Supercharge Your Work Ethic And Drop Stress While Having Fun On The Job
How do you keep work from stressing you out when you work long hours? I share from my own experience. Having seen firsthand what hard work, dedication and focus can yield, I have not shied away from the tenacious dedication it takes to follow my own dreams, serve something greater than myself, and honour an unstoppable creative spark that seems to arise within me. I have a committed work ethic, due in part to being the descendant of Canadian pioneers. But I have also learned that a work ethic works best when it’s combined with efficiency, effectiveness and effervescence. That way, work is fun and fulfilling and reduces stress instead of adding to it.
Before I founded Parvati.org and dedicated myself totally to the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS) I frequently worked 14-hour days, every day of the week, with tremendous focus. Since founding Parvati.org, it is more like 20-hour days. But to me, I don’t necessarily work “hard”. I am dedicated to getting the maximum amount done with a lightness of spirit, while ensuring I am having fun. Working in joy may seem an oxymoron, yet it is truly the most natural and effective choice we could make.
Two different people run five kilometers. One, even if she is on a beautiful trail, is miserable, counting the minutes until she can stop. The other, even if she is on a treadmill, is having the time of her life, her heart pumping and arms swinging, delighting in the vitality of the moment. Whose workout is likely more effective?
Being a musical artist, yogini, author and CEO of an international non-profit, I hear from people often how lucky I am to have found my passion. They then tell me they are unhappy in their drudgery job because they have not yet found theirs. I believe it is true that knowing your life calling does provide a lightness of being. I am blessed to experience this. But feeling joy in your work is not inherently given to those who know their passion. Passion in a particular vocation can also lead to tremendous stress, tension, even illness and pain if not balanced with the notion of serving a greater whole and living beyond the whims of one’s ego.
Stress does not improve focus. It gives tunnel vision, which is not the same thing. Tunnel vision keeps you from seeing possibilities, while anxiety frays your attention span. Stress leaves you exhausted in its wake.
In any work environment, there are those who work hard and those who slack off. There are also those who work hard while achieving less, even as others, who seem jovial and relaxed, smile their way through the day and accomplish more. The latter is how I choose to work. I am reminded of the Zen meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching that even a slight curl of the sides of our lips can relax our whole body.
Greeting each morning with a quieting of my being through sitting meditation allows a clarity and relaxed focus to anchor me through my day. Then, I can receive each task I meet as a welcome opportunity to evolve, rather than as a nuisance. Whether I like something or not, I can see it as life gracing me with teachings and growth.
Nothing that we experience can ever be “happening to” us, including our workload, because that would imply that we were a disconnected victim of life. We are within the very fabric of life that sustains and supports us in each moment, through every breath. When we understand this, we naturally feel a connection with all that is. We feel an arising within us to serve the needs in the world around us, and an understanding of the greater picture. As this happens, our focus naturally deepens, because it is charged with our enthusiastic joy and anchored in a power greater than ourselves.
I believe that we can see work before us, no matter how many or few hours it may take, no matter how seemingly hard or easy it may be, as an opportunity to rest in our true luminous nature. It is up to each one of us to shake off our own sorry stories, ignite our inner light and play our part in illuminating the world. That is my work ethic. It is where I choose to place my focus, and I invite you to do the same.
Parvati is an award-winning musician (“I Am Light”, “Electro Yog”, “Yoga In The Nightclub”), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (“The Grace Mindset”, “Aonani of Avalon”, “The Three Supreme Secrets for Lasting Happiness”) and founder and CEO of the nonprofit Parvati.org. All her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS). More info: parvati.tv; parvati.org.