A couple of weeks ago I lost some of the vision in my left eye. Apparently it’s related to high blood pressure, which I’ve never had before.
My wake-up call wasn’t really a shock, though. There were plenty of hints along the way, which I chose to ignore. The thing is, I love my work, but I’ve allowed it to take precedence over other things that matter in my life. I’ve known for a long time that I needed to get more exercise and take time to smell the roses. I guess I thought I could always worry about those things later.
Well, today I turn 57. It’s clearly time for me to make some long-overdue lifestyle changes. If I don’t pay attention now, I figure I’ll have even more to deal with later.
What is a wake-up call?
A wake-up call is a message that change is necessary. By the time it comes, it’s usually in the form of a full-blown crisis.
According to Merriam-Webster, a crisis is a “turning point for better or worse.” It’s “the decisive moment.” If it’s not already too late, a crisis is also an opportunity to finally get things right.
Wake-up calls can happen in any area of your life, including your work.
Career wake-up calls
I’ve had clients who watched their companies downsize, saw their colleagues either fired or laid off, yet they stayed, thinking it wouldn’t happen to them. Others endured a toxic, stressful work environment for years, and then ended up having to leave because they became too ill to work.
Maybe you’re staying in a job you no longer enjoy – performing work that no longer honors who you are, or working alongside people who don’t appreciate what you have to offer.
Or like me, you become so immersed in your work you forget to honor the other aspects of your life.
Listening to the warning signs
You don’t have to wait for a wake-up call like I did. If you pay attention to what’s happening – with your health, your workplace, your relationships – you’ll know when something isn’t right, when it’s time to make some changes in your life. Listen to your feelings of dissatisfaction and hear what those warning signs are telling you, before a crisis occurs.
It’s so easy to cruise through life and not take notice of what our bodies or our hearts are telling us.
But when you live your life authentically, in tune with your needs and values, the different facets of who you are will be in alignment. The way you live and work will be congruent with what’s going on inside of you.
This requires checking in with yourself on a regular basis.
As for me… I’ve already started making changes in my life, ones I’ve been “meaning” to do for a long time. I’ve made a commitment to myself to:
- Have more fun. For me, work can be relaxing. But as much as I enjoy it, I know I need to balance it with play. This includes spending more time with my family and friends, and getting to the beach more often (which, after all, is only 5 minutes away)!
- Exercise regularly. I used to love taking long, brisk walks, so that’s what I’m starting with. I’ll also be adding weights and stretching exercises into my new, healthier lifestyle.
- Respect my body’s wisdom. I will pay better attention to the messages I receive from my body. I will no longer ignore what I hear.
- Do a better job of walking my talk. I often talk about the importance of working and living authentically. My intention is to make sure that my actions are a true reflection of my values and beliefs. That includes honoring the commitments I’ve made here.
Have you ever had a wake-up call? How did your life change?