I had purchased the book "Essentialism" last year and didn't finish it. My husband joked, "Maybe it wasn't essential after all." And maybe it wasn't at the time. I had other priorities, obviously.
But I peeked into it again last night.
I agree with what it says in reference to the idea that we have a right to say no in order to simplify our life. We can say no to people, temptations, or following the status quo.
Part of essentialism means deciding what to eliminate so when a yes or no is required, we already know the answer. Knowing what to say no to can be complicated, however, if we haven't discovered what to say yes to.
Searching for "It"
I went through a long period of trying to decide what to do with my over-45 adult life. I had my life coaching certification, I'd launched my business, I was privileged to serve several clients by telephone from all over North America and I was privileged to hold in-person groups where I lived at the time, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. But I wasn't busy enough. I spent more time trying to connect with potential clients than working with them.
So I spent much time pondering whether to take more courses, go back to school, apply for jobs, and so on. I pondered a zillions of jobs. Though I searched in earnest, though, I just couldn't find one solid answer. What resulted was several years of discontent.
It was troubling being a Christ follower and not hearing a definitive word from him. It didn't measure up with the verses that say to commit your way to him and he will show you the way. It was also troubling that I was a certified life coach and unable to nail down a more decisive path for myself. I also hired and worked with three different life coaches as I tried to find answers.
I'd say to my husband, "I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing." The chronic search for an answer was driving me into periods of temporary insanity. Or at least repeated periods of discontent.
Do you find yourself in a similar situation?
January 2013 - an Epiphany
Finally, in January 2013, I had an epiphany. I took a really great online course through Creative Live. They offer free online classes for creative individuals. The one I signed up for was The Right Brain Business Plan taught by its founder Jennifer Lee.
As I listened to Jennifer, I took notes. But I didn't have a business in mind. I'd been a published content writer, done life coaching, dabbled in home staging, transcription work, ESL guidance, and so on, but I didn't know how to bring it all together or what to try next.
So I decided to filter Jennifer's questions through my life in general. I took the approach, if God isn't opening a specific new door, then he must have a reason for me being where I am, doing what I was doing.
I decided if my entire life is my service to God (as it should be with us all), then how might he want me to serve? If I were to consider my whole life as my "job" rather than compartmentalizing it, what would my priorities be?
To look at my entire life as my job I'd have to quit focusing on the earthly earnings potential of it. I'd have to quit measuring my success in dollars. Fortunately, I had my husband's income to count on. But it didn't mean I suddenly wanted to work for free. No, like anyone I dreamt of being paid my worth. (That's another post entirely.)
As I did this filtering exercise is I came up with my top five essential passions. I've put the process into writing so others can do the exercises and find their top passions too. The result was this eBook
Once I had my top five passions outlined, I knew what to say yes to and what to say no too.
The Essentialism book outlines that there is just too much noise in the world especially with the "you can have it all" attitude. You can't have it all and have peace and perspective. You can't be content if you're trying to have it all. You are better off making your yes, yes, and your no, no in specific areas.
Do you know your top five essential God-given passions? Do you have a plan on how to develop them? How can you make 2016 New Year resolutions that focus only on them?