OK, I'm Starting to Get it NowJun 11, 2010
by Dennis Blank
photo by Nicola Vetter
(... or The Five Components of Well-Being)
Dear Coach Lou: I think some of this coaching stuff is starting to sink in a little. Is it acceptable to you if I agree that I will try whatever techniques you suggest but I get to work them into my life on my own timetable? I know you think I'm a turtle when it come to the pace of my effort, but let's not forget who beat the hare in the big race either. I just find that if I let ideas rattle around inside my head for a while they often make more sense to me than when I first hear them.
For example, at this exact moment I'm not getting much traction on seeing examples of people and things around me that I might find interesting or fulfilling to be a part of. But that may be because I'm spending most of my time packing boxes and preparing to leave forever (that's a long time, I know) the area in which I've spent most of my adult life living.
This year is largely a search for community I guess. I am a part of a number of very comforting communities, but they are mostly of the near-virtual variety in the sense that the community's members, while real, are geographically scattered and are able to convene as one only occasionally. I get a lot from these groups, but I need a more regular sense of community in my life.
I used to get this from my relationships at work, but that is now another community gone virtual. After living here more than 30 years I know that New York could never fill the bill; it's just too big and too New York. And while the little Florida town I've been living in the past five months is pleasant enough, I don't think it's the place either. I don't know why exactly, it's just not me.
So this is a big thing I'm working on. I need to find a place I can feel a part of for the relatively long haul. Over the course of the next 6-8 months I plan on sampling life in a small town in Massachusetts, a smaller town in Vermont, a virtual town in the Nevada desert (Burning Man!), some more fun in Florida, and a month in Santiago, Chile. Then I'll have to decide. But I'll worry about that later.
Yea! I know this stuff works if you stick with it and give it a try. I do not think you are a turtle and I respect your time frame. I think you need to leave a little time to absorb the impact of what you are doing and appreciate the difficulty in letting go. I believe you need to let go of things for other things to appear, so once you feel you have been able to move on, the people and things which will fill Life 3.0 will appear.
I did just read in the book "Well Being" by Tom Rath and Jim Harter of the Gallup Organization, that there are five components to well-being. They are Career Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing, Financial Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing and Community Wellbeing. I am not 100 percent sure but I think you have most of them except Career Wellbeing handled. Career Wellbeing refers to anything that you do for most of the day that shapes your identity. It may be a job, volunteer position, parenting, etc. but it is important that you enjoy it. You know why? Because Career Wellbeing is the most essential of the five elements to your overall sense of well being.
And you won't believe this, but according to the book, our wellbeing actually recovers more rapidly from the death of a spouse than from sustained unemployment! You don't have to be earning a paycheck just getting to do something that you enjoy everyday. And in your case that thing must be meaningful. If you wonder why I am pushing the timetable a little, it is because the book suggests that you find something to do before a year's time (to increase social contact and eliminate boredom). Otherwise it is possible for depression to set in and we don't want that.
So while you might feel like searching for community, I think your Community Wellbeing might materialize once you have established Career Wellbeing. The other thing is to make short-term choices that will actually contribute to your long term goals. So move to the new place, visit other places as a way of sampling where you feel comfortable in the long run.
As far as Burning Man goes, Adam Lambert made the decision to try out for American Idol after a week there and look how far it got him (2nd place). Keep your eyes and ears open.
Coach Lou is a co-founder of Chain Reaction Partners, an executive and leadership training consultancy in Boulder, Colorado. d'blank is the author of The Daily Blank blog.