A young woman was quite burned out after many years in a job to which she had given her heart and soul. A colleague described the work as, “Throwing toothpicks at dragons.”
I began to mentor her as she stepped into her transition out of the job and into, she knew not what. She could hardly imagine what she wanted to do next.
I gave her an assignment:
Every day, text me about something you notice or learn that is interesting to you. Write as much as you like.
She sent me daily texts and she started to notice a few things. She noticed that she was most likely to notice human behavior. When she realized that, she made a point of working to notice design, objects, and how things worked. She went from noticing people’s attitudes and behavior around Zika in Miami, to how escalators worked. She realized that, after a few days, she shifted from worrying about her future, to being in the present, curious about the world around her, and curious about the sentient beings in that world.
To give credit where credit is due, I first learned about this exercise from friends who required each of their children, every night at dinner, to share something interesting. The penalty for not doing so? A quarter in the jar.
What are you noticing?