I have spent many years trying to maximise every ounce of potential that I have and maximise every opportunity that I have either created or become aware of. I have worried that opportunities have passed me by or that I am not reaching my full potential. Where has it gotten me…well, whilst there has been success, there has also been failure and the constant between the two is that life has been exhausting!
Having completed a PhD in May last year, I have been thinking long and hard about how I would like my career to look and feel. I have considered my priorities in life, including family responsibilities, hobbies, career goals and what sort of contribution I wish to make to the profession of nursing. It is only in recent months that I have made some affirming decisions regarding where I am going to place my energy. The process of my decision making was accelerated by a couple of significant life events.
In the past 6-months, my partner and I have experienced two life changing events. First of all, our dear dog, Ruby passed away. We had Ruby with us since she was five and a half weeks old, we emigrated from England with her and I can wholeheartedly say that she was my best friend, and I know my partner feels the same. Her death, although expected following an acute illness, occurred so quickly and suddenly that we were both left utterly bereft of our beautiful friend. The second life changing event was a bout of illness, which has forced us both to reconsider how we live, what we eat and drink, how we exercise and our overall wellbeing.
Whilst these experiences have been challenging and forever life changing, I am grateful for them because they have helped us to prioritise the things in life that are important to us. This process of prioritisation has allowed us to make decisions about where we will spend the heartbeats and the energy that we have.
I have watched other people, particularly our close friends in how they struggle to keep the balls of life moving and how they prioritise their time. Many of us are literally running through our lives to keep up with our busy jobs and our busy social lives. When I feel stressed it is often the result of having too many foci, too many areas of life that need my attention. When I feel less stress, I know and feel who I am, I feel in balance and in connection with myself because I know where I have decided to prioritise my energy and effort towards.
The lesson is this….clear focus and prioritisation is essential to well-being. You can have it all, but not all at once. I recommend being specific in the goals you set for yourself. At the very least, this will mean that you do some things extremely well.