DEAR KRISTIN: I work in a prosperous, highly respected advertising firm, and I’m happy to report that I’m on my way up. The work is stimulating, my judgment and input are highly valued and I know that I am an integral part of the team. The only problem is my job involves the constant creation of content -- and I mean, high-quality content that must always be compelling, convincing, and most of the time even funny: A good ad or commercial must either tickle a funny bone or pull on the heart strings in a way that really reaches out and touches its target audience.
Here’s the deal: My brain is tired of always being “on.” I’m not sure I can maintain the steady stream of creative energy that’s required to produce this kind of continuous, high-quality content. People don’t realize that a single 30-second commercial requires hours, days, weeks and often months of painstaking, highly focused energy.
I know that I’m deserving of this promotion, and, yes, I absolutely love my work, but I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep up this pace. I’m blessed to have a river of creative energy that runs through me ... but I’m scared this river is going to dry up when I get this promotion -- then I’ll really be up the creek without a paddle.
I think my creative mind needs a bit of a break to restore itself, at least temporarily. How do I manage my need to be “on” and “off” at the same time? It’s an elusive balance ... almost impossible to maintain. Help! -- LOVE MY JOB, BUT LOOKING FOR THE OFF SWITCH
DEAR OFF-SWITCH: The good news is that you are searching for that off switch! Now you must go one step further: Find it. Make the occasional “turning off” of your brain a part of your daily rhythm. Create some moments of quiet and stillness -- not just when the noise becomes too loud and the pace becomes too frenzied, but as a natural rhythm that you incorporate into each and every day.
Any high-performance athlete is wise enough to know that the body needs periods of rest and recuperation in order to function at its maximum capacity. The same holds true for the brain: It needs periods of rest and recuperation to function at its maximum capacity. So you must create these moments -- not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the mandatory thing to do if you want to live a full and balanced life -- and if you don’t do it yourself, it’s not going to get done.
So you must create moments of stillness and silence. It will be in these moments of silence when you will be able to hear your own voice most clearly. These will also be the moments when you can make solid, soul-based decisions about your future. It sounds like this frenzied pace might not be the pace you want to continue.
Let’s face it: The world is never going to become quieter. The world will never slow down or become less competitive simply because you want it to, or because your brain happens to be tired. This means that it is completely and totally up to you to nourish and recalibrate your mind in a way that allows you to navigate this planet responsibly and joyfully.
You already know you’re good at what you do. You already know you deserve this promotion. Now treat your brain with at least that much respect and give it everything it needs and deserves, too. A quiet mind will give you the peace you deserve.