I spend a lot of my life living in the day to day habits of life. I wake, shower, dress, get the kids ready for school, eat, take them to school, go to work, pick them up from school, cook dinner, put them to bed, collapse on the couch, sleep. Oh, and somewhere in there, build a meaningful relationship with my wife and manage the conflicting expectations of 6 other people and myself. To a large degree, these structural markers for each day are requirements rather than options. If I tried to skip any of these, someone is going to suffer … most likely me!
Habits (or perhaps you feel more comfortable calling them “Routines” or “Structures”) are an important trellis on which the vine of my life needs to hang. Vines that lay along the ground will likely grow, but if you want lots of grapes, the vine needs to be held off the ground (on a trellis). Vines on a trellis have greater access to sunlight and air and will be vastly more fruitful.
I could not imagine how much more difficult it would be to manage such a busy life and family if we woke up in the morning with no plan and just decided on a whim what to do for the day! My kids (and my wife and I) desperately need structure to be able just to make sure all of the “musts” are accomplished most of the time to a somewhat reasonable standard.
These habits of life grow over time and we have refined them as much as we can to maximise the amount of living we can do with limited resources (time, money, emotional energy etc).
This structured busyness of life is important and I don’t want to diminish it … however … sometimes when I’ve been rushing down life’s river for a while, I start to feel a little nagging in the back of my find that something is amiss. Do you ever feel like that? You’re going along your way, managing all the things in life but deep down … you’re just flat. I think what is happening when I feel this way is that I have been so busy managing the chaos that I’ve forgotten to look up and make sure that the Structure we’ve built is still taking us to the right destination.
I’ve heard this little nagging voice referred to as “Divine Discontent”. My soul knows something is wrong but because of the ongoing sound of the rushing water I pretty much don’t hear it. I say “pretty much” because it’s very difficult for it to be completely drowned out. It’s there, I feel off somehow, but I just keep on rushing down the river. I wonder if this is why so many people struggle in midlife. We’ve spent the early years of our adulthood making lots of big decisions about work and beliefs and relationships and then we get into the rushing river of the life we’ve chosen only to find 10 years later that we’ve forgotten who we are and what our core values are.
I think our careers and businesses follow a similar path. We start off so excited about learning all the things and pursuing our goals … and then, over time, we get so busy “doing” our career or business and maintaining and managing and succeeding … that if we’re not careful, we lose the joy of what we are doing and the “Divine Discontent” starts to rumble in us.
At this point of career or business, often what we need is to take a step back and pause and re-examine whywe’re doing what we’re doing. It’s a great time to come alongside someone with the skill and insight to be able to ask good questions and challenge our habitual ideas.
I found this recently when I was able to move full time into our family business Life As Art. My wife Diana Henderson has a structure she uses to talk with our photography clients about their personal or business brand – she calls it a Brand Discovery Session.
We sat down together for a little over an hour and Diana worked through the process with me as if I was one of her clients. I have to say, by about three quarters through I was feeling inspired and clear about our business and buzzing with ideas as to where we’re going and how to communicate who we are as a business. It was amazing!
If you are feeling like this “Divine Discontent” seems familiar in your business, I’d definitely recommend getting in touch with Diana to have a Brand Discovery Session. Kick start your New Year with incredible imagery that brings clarity to your marketing and ties in perfectly with the heart of your business and your personal passion.
We can’t wait to hear from you!
Murray Henderson is co-owner of Life as Art Photography with his wife Diana Henderson. Murray is master of all things structures and processes in the business and is King of the Excel Spreadsheet. His unique perspective and talents help our clients receive the very best outcomes through well designed business process that dance gracefully with Diana’s creative and intuitive insights. Together they offer businesses, big and small, the opportunity to tell their stories in powerful and memorable ways that are unique to them.