Let the Pain of Not Knowing Lead You

A few nights ago, Chris and I watched a documentary called Prescription Thugs, which is essentially about the prescription opioid epidemic in the United States. I can't say I'd really recommend the film, but it got me thinking about a dark side of our boot strappin', problem-solving culture: careers work pain coaching megan leatherman

Many of us believe that pain is always bad.

Sometimes pain is a bad sign - it can be your body's indication that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.

Other times, however, pain is a good thing. Pain protects us by making sure we don't touch hot surfaces, run into sharp objects, or hurt ourselves in other ways.

Pain can also be a necessary gateway we have to pass through in order to get to the other side of something.

This has been on my mind a lot as I approach giving birth in just a couple of months. Well-meaning moms and doctors have often shared horror stories about the pain of childbirth, and there's a whole narrative swirling around that says "pain in childbirth is bad, so get rid of it."

The epidural and other pain-relieving medications have been lifesavers for many moms, and I believe every woman should be given the opportunity to give birth in whatever way she wants to - painlessly, painfully, or otherwise.

But the idea that pain is automatically bad is wrong - in childbirth and in personal growth, the pain is necessary in order to complete the cycle of bringing new life into the world.

Not knowing what to do with our gifts can be incredibly painful.

Sometimes the question feels so big that we just want to avoid it, hopping from misfit job to misfit job. But the denial that something is painful or the belief that it shouldn't be painful can actually make things worse. As the Zen master Alan Watts says:

"There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering."

Finding your way and giving birth to your gifts is excruciating sometimes, and that doesn't mean that you're doing anything wrong.

The pain of not knowing can actually help us get to the knowing if we'll sit with it, stop pretending that it's not happening, and maybe even befriend it.

careers work pain coaching megan leatherman

If there's a part of you that hurts because you feel like you've lost your way in life or your career, I'd encourage you to try something a little "out there" but incredibly effective:

Ask the pain what it needs.

Imagine the pain as a color or a shape inside of you - give it some texture and dimension. Approach it lovingly. Then ask: what do you need right now?

Maybe it just needs time to work itself out. Maybe it needs you to do that thing you're afraid to do. Maybe you won't get a straight answer right away, but keep paying attention to how it feels in your body. Notice it and try not to be afraid of its presence.

The pain you feel can be a gift - it indicates that there's something more for you out there.

If you can lovingly accept the pain of not knowing, you give yourself the space and self-compassion you need in order to find what you seek.

Not knowing what you want to do in your worklife can feel incredibly isolating, which is why it's so important to surround yourself with others who are positive and encouraging. The Facebook group I facilitate is one such community, and I invite you to join us.

I'm Taking Space to Re-invigorate

Hi lovely readers, I wanted to let you know that I'll be taking some time away from writing between now and December 27th to do two things: 1) rest and enjoy the season, and 2) think about how to re-invigorate The Integrated Workplace.

It's hard to believe that I've been writing two blog posts per week for over a year now, and to be honest, I'm feeling a bit tired. I also wonder how you're feeling and am thinking about how I can tweak the format, rhythm, and flow in a way that re-energizes things for all of us.

So, I will most definitely be back, I'm just not sure in what exact form :) My guess is that I'll mix the writing up with content in other mediums, but stay tuned!

If you're feeling a little worn down in an area of your work, this is the perfect time of year to take some space from it so that you can see it in a new light. Once you give yourself permission to look at things anew and make them work for you, the gifts flow much more easily.

You *might* hear from me on the Winter Solstice if I'm feeling inspired, but otherwise, keep an eye out for a post from me on Tuesday, December 27th!

I'll still be active in our Facebook community, A Wild New Work, and you're welcome to join me there!

Take good care of yourselves in this dark time before the sun starts to return next week!

xo,

Megan

Words Aren't Always What They're Cracked Up to Be

Sometimes, I just want it to be quiet. Lately I've been craving more silence and fewer words. I've spent a lot of time just looking at images, letting them cradle me until I feel renewed again.

In the spirit of sharing that space with you and maybe, just maybe, connecting with you at a deeper level, I want to share some of my favorite images with you in lieu of a traditional word-heavy post. 

I hope these images evoke something creative, wild, and free inside of you - no matter where you are, how you're feeling, or what you do for work.

megan leatherman career coach and human resources consultant

megan leatherman career coach and human resources consultant megan leatherman career coach and human resources consultantmegan leatherman career coach and human resources consultant

megan leatherman career coach and human resources consultantmegan leatherman career coach and human resources consultant

megan leatherman career coach and human resources consultant megan leatherman career coach and human resources consultant megan leatherman career coach and human resources consultant megan leatherman career coach and human resources consultant