I made a commitment at the end of last year to devote myself to self-improvement in 2018. By that I meant, learning to meditate; creating more space in my life for contemplation and introspection; finding more time to read and attend classes; releasing old grudges, negative thought patterns, and pressures I put on myself; and tapping more fully into intuition and the divine. So what have I discovered in the five months since I started this process? That self-improvement is a full-time job!

I’ve learned so much so far this year and found myself very often inspired, motivated, and much more at peace. I’m really liking my new self and my new life. But in this dedication to living “in the moment” and to creating space for quiet time, I’ve found that I’m not as productive in my work life as I once was.

I’m taking longer to respond to e-mails, falling behind on simple tasks, and feeling less inclined to launch new projects. I’ve even missed a few blog posts. But with my new focus on silencing my inner critic, I find I can’t beat myself up over those things anymore. That’s a good thing, I know, but I’m my own boss. So if I don’t kick my butt now and then regarding my work, who will? Guilt and shame were great motivators for me at one time.

But here is what I’m coming to believe, all this quiet time, all this contemplation is leading me much further into preparing for my future in better ways than the old five-year plan and spreadsheets filled with tasks. It’s causing me to finally get clear on what matters to me in my work; what I do best; what gives me energy; and how I can best serve. And with the absence of judgment, I’m finally, for the first time in years, starting to see where I actually want to go and how I can best use my gifts.

That doesn’t mean I can just skip out on my work life and sit in the sun all day. There are still bills to pay, commitments to fulfill, and good work to do. I have no intention of dropping any important balls, but I’m realizing that this work I’m doing on self is now also an important ball that deserves to be tossed into the mix and honored as well.

And when you get clear on what you want, things really do start to align. Turns out the old masters were right, the answers really are within us.

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