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Simple Ways To Stay True To Yourself In Work And In Life

Simple Ways To Stay True To Yourself In Work And In Life


DATE: 05 February, 2024

You've probably heard the expression: “Do you still have your holiday mojo?”. After a holiday we are often more relaxed, we are happy and comfortable with our lives, and this mood pervades our interactions and often reflects a gentler more tolerant side.

The question is how do you stay in touch with this? How do you nurture and hang onto the authentic you in our busy, demanding world?

I recently went on a family holiday at Tuskers Safari Lodge in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve next to the Kruger National Park, South Africa. There were some incredible sightings we had.

A lion's piercing gaze as it lay full bellied with three other pride members devouring their evening meal; a large, muscled leopard strolling languidly across the dry river bed; a baby elephant mock charging the game vehicle thrashing a branch comically on the ground with its trunk; a herd of 23 elephants, including a few month-old babies, wandering down to the water hole to drink and graze.

Here are some shots from the holiday…

Photo of a baby elephant from a safari trip in South Africa. Taken by Craig Badings.
Photo of giraffe from a safari trip in South Africa. Taken by Craig Badings.

It was a privilege to be in nature and to be a spectator to nature's way—the way it has been for centuries.

We need time outs like these to remind ourselves about what is important in life.

A time out, whether it be in the bush, at the sea, on a hike, walking, surfing, swimming, etc, has long been recognised by medical practitioners and psychologists as having important healing and restorative powers.

For me, the bush strips away all else; it cleanses the mind, soul and body. OK, so maybe a few G&T's at lunch time and sunset isn't quite in line with cleansing the body but you get the gist.

There is something even more powerful about spending quality time in that sort of environment; it forces you to slow down and makes you see what is important in life. It strips away the varying levels of BS we carry around at work, with friends, family or in our relationships.

Given enough time, a keener sense of who you are slowly emerges. Times like these are a gift and an opportunity to reconnect with your essence. It's amazing how nature can touch your soul and, in turn, put you in touch with your soul.

So how do you stay in touch with this in our busy, demanding world?

The answer lies in discovering what energises you. On the flip side, you should also train yourself to recognise the signs that you are back on the hamster wheel. The hamster wheel can be anything, like chasing the next big thing, the promotion, the new car, the next swipe right or the next overseas holiday.

It is this wheel that sees many of us fall into a pattern of busyness. In the process, we can cauterise our true essence. We do it to cope, it makes it easier to get by or we do it to fit the mould of what we think society expects of us.

If you recognise this in yourself, ask if it is draining or energising you? Do you like that person? And, if not, what can you do about it?

For me the steps are simple, but putting them into practice needs work:

  1. Do more of what energises you – For me it is time with family I love, a great meal or coffee with great company, long coastal or forest walks, surf skiing, taking time to appreciate sunsets and sunrises, and time out in any wild bush setting.
  2. Create boundaries to minimise what drains your energy or compromises your values – For me it is not setting up meetings early on the mornings that I paddle, not engaging with or disengaging with negative people, getting enough sleep, saying no to too many weekend functions/engagements, writing lists so I don't procrastinate.
  3. Have time alone – I am energised by the work I do, by my family, friends and other things, however, I sometimes need downtime from it all. I do this by surf skiing, reading or watching a great movie or series.

You should know when you are in flow. At times like this you are your unique self, you feel alive and your life has meaning and passion. But maintaining this may require sacrifices and sticking to the boundaries you set.

Choose wisely and ensure your choices align with who you really are.

My grandmother once said to me: “Stay true to yourself my boy”. At the time I was in my early 20's and muttered something like: “Of course Oma…” which is what I called her. Only years later did it start dawning on me what she really meant.

Stay true to yourself.