Finding Your Groove
A colleague walked passed my office in the middle of the week to see how I was doing. I half-heartedly smiled and told him the truth: I was struggling to find my groove. He reminded me that the difference between a rut and a groove is your attitude. This made me take pause and ask myself two questions: what is my groove and what helps me get into it?
I define a groove as a personal flow or rhythm that helps one produce stellar results and enjoy the process at the same time. I am talking about a general life groove, one that encompasses all aspects of our complex lives. The best part of a groove is that no two are alike. Each groove is made up of a unique combination of elements, sounds, habits, environments, and people.
In order to find your groove, you must be able to define it. At first, I struggled to define my groove because usually I don’t think twice about it. I usually spend a few hours scrolling through Facebook and Buzzfeed videos, waiting for the groove or inspiration to suddenly save me from my deep, dark procrastination hole. If I actually find it, I turn into Emperor Kuzco and want to throw anyone who interrupts my groove out the window. As amusing as this process may be, it is riddled with inefficiencies.
Getting into one’s groove takes practice and reflection. The strongest leaders can identify the specific components of their groove and know what they need to do (or not do) to get into it. This self-awareness helps them efficiently manage their energy, time, and workload. More importantly, it keeps them from burning out. These following questions helped me to critically reflect on my personal rhythm and I hope that they can help you find yours too!
When do you feel like you are really in your groove?
When are the times that energize you and make you feel powerful and fulfilled?
I am in my groove when I’m
- excited by challenges
- thinking outside of the box
- expressing gratitude
- quoting Jim Carrey movies
What helps you get into your groove?
It’s important to identify what specific things help you to hit that stride. Think of the things that positively contribute to your ability to be successful.
- cooking dinner with real food
- doing physical activity at least three times a week
- collaborating with others
- listening to bossa nova and drinking black tea with almond milk
- calling or visiting with family and friends
- getting at least 7 hours of sleep
- setting a clearly defined routine that allows for calculated spontaneity because who doesn’t need a midweek “Treat yo self” trip to a doughnut shop! Amirite?!
What are two easy steps you can take to create an environment that enables you to find your groove quickly?
We can’t sit around and wait for our groove to find us. Sometimes it does, and that’s great and all, but more often than not we need to take ownership for it. We can do that by determining actionable steps that we can take to create our own sunshine!
Two easy steps I can take to create this environment are
- Create an awesome bossa nova playlist
- Pick a farmers’ market to attend each week to buy healthy, local produce
Some of the things that take up our time can actually get in the way of our groove. Reflect on what things in your life drain you of energy, acts as a distraction or cause conflict so that you can begin to make positive changes in your routine.
I can remove
- Social media from my phone
- Cable TV
- Toxic relationships
This last question can be challenging, but it can also yield the most transformational effects. If something or someone does not add value to your life, it may be time to say no. I recognize this is easier said than done because knowing you should do something is very different than actually following through. I know I should turn off Netflix after my fifth consecutive episode of House of Cards, but it doesn’t mean I always do. There is no shaming here, just encouragement to reward yourself with healthy practices that make sense for you. The sooner you cut out the unnecessary, the sooner you can experience joy and success.
Now, let me be clear. You won’t be in our groove 100% of the time and that is okay! Our energy ebbs and flows naturally. The goal is simply to help set yourself up for success. Leadership is a form of service. Thus, help yourself help others by intentionally creating spaces where you can be at your best.
Follow the steps above to begin to define your own groove! Be self aware and reflective as you discover what works or what doesn’t work for you. Then, feel energized to take action so that you can really hit your stride!
*Meet the Author*
Kristen Vega is the Coordinator of Greek Life and Community Engagement at California State University, Monterey Bay. When she isn’t developing student leaders, she can be found hiking in Big Sur, reading non-fiction in a local coffee shop, teaching tap classes, or pretending she is a contestant on Chopped.