights, learnings and victories. Writing has been my instrument in fulfilling my mission to bring out “the power in U”. It’s an integral aspect of the path I’m journeying.
To SIMPLIFY Is Key
In 2008, after 20 years of continuously working with MNCs, I wrote a blog about simplification – and how important it was to simplify to find one’s purpose. I believe a person has to go through a purification stage to understand one’s passion and mission, which will then lead to a clear definition of one’s purpose. To purify is “to free from anything that debases, pollutes, adulterates, or contaminates,” according to dictionary.com. To purify is to strip down to one’s simplest form, without the distractions of life’s daily grind.
In practical terms, simplifying can mean taking a vacation or sabbatical leave, to allow a person to be free from the pressures of the workplace, and to return more focused and enthusiastic. Simplifying can mean something more drastic for some, like moving to a less-demanding work or company, or focusing on being a stay-at-home parent. As for me, after much discernment, I simplified in 2008 by making a shift in my career and work lifestyle, from a full-time executive to being a more flexible, project- based consultant, which allowed me to spend more time with my family, especially with my teenage son.
Robin Sharma has said, “Pursue simplicity vs. complexity. Build your life around a few key choices so you’ll have the willpower to become amazing on those few key things.” Simplicity doesn’t mean abandoning pursuits. On the contrary, it means pursuing and excelling in what really matters to us as defined by our personal mission and purpose. When our pursuits are aligned with our purpose, we have the energy to develop and master them.
BALANCE To Sustain
Once the “Aha” moment happens, the excitement and enthusiasm to do things become contagious. It can actually spread into all aspects of our lives – at home, with the family, at work, and in the community or society circles we engage in. It can be exhilarating, but over time, if not carefully managed, can overwhelm and cause stress or burnout.
Richard Lazarus, a psychologist who studied emotion and stress and their relations to cognition in the 60’s has said, “Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” He also mentioned that there is a positive stress, which is of manageable levels, of reasonable duration, and usually accompanied by positive emotions like pleasure, satisfaction and excitement.
Negative stress arises when demands exceed one’s personal resources for a prolonged period of time. To manage stress well, recognize the warning signs as early as possible so as to identify the needs to be satisfied. These needs may be physical, emotional, intellectual, psychological and spiritual. Examples of warning signs are physical tiredness or mental fatigue, which can worsen if the identified needs are left unsatisfied.
One common example is our basic physical need to get enough rest and exercise. Being sleep-deprived and tired for a prolonged period of time affect our physical, emotional and mental conditions. We might become impatient and anxious, which negatively impact our relationships and overall well-being, in the long run. Indeed, it is critical to satisfy our constantly evolving physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs to maintain balance.
Pursuing multiple passions can lead to a path of intense activities that might result to undesired consequences if not closely watched. It is important to focus on the priorities that are aligned with our mission – and to continuously reflect, adjust and refine. An accountability partner or mentor may provide valuable perspectives and reality checks from time to time.
As for my multiple passions, I enthusiastically accomplish them and regularly self-evaluate to sustain balance. My son has just successfully graduated from his IB diploma program and is now preparing for his next life phase. I’ve also just completed my L&OD stint. These allow for more time to improve our F&B business operations, and to implement our expansion plan. It also opens a window to advance some training and consulting projects and opportunities.
Above all, I continue to joyfully serve in our community, and passionately fulfill my roles as mother and wife. At the end of the day, the major thread that connects all my pursuits is my personal mission “to discover, develop and maximize the powers within all of us.” As a mother, wife, community servant, consultant, trainer, mentor or entrepreneur, I am empowered and sustained by this mission.
Are you in a similar path right now? How are you doing and fulfilling your multiple passions? What have you discovered or learned along your journey? I look forward to hear from you.
Note: This article was also published in LinkedIn.