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Polar bear or Penguin?

Im sure you have all seen the videos that have done the rounds on the internet, the polar bear dragging his head along the ground with the captions, ‘Monday, dragging yourself to work', as he drags himself along decidedly non- plussed about the world. And then there is the penguin leaping about like a mad thing with the caption ‘Going home on Friday!'

Do you live for the weekend? Do you dread Monday mornings and get that sharp knot sometime early Sunday afternoon as your mind starts to turn to the week at work you have ahead of you?

Or are you that person that leaps out of bed in the morning ready to get to work and stuck in because you love your job, are inspired by it or feel that its really fulfilling?

Most of us unfortunately resonate with that Monday to Friday feeling: Planning out the week. Thinking about all those meetings, hundreds of emails and stuff to get done…. Presentations, briefs to write, checklists, project deadlines and often long days. Keeping your boss happy, or even being the boss and feeling responsible for all your team and staff! Our hearts sink and we get that heavy feeling.

95% of us get stuck in the 9-5/6/7/8 grind. We think that this is how life is. We have been bought up with the expectation that we need to get a solid job and work had and pay our bills. End of. We live to work, not work to live. Or maybe, depending on how you see it, we are just counting down the days each week so we can get to Friday; get out, have fun and do all those things that make us tick, make us smile, have passion and adventure, growth and enjoyment in our lives. And worse still some people get to the weekend and are so exhausted by the week past that they collapse on the sofa and do nothing! This last Monday the 6th Feb was National sickie day - the day that traditionally most people take a sick day - around 350000 people or so or more! The days are long and cold. Christmas jollity is passed, spring is nowhere in sight, its damp and often the days are grey. Dry January is over, Super Bowl weekend is finished.

I have seen in the past few years in particular that many more people are opting to take more control over this work life balance and the way we perceive our jobs. Some become contractors. Others start their own agency or business. Some quit completely, opting for a total lifestyle change away from the rat race. They did this because they want something more. they want to get out of the grind, they feel that the eternity of life being like this week in week out, month in month out is more than they can bear. So they get up and do something new, they make a change.

I hear the rest say, ‘yes but Ive got a young family, bills, commitments, I can’t just up sticks and do what I want!’ They feel the barriers coming down, they feel stuck in their rituals, and not least the every day slog and worse still, their mindset that this is all that they can have.

Is that really true?

We know there is a lot of evidence out there that the more happy, driven and content you are by living something that meets your own values and purpose that in actual fact whilst getting started or making the change can seem and feel challenging that it brings a great deal more fulfilment. In terms of people making the break and becoming entrepreneurs, the UK is now leading the way along with the Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand and France (OECD ref) People are using their feet and their brains to create a new reality. Its not easy. It takes hard work, and effort, but driven by a need to succeed, change their reality and create something new that they are passionate about, they are getting up off the sofa and doing it. When you are doing something you feel is in synchronicity with you, your purpose and your passion, getting out of bed on a Monday morning is no longer a slog!

When we look at the speed, technology and pressures on the average household that daily life and grind represent, surely its important to look at what really makes you motivated, fulfilled and gain balance in your life?

In truth, none of us need to be the polar bear, we could all be the penguin, every day. But its down to each of us to change our perspective, and focus on the things that make us tick, make us passionate and give us purpose.

If you ask yourself one question today make it this:

If I had no limits what would I do today and tomorrow and then next?

Its the first step to breaking out of Monday misery and that long slow drag at the start of every week. Make the choice to leap out of bed every day..........

penguin image curtesy of BenCranke/NPL

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