Discovering LoveWork

Hi, I’m Nikki. I’m a creative, idea leader, foodie in Washington, DC. The last time I was writing regularly was over three years ago, and I was writing mostly about food and style. That amazingly led me to career at CAVA which has transformed my life in so many ways. It’s brought me incredible joy, people, and an outlet for hyper creativity.

My work is me. But I have more than one work. I’ve slowed writing and idea creating for myself, and that’s partly why I’m here now. I want to write and I have an idea.

The other part is because recently I feel like I’ve lost a sense of my identity. Those wiser than me may say that this is normal and part of life. It will come back to you. But to be honest, I’ve been panicking. This is what my panic looks like:

I’m anxious. When it’s really bad I react by trembling and uncontrollably slapping my hands. And crying. (Which will definitely be something I write about more.) It has always been easy to express my emotions, but recently I’ve suppressed them for the sake of others, which always makes me feel worse. I relish the quiet, my me time, which has become so comfortable to me except for the moments when I realize I’m actually very alone and that place feels dark. At times I’ve shut out and dismissed relationships, even the people who I love the absolute most, because I feel unable to talk to them about my life. Because I don’t understand my life. This has been a year of significant personal and professional change. It has just rocked me. I used to be so confident. I’m not very confident right now. I question everything. It’s pretty scary not knowing yourself.

I need to know myself again. And I need for it to be ok that there will be times it won’t be so clear. Through counsel of friends, professionals, and strangers, I’m working toward getting back to a new me. I’ve realized that these things are not just my issues. Many of my friends feel similarly about their lives at times and we all put our hands up in the air and shrug that this is just life and it’s complicated being an adult with outrageously amazing ambitions. It’s messy and there’s not enough time to reflect on your choices.

It pisses me off when others don’t consider me “strong” which is quite common (but really, who cares what they think). The thing I’m actually most proud of is my self-made resilience. I know that I can grow from this particular time of insecurity and unknown. You can too. And we all need adaptable tools to help us be resilient and confident.

I’ve been asking myself these major questions in hopes to make some sense of of the changes and confusion I’ve been feeling:

  • Why do we do the things we do in our lives? (I mean those things that truly define who we are) And what makes us good at them?
  • How do bring our full selves to the things we do? Weaknesses and emotions and uncertainties included?
  • How can emotion be accepted, even celebrated in all parts of our life? Why does it have to be a bad word?
  • When do know when to stick with something and when to move on?
  • How do we live a full life with so many seemingly competing priorities and goals?

This are BIG questions. With many complicated answers. But one answer to all of these questions came to me recently.

LoveWork.

LoveWork is about discovering and celebrating the choice for one full life. It’s about de-compartmentalizing — not having choose your job over your health or your friends, or feeling bad when those are “unbalanced” in any day. And at the same time it’s about wholeness of your emotions and bringing all of them to what you do — because they make you good at it. LoveWork is a guidepost for decision making and knowing yourself. It’s about love for your work and working at what you love. It’s knowing that nothing will be worth it, if you don’t love the hell out of it and work the hell out of it equally. And it’s how you wake up the next day and do it again — your relationship, your side-hustle, your injury rehabilitation — because love and work together, works.

So I’m asking myself, is this LoveWork? Does it make you feel? Does it make you want to hustle? If yes, keep it and keep going.

I’m going to be exploring LoveWork more. In the past few weeks it has helped me make decisions and find some inner balance. Where this leads, I don’t know yet, but I would love to hear from you about it.

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