In many personal development and self-help communities, I often hear people telling one another to “do your work” or they’ll say, “That’s my/your work to do….”
But have you ever stopped to wonder:
What does it actually mean to “Do your work”?
For me, “doing your work” is shorthand for the creative grapple of becoming all that you are meant to be.
For me, this means becoming liberated and loving; empowered and empathic; conscious, connected and compassionate beings.
For me, it means reaching for your highest potential and following your soul’s deepest longings during your lifetime.
And, as we embark on this life-changing journey, we encounter various realms of inner work … including – but not limited to – these:
Doing your work means courageously addressing any unhealed pain and trauma from your past.
You befriend your stress response system, your survival strategies, your self-protective defensive styles.
You get back in your body and learn how to work WITH your physiology, instead of against it.
You seek out highly trained, trusted professionals who help you heal, instead of retraumatizing you with their good intentions but oh so human selves.
Trauma healing is not a DIY project and empathy is not enough: get yourself a good team.
ENERGY & DESIRE
Doing your work means learning to trust and connect to your intrinsic motivation, your deepest desires, your inner GPS, your wisdom.
You practice following your energy, tracking your energy, containing your energy, energizing yourself.
You start to pay attention to what energizes you, what drains you, what inspires you, what deflates you.
You learn how to work with life, instead of against life.
You spend your energy in your circles of influence, thereby expanding them.
Doing your work means expanding your sense of self, your sense of who you are.
You question your very sense of identity.
You find fragments and parts within yourself, you might discover a Witness Self, an Observer Self, a Wounded Self, a Warrior Self.
You notice your attachments and begin to let go of identities that have become too small for you.
You see yourself as just you, as part of various groups, as part of the world at large, as at-one with life.
You integrate all parts; you expand.
Doing your work means stepping into empowerment. Being strong.
You move beyond domination and submission, into collaboration and partnership with others.
You set boundaries, you get clear on your limits.
You use your internal and external resources to serve your vision of a better self and world – however you define this.
You remember your choices in any given situation, you choose from the space between stimulus and response.
THE SPACES WITHIN YOU
Doing your work means practicing self compassion and reverence for yourself and all human beings.
You reflect upon yourself, gently. You soothe yourself. Your regulate yourself.
You seek answers inside yourself, instead of outside yourself.
You take ownership of your socialization, your conditioning, you examine your beliefs, your values, your preferences, your habits.
You bring yourself down from grandiosity and specialness, and bring yourself up from shame and self-harm.
You take small steps, many times over and go for cumulative change over time – gently.
THE SPACES BETWEEN US
Doing your work means communicating consciously and courageously, from your heart.
Your interactions are intentional, aware and kind.
You say what you mean. You mean what you say.
You learn how to hear what others mean, instead of the clumsy things they say.
You don’t act out your impulses, you don’t give people the silent treatment.
You express yourself with honesty and kindness, you listen to and receive others with empathy, curiosity and dignity.
You repair rifts between yourself and others, you offer grace and forgiveness when people mess up.
Healing our trauma, unwinding our conditioning, rewiring our brains, melting frozen emotions and mindsets, opening our hearts … living from the fullest depth of our being … these are the tasks of a meaningful, creative, liberated and loving life.
Join me on this rich journey of becoming Fully Human: stronger, wiser, more compassionate, more creative.
The work you do on yourself makes a huge difference in the world.
Do. Your. Work.