Auto-Pilot Living

December 14, 2017

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” ~ Henri Bergson

Change can be tough. It’s part of life—literally as our cells die off and new ones show up—but we often resist it when it comes our way. There’s no avoiding change; though I do try. 🙂  I think that’s part of the challenge for me.

Change and Comfort

I really like my comfort zone, even when I’m a little tired of the same thing and I know I’m not growing as a person or a writer. Some of it’s familiarity, some of it is laziness, and some of it is having an automatic response to something. This last one is what I want to focus on.

Auto-Pilot Living

Once we master a skill, it shifts into our subconscious and we no longer have to think about the steps it takes to perform the skill. At one time I had to learn to tie my shoes or button a shirt; now I can perform those tasks automatically; I don’t even think about it while I’m doing it.

I think this transfers somewhat to the decisions I make—or don’t make—around my writing projects and my career.

A few months back I was feeling vaguely dissatisfied, but didn’t know why. I was doing all the things I loved: teaching and presenting, doing a few critiques and an occasional consult, making time to write here and there, participating in my critique group meetings, writing my newsletter and my blog, etc etc.

All of it was great stuff, stuff I liked. So where was this dissatisfaction coming from?

At first I though it was because I was lacking balance—everything I was doing was connected to my writing and I am more than my writing career. And I think that was part of it. But even after getting invited to help lead a women’s spiritual retreat again, even after starting to learn to juggle (which is hard!), I still had that vague feeling of dissatisfaction.

I realized it was because this aspect of my career had become automatic. I was on auto-pilot. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, not that I wasn’t giving my all, but I had stopped challenging myself or pushing myself to be better.

Awareness and Change

I started consciously looking at each aspect of my life—teaching, critiquing, consulting, presenting, marketing work (newsletter, this blog, social media) and writing—and asked myself if I was still enjoying it and if not, what was I going to do about it, and if so, what could I do to push it to the next level for myself and the people involved.

I came up with some approaches that I’ll share next week, along with how things have shifted for me internally.