Do you have a ‘thing’? It’s the word I use to describe an activity that energises, brings joy, and can make you lose track of time – five hours doing it can feel like 15 minutes. You feel alive when you do it.
I highly recommend that we all have at least one because it boosts resilience and enhances our lives. One of mine is cycling but I’m fortunate to have others as well – walking, dancing, listening to music and probably even work if I’m honest. It can take lots of forms, do you know what yours is?
Over the weekend I had an awesome chat with a friend of mine, let’s call him Tom, who has recently reconnected with an old hobby – building model aeroplanes. Tom has a busy life which includes working long hours running his own business.
Despite loving building the model airplanes at one stage of his life, the only evidence of this interest was some tools and remnant parts covered by dust and accumulated life in his shed.
Over the past couple of years, Tom has had a few serious health scares which have led to some re-evaluation of life and his values. A short time ago he decided to sell his business because he suspected that it was now negatively impacting his physical and mental health.
Initially, there wasn’t much interest, and he was a little disheartened. He’d set himself a target date to sell the business after which he’d decided he would shut it down and sell off the assets, achieving much less of a retirement nest egg and tax benefit than he would by selling it as a going concern. I encouraged him at the time to imagine what it would feel like when he sold the business and to visualise the sale taking place. Thankfully Tom is really open to such ideas.
Tom also started to dream about his semi-retired future, thinking about how he would pass his time and where he could create joy in his life. The model aeroplanes flew into his awareness, triggering thoughts of clearing out the shed and resurrecting the hobby. He allocated time for the cleanout over the festive season and got himself re-established to build the planes.
When I asked Tom how his break was going he beamed from ear to ear, explaining that he had created the most fulfilling routine which consisted of plane building and listening to music. He said he felt well and alive again. He also said that he was now in discussions with two parties interested in buying the business which certainly sounds promising.
When we do our thing it creates capacity for everything else in our life. Often people think they don’t have time for their thing but it can actually create time because it puts us in a positive mindset and energy which can make other life activities easier and can promote the creativity that can allow us to find efficiencies elsewhere.
If you haven’t found your thing yet, please be curious and try stuff out. Another friend told me last week that she’s planning to join an archery club after her son discovered it at a school camp and she found she also loved it. How cool that they’ll also get to share the experience.
I dare you to imagine how doing your thing could positively impact your 2022 …
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Donna Thistlethwaite is a Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Resilience at Work Facilitator with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE. You can find out about her next Mental Health First Aid courses here.