Happy Monday, friends! Aren’t you excited to be back at work, productive and connected and satisfied after a long, boring weekend?
What? You’re already looking forward to Friday?
Oh, my friends. That is sad. Do you know you will spend more waking hours at work than at any other one focused activity? And are you to tell me you hate those hours? That is so, so so sad.
We definitely need a family huddle, stat. Circle up.
Here’s the deal, loves. You only get one precious life. That life is measured in hours and, short of some unexpected medical miracle, you don’t get any extras.
Assuming you live the average span of about 75 years, that means you get 657,000 hours. Many of those have already been used up. When you read this, I will have just spent one of my 657,000 writing and preparing this for you. If history plays out, I will spend another one or two of mine responding to your comments and feedback. If you are reading this now, then you have agreed to give a part of one of yours to me. I am honored, and I will do my best to make it worth your investment.
And then, what? Will you spend the next eight on something you hate? Will you spend it tearing your hair out in frustration, or frantically peddling to stay ahead of the stress, or mind-numbingly engaging in some busywork task that serves some purpose that, to you, is utterly without meaning?
No wonder you hate Mondays.
So what are we going to do about it? Clearly, you can’t simply quit your job and walk away into the sunset with a “see ya, suckers.” I mean, not unless you have zero responsibilities and don’t care about eating.
I can’t tell you, of course, what you should do, but I can tell you what I do. Even though I am self-employed, I do have Mondays when I wake up dreading the week. I’m going to walk you through how I get from, “FML it’s Monday” to “All right! It’s Monday!”
Step One: I recognize what I’m feeling
Basic, right? But the truth is, the vast majority of humans walk through their entire lives without ever really allowing themselves to feel the truth of their suffering. It is a survival technique, and it works. You can in fact get all the way through life without ever really looking at your pain.
Unfortunately, if you choose that path, you will also never realize your full joy.
So take a moment and look at it. Are you stressed? Are you unhappy? Are you plodding through the week with the hope of making it to the weekend? Recognize what you’re feeling and then
Step Two: Decide to change it
You may not know how, and that’s okay. Just decide. Decide that you’re going to make a change.
Step Three: Change it
Ah, if only it were that easy, right? But, in fact, it is. Once you recognize it and decide to change it, you have only to take the next right step toward change, and change will happen.
Let me tell you what this looks like for me. As an example, a couple years ago I had built up my other brand, Scopcity, to a team of 10 writers. We were rocking and rolling. But I woke up every morning dreading work. This went on for several weeks (maybe months) before I realized it and took the time to really recognize what I was feeling.
Once I’d done that, I started to worry. The business was going great, and I didn’t want to upset the apple cart. But what the heck was I in business for myself for, if I was just going to be miserable?
So I decided I would change it.
Once I’d made that decision, then it was only a matter of figuring out what to do next. Okay, maybe not that simple. So, a few more steps:
One: Figure out what it is that you dislike
For me, in the above example, it was management. I am not a manager.
What is it that is driving you batty?
Two: Remember what it is that you like
You got into the job you’re in because there was something in it that appealed to you. What was it? For me, it was the writing. Of course.
Three: Arrange to do less of the former and more of the latter
If you’re working for someone else, you may not have a lot of control over this immediately. But take a look around your organization. Are there other people who can take on some of what you dislike? Can you trade duties with someone who does want to do those things while you take on more of what they dislike? Are there things you’re doing only because you’re afraid to stop doing them but that in fact are not adding value to your organization?
Be brave, and have a conversation with your manager. Talk to your co-workers. Be creative.
For me, this meant letting some of Scopcity’s writers go and returning my focus to writing. Of course, I didn’t simply fire folks. Everyone was on contract, and everyone got to finish the contracts they were on. Everyone got plenty of notice that the change was coming. This required that I continue to manage for a while, and it meant having some painful conversations. Your path won’t be easy either, but it will be worth it.
Four: Figure out where you want to go
This is where the magic actually happens. All the previous is just stop gap to buy you a little breathing room. If you really want to love Mondays, then you’re going to have to make some deeper changes. In short, you’re going to have to pursue your actual dreams. Scary stuff, that.
Personally, I love the tools at Wishcraft for this purpose. This (totally free) resource walks you through both how to decide where you want to go, and also how to backfill all the steps to get there, back and back until you get to action steps you can take today.
If you already know what you want to do is write full time, then how about trying your hand at a few paid freelance gigs? My guide for new copywriters can help with that.
Five: Put on your perspectacles
With a nod to Glennon, author of Love Warrior, for the term, what I refer to here is the power of the mind to change one’s reality. Not in some woo-woo (technical term) way, but in a very real, tangible way.
For me, this means remembering why I do what I do. If you’re going to work every day and it’s a drain, you may not be able to change that instantaneously. But you can instantaneously change how you feel about it by remembering why you do it.
Do you have children? Every hour you spend at work is an hour spent in a labor of love, then, right? It’s putting food on their table and a roof over their head.
Nothing reminds me of this more than when I’ve had an opportunity to meet and converse with homeless neighbors through our city’s Room In The Inn program. After hearing their heartbreaking stories of lost jobs, lost family members, lost connections, and their valiant attempts to find reliable income to put a roof over their heads… after seeing a three-year-old girl with her mom hop onto a bus that will take them to their shelter-for-the-night, with everything they own in a few bags… when I get home and walk into my warm, cozy house with three children asleep in their beds (or on the living room floor, whatever), I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
And then I go on to my work with joy and gratitude, remembering that whatever discomfort and stress I experience, all of it is holy work, for all of it is the work of love.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t work like heck toward bigger dreams, and you shouldn’t give up your dreams either, just because you have children (or whatever it is you think is holding you back). Build your dreams, then put legs under them.
Ah, and I promised to tell you how to make Monday your favorite day. Here it is: As soon as you can, make Mondays sacred. Refuse to do client work on Mondays and instead focus on your own career. Write your novel. Compose your screenplay. Write letters to other writers. Improve your LinkedIn profile. Assemble your portfolio. Do something to advance YOUR dreams. Your clients can wait till Tuesday.
Tell me. What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?