Do you experience conflict between following your own path, obligations to others and the need to generate income? Most of us do, that is why an estimated 80% of North Americans are unhappy with their jobs, careers or business activities.
We might not yet be in a position where we can remove this type of conflict from our lives, but we do have a choice in how we deal with it.
Today I start my annual, temporary and part-time return to one of my former activities. I approach the return much more positively than in the two previous years, let me tell you why that should be so and what I will be doing.
Previous posts have dealt with my move to Canada and involvement in farming here. That involvement has been very different to running my own farm back in Africa.
The farming families in the area where I now live, were exceptionally good to me when I first arrived almost as a refugee 9 years ago. So good that I decided to live in this area and build a working relationship with them by providing irrigation and greenhouse services.
A heart attack in 2010 put an end to that business and gave me a sharp reminder that I had been drifting along in a familiar – if uncomfortable – rut for too long. Despite fiddling around with various on-line opportunities, I had put off making a real effort to develop a new business that did not require the long hours of physical work that I was doing
After the heart attack, I was determined that I would not return to any farm type work even if the doctors gave me the anticipated go ahead after six months. My determination was driven by the frustration of doing what I had formerly paid other people to do as much as the relatively low return on time invested.
In the Spring of 2011, one of my former clients asked me if I would be able to spend two hours a day supervising several greenhouses for the three-month growing season, I agreed for three reasons:
- I desperately needed more income.
- I felt an obligation to help because of all the help he had given me previously.
- After six months spent on the computer, I welcomed the opportunity to spend time outside.
Part of me saw the need to accept the offer as failure, financial need showed I had not achieved my goals. The reality was that the income was useful, the short time each day did not make a huge difference to my business building activities, I did enjoy being outside in the sun and I benefited from increased physical activity.
What I did not enjoy was having to adopt a schedule of starting my tour of the greenhouses at the same time every morning, 7 days a week and returning again in the evenings on very hot or unusually cold, windy days for an additional inspection. More proof that I am terminally unemployable in a conventional job!
At the end of the three months, I vowed that I would not allow myself to be in a position where I would need or feel obliged, to do it again.
Last year the same farmer asked me again, for the same reasons I agreed. For the same reasons, I vowed that would be the last time.
This year for the same reasons, I am about to do it again! I am determined that this will be the last time. That determination allows me to look at the time I will be spending on the farm as a welcome diversion and an opportunity for serious daily thinking and planning time away from the computer. By looking at it this way and as a way to express my appreciation for the help I have received, I can see it as a positive experience and not a failure.
How do you deal with similar conflicts in your life?
Wishing you success.