Rekindling Their Spark – Can You Be A Guide On The Side? (Spirit)
March 28, 2017
Is there someone in your world who is uninspired, apathetic, disinterested? Seems dissatisfied and less than engaged? Shows signs of rusting out, coasting on autopilot or being stuck in the swamp?
Maybe you feel concerned, and you’re not sure how to help. Rest assured, there are things you can do.
The first thing to know – and share – is that malaise is a common and often recurring life experience. At first, each new venture seems fresh and exciting. Eventually it becomes old and familiar.
Understanding that this ‘loss of luster’ is a normal part of the ebb and flow of life reassures those who find themselves mired in the mud.
In a recent survey, 95% of respondents reported they had experienced malaise in their lives. 57% in their forties. 53% in their fifties. 39% in their thirties. And even 20% in their twenties.
Many people experience a dip in satisfaction part way through their lives as they come to terms with unmet expectations. Although life may be ‘good’, it may not feel ‘great’. Some feel discouraged by a loss of passion. They’ve run out of dreams and goals; or they’ve become creatures of habit and stopped learning new things. Others question whether they are really creating the kind of legacy they had hoped to leave along the way.
Sometimes all that’s needed is a sense of possibility. – Rachel Remen
Beyond normalizing the experience, here are other actions you can take to support people as they set about rekindle their enthusiasm for life.
Reach out to connect and open a conversation. Let them know what you’re noticing. Ask what they think and how they feel about their situation.
Listen in a deep respectful way. Sometimes what others need most is an opportunity to give voice to what’s going on inside. They may not need or want someone else to step in and try to ‘fix’ the situation. They simply need to hear themselves say out loud the ideas that may be rolling around in their minds or drifting through their subconscious.
Offer encouragement. Perhaps there is a first step they are already considering, and they could use a cheerleader at the starting line. Letting others know you care about their situation and will be there as they move forward is one way to lift their spirits.
Share other perspectives and fresh ideas. Maybe you have wrestled with malaise and moved through it in your own life, but not yet shared that story. This could be the time. Or, you may know of friends and colleagues who have publicly shared their journeys. Some of those experiences might have relevance to the person you are supporting.
Extend an invitation to try something new. Novel experiences can help people jump their ruts and set off in a more promising direction. Sometimes being exposed to new possibilities is all it takes to develop a fresh and invigorating point of view.
Express appreciation for who the person is and what they do. When suffering from malaise, people can easily tilt to the dark side and color everything in their lives as negative and problematic. Most periods of stuck-ness are temporary. And ‘all or nothing’ thinking and an exaggerated sense of catastrophe add unnecessary weight to the situation.
Deliver honest feedback and straight talk. If you know the person well, you may be in a position to kindly question some of their assumptions in ways that will help them get a clearer grip on problems and possibilities.
Model engagement and renewal in your own life. In all things, we give greater credence to ‘what people do’ over ‘what people say’. Pay close attention to your own well-being. Stay as engaged as possible in your own life roles. When you model a pro-active approach to re-invention and re-direction it gives others hope and courage to step out in new directions of their own.
And finally… a cautionary note. Stay alert to the difference between malaise (a temporary fog that comes and goes) and depression (a dark and heavy cloud that feels like it will stay forever). Although your support will always to be important to someone who suffers from depression, that more serious situation calls for professional expertise. Help them access that sooner rather than later.
PAUSE – 16.20 – Are You Standing Up & Stepping Out?
June 15, 2016
As I grow older, I seem to become less concerned about knowing how things will end before I commit to a start.
Maybe I’m more confident in my ability to handle whatever comes up.
Or maybe I’ve realized that imagining I control the outcomes is mostly an illusion anyway.
I do know that I’ve been around the block enough times to realize that the sheer act of beginning something new opens doors and invites possibilities that are never apparent when you’re hunkered down on the sidelines wondering, ‘Should I…?’
Are you toying with trying something new? Why not find a low risk way to stand up, step out, and test the waters?
Let yourself be surprised and amazed. And, let me know how it goes!
It’s just over a year since I stood up and stepped out to explore the challenges of mid life malaise. Some of you will remember responding to a survey on that topic in early 2015.
Since then, I’ve used the results of that research to craft a variety of programs on Rekindling Spark – Navigating Mid Life Malaise. Over the last six months, I’ve designed and delivered a Ted Talk, a conference keynote, a follow up breakout session, and a half day seminar.
There’s nothing like stepping out and testing new material to see if it makes a contribution and a difference. And, this most certainly does. (more…)
PAUSE 16.12 – PAT ANSWERS VIDEO: Malaise – How Do You Help Those Caught In The Grip?
April 20, 2016
Welcome to the final episode in this six part series of short (3 minute) videos that explore the new topic I’ve been developing: Rekindling The Spark – Navigating Mid-Life Malaise.
The first module in the Engagement Series that I am delivering for the University of Saskatchewan Edwards School of Business is already sold out with a waiting list.
There may, however, be a few spots left in modules two and three. Check here for details on the programs and registration info.
Travel Cost Savings:
In addition to speaking at programs in and around Saskatoon, I now know that I will be presenting at events in these locations in the months ahead:
Toronto (late April)
Edmonton & Regina (June)
If you might be needing a speaker for an event or a professional development program in one of those locations around those times, give me a call (306-934-1807). I’m always happy to save on travel time, and share travel costs between clients whenever possible.
PAUSE 16.08 – PAT ANSWERS VIDEO: Malaise – Meeting The Challenge
March 23, 2016
Welcome to the fourth in a six part series of short (3 minute) videos that explore the new topic I’ve been developing: Rekindling The Spark – Navigating Mid-Life Malaise.
This reminder is for those of you who may be planning professional development activities and serving on conference planning committees.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been featuring a lot of the ideas from the programming I’m delivering on the Rekindling The Spark/Navigating Mid Life Malaise topic.
In addition to that topic, I continue to provide keynotes, concurrents and workshops in these two areas:
Wellness/Stress/Balance/Self Care/ Renewal
Do keep me in mind if you have needs or interests that fall in any of these areas. At several upcoming conferences, I’m delivering multiple sessions on different topics at the same event.
Simple Pleasures Art Show Update
The Spring Thing Art Show & Sale held March 20th was a great success. Half of the images in the series found new homes – either with those who attended in person or those who made offers at a distance.
If you missed the event, know that it’s not too late. The remaining 13 images are still available. You can check them out at this link.
Thanks for all the live and virtual support for my art.
PAUSE 16.06 – PAT ANSWERS VIDEO: Malaise – Just An ‘Old Folk’s Problem?
March 9, 2016
Welcome to the third in a six part series of short (3 minute) videos that explore the new topic I’ve been developing: Rekindling The Spark – Navigating Mid-Life Malaise.
New Art Website Now Live: For those of you who follow my art adventures, I have now launched my new Pauseworks Studio fine art website. It features a Blog, an Events and Projects section, and a Gallery with familiar links to my images posted on the Fine Art America site.
You can check it out at: www.patkatzart.com. In the footer of the home page on the new website, you’ll find an invitation to subscribe to receive email notices of updates to the art blog. I hope you’ll sign up so you’re sure to get the latest news.
Also, stay tuned for further details on the ‘Simple Pleasures’ Art Event scheduled for the afternoon of the first day of Spring, March 20th. You’ll be able to take part in person – or virtually. Complete details will be posted to the new art blog.
Reminder – Pause Plan 2016: In case you missed the earlier memo, for 2016 the traditional format Pause ezines will be delivered every second week. In alternate weeks, I’m presenting a series of projects (like this video series) that I hope you’ll find of interest.
PAUSE 16.04 – PAT ANSWERS VIDEO: Malaise – Who Cares? Why Does It Matter?
February 24, 2016
Welcome to the second in a six part series of short (3 minute) videos that explore the new topic I’ve been developing: Rekindling The Spark – Navigating Mid-Life Malaise.
New Art Website In The Works: If you enjoy the art from the Pauseworks Studio, you might be interested to learn that I’m working on the design for a new fine art website and blog, featuring new works as well as stories from behind the scenes.
I’ve been challenged as I navigate the wordpress software. But, heh, a little stretching and a lot of learning can be very good things. I’ll let you know when it goes live.
Last Call: Are you one of the 134 Pause readers who have already entered your name in the draw to celebrate my 30 years in biz? If not, you’ll find the scoop on the three prizes and entry details at Celebrating The Leap. Draws will be made February 29th.
PAUSE 16.02 – PAT ANSWERS VIDEO: What Is Malaise Anyway?
February 10, 2016
Welcome to the first in a six part series of short (3 minute) videos that explore the new topic I’ve been developing: Rekindling The Spark – Navigating Mid-Life Malaise.
Today’s focus: Malaise – What Is It Anyway? Other topics in this series will be released in the weeks ahead. For details on what’s coming up, see below.
Just click on the image below to access the video for this episode. Enjoy!
Watch for upcoming PAT ANSWERS Videos in this series:
Episode #2: Malaise – Who cares? Why does it matter?
Episode #3: Malaise – Isn’t it just an ‘old folks’ problem?
Episode #4: Malaise – How do people deal with the challenge?
Episode #5: Malaise – What can you do to find your way through?
Episode #6: Malaise – How do you help those caught in the grip?
Engagement Series – I’m partnering with the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan to deliver three spring sessions as part of a brand new Engagement Series. Sessions include: Fueling Enthusiasm, Boosting Energy & Tapping Passion. Sign up for one or save a bundle by registering for all three. This link takes you to the Engagement Series Info.
Pick Me – Are you one of the 94 Pause readers who have already entered your name in the draw to celebrate my 30 years in biz? If not, you’ll find the scoop on the three prizes and entry details at Celebrating The Leap.
PAUSE – 15.37 – Me & Fred & A Date With TED
December 2, 2015
My Thoughts: Well, truth be told, there is no Fred. It just rhymes so well, I couldn’t resist!
My gift to you today, is the link to that message. A click of either the image or the title will take you to the video.
What’s it about? Causes of malaise, common responses, a three-step process to help you navigate your way through life’s transitional fog, and examples of others who are making their way to what comes next.
Grab a coffee. Take a look and give a listen.
Your Thoughts: I hope the ideas in the video help you think more deeply about rekindling your own spark when your fire grows dim.
I welcome your comments, reactions and insights. Fire away!
News Notes: Since delivering this 17-minute TEDX talk, I’ve expanded the message into a 60-90 minute keynote. With more time, I’m able to explore how this issue plays out in organizations, how we can support others as they attempt to rekindle their sparks, and to share more real life examples of ways that people restore excitement and engagement to their lives. (more…)
Survey On Malaise
April 21, 2015
I know this invitation was included at the end of last week’s Pause blog post, but in case you might have missed it I want to make special mention of it in a separate post.
I’ve been doing some R & D work on a particular aspect of engagement in work and life – the concept of malaise.
We’re all pretty familiar with stress and burnout – that dramatic stretched-to-the-limits, crash and burn phenomenon. Malaise is different.
Malaise is more like rusting out, feeling stale, bored, lethargic, restless, joyless or adrift – suffering the dis-ease of being under-challenged or feeling under-engaged. It can be every bit as challenging as burnout.
My interest was triggered by what I have been noticing in some individuals as they reach the latter part of their careers. Although I don’t think malaise is restricted to that stage of life, it does seem to be more prevalent there.
I’m interested in learning how we might avoid long stretches of malaise and move more quickly to light a spark and find a path through to a more joyful and enthusiastic experience of life and work.
To that end, I’ve done a number of interviews on this issue, and just last week I released a survey to start gathering more input.
I’ll be collecting replies up until the end of April. if there are other people in your circle whom you think may have an interest in sharing their thoughts on the issue of malaise, please share the access link as freely as you wish.
Although I haven’t reviewed all the 300 responses submitted so far, some of the early comments are showing that people are finding the questions intriguing and very helpful in guiding them to think about their own experiences with malaise in their lives and organizations.
I’ll keep in touch, and share more on this subject as my work unfolds.