The one question I love to ask someone new I meet whether it is in a work or personal setting is “What keeps you up at night?”. For some reason I want to hear about what it is that this individual cannot stop thinking about. It can shed light into what motivates them or what occupies there time or more often than not it could be what they are afraid of.
Within the past two weeks I have had more conversations about fear and motivation than I can ever remember having. The most interesting part is that in all instances the subject was brought up by the other party I was speaking with. I am not sure if this means that I am in a place where others believe I am fearful of my current state or if it is that I am having broader conversations about life at this time. To any end, these conversations have been thought provoking in evaluating how decisions are made on a daily basis, pushing me to think past the surface.
When you really are pushed to think about why you are making decisions, it is clear to see that the majority of us are operating out of fear. Fear of not having money, fear of ending up out on the street with no shelter, fear of disappointment, fear of not fitting the mold or fear of failure. As I have begun to evaluate why I have made and currently make decisions I have found that it is really quiet difficult to make decisions without fear as a motivator. I want to say that I am making decisions because I want to be happy or I find joy in something – but this is not as easy or clear cut as one would wish. I have been trying to sort through the why’s of all of my treatment decisions and when having to make quick life related decisions it is often that it comes down to fear. When I made these decisions I had to gather the best information available to me and make a decision which would give me the best chance at survival. It wasn’t about whether this would make me happy or bring exciting times to my life, it was purely about ensuring my basic needs were met. And that is it, making decisions based upon meeting our basic needs.
Our basic needs, described by Maslows hierarchy of needs (I provided a link so you can read for yourself), are truly what motivates our daily decisions. With the base of the hierarchy being physiological and safety needs, it is natural that is where we spend the most of our time. But how do we move past this and find where enough is enough so we can focus on Love, Esteem and Self-Actualization? How can we get to a point where a much greater amount of time is focused on becoming the best version of one’s self. I believe it will only happen if we stand together to ensure the basics become less of a fight and more of a norm. I know this is aspirational and may sound a little crazy, but it should be an aspiration for all of us. We need to fight through the fear in order to find what can truly make us happy.
Do you ever think about why you do your job or why you love what you do (if you do)? I have been in a position to truly love what I do since I can first remember. It is in this particular job right now that I love what I do for what it stands for. My team and I have the responsibility of making sure the basic needs are met for our teammates. If an individual comes to work so they can meet their basic needs of putting food on the table and a roof over their head, then we are responsible for making sure they receive their paycheck on time as well as their health insurance. It is our job to make sure they feel secure if they have done their role in part by coming and working for our organization. This is what has fulfilled me, knowing I can help at the most basic level. Now I want to help at the next level – helping both myself and others to meet the desire to be the most that we can be. I don’t have the answers yet, but do know that I am looking. I am looking to defy the need to live in fear and fight for finding a way to focus on making decisions for the sake of true happiness and fulfillment.
With this in mind, take a second to think about what is keeping you up at night. Does it need to? Is there something you can do to change your circumstance? Any small step may help you to move past the fear of the current and towards what you truly want to become.
Real life update:
I have just completed my second round of chemotherapy, bringing my recovery period to a close in the next day or so. I was delayed in getting another blog posting as I was having such a good time enjoying my good days before I had another treatment. My treatment was on Wednesday and this session went a bit quicker, only 6 hours in the chair. I was not given the same amount of steroids this time and in turn was very tired and even slept through part of my treatment. Overall this round was not as tough on my body as the first, thank goodness! Since treatment I have been sleeping the majority of the weekend and am finally starting to get my energy back just in time for normal life to kick-in.
I am thankful for my cousin Lauren who joined me in Nashville this week and kept me company while I recovered. This experience continues to be a blessing in so many ways as it brings me closer to many around me and helps me to slow down and appreciate the little things.
I will continue to get my blood counts weekly and will adjust life based on what we see. My red blood cell count has been low the entire time and took a slight dip. I am hoping this goes up as I don’t want to delay any treatments which would extend the journey. Now I enjoy the next two weeks before the next planned treatment on February 21st.
Today is also World Cancer Day. If you can spare it, take the time to connect with someone if your life who has been affected by this disease.