Everything is Waiting for You
When you meet someone for the first time, how long does it take before they ask you, “what do you do?” Would someone react differently if you told them you were an executive, or a janitor? Do you believe that what you do will tell them everything they need to know about you?
It takes a lifetime to get to know someone, let alone yourself.
When I travel, people will often ask me, are you here for business or pleasure? And I often respond, yes. Why? Because, for me, there is no separation between the two. There is only life.
We live in a world where so many of us equate with what we do for a living, and how we make a living, that we forget how to make a life where work is just a part of it.
So often, we ask kids what they want to do when they grow up. The reality is that growing up is over-rated. We have so many older people running around the planet who are making a living and still don’t know how to answer this question as they suffer through the rest of their life. Why are we cluttering young minds with our silly belief systems? Why don’t we start asking kids questions that don’t program them into this reality of ours? Why don’t we help them get in touch with their intuition and listen to what it’s whispering to them?
We created a world where we are mostly defined by our jobs (where we are in the organizational hierarchy, who we affiliate with and how much we amass in our bank accounts) or our roles in society (student, retiree, mother, father and the list goes on). And then because work is often overwhelming, you need to construct a life that you need to vacate from or detox from, when the opportunity is simply to have a different relationship with your life.
When you keep moving faster and faster, you will not be aware that everything is here, waiting for you to experience it. And you would not be able recognize how insane it is that the World Health Organization recently classified worker burnout as mental health syndrome instead of looking at the root cause and remembering how to create healthier systems for all of us.
One of the most important “jobs” you have in your life is being a parent. You get to shape our future generations through the foundation you build with your children. The questions you ask them informs them what is important, and how you respond to their curiosity matters. I have heard women who have worked harder than anyone I know raising their kids say, “I am not as smart and capable as business women. I am just a housewife.” When I meet a stay at home dad, there is also a story of courage around what he gave up to stay at home with the kids. And yet, they are are both doing some of the most important work in our world by raising the next generation. When will we fully understand that all jobs are important, or maybe we no longer know what work means? Is it really just about making money because you cannot exist here without it?
It comes down to how each of us defines success and whether you are stuck with the labels and boxes you were put in. The opportunity is to un-learn all that you were raised to believe that no longer works for you. Most poor people don’t choose to be poor and many that I know won’t label themselves as poor because they see the opportunities that are in front of them. They may not know where their next meal will come from but some are freer than most of us and have a drive to make their own way in the world, while others have simply given up and rely on the system to support them.
If I had to give you one piece of advice, it would be this: don’t be intimidated by other people’s opinions. Only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risks and do what you really want to do. Seek out people who aren’t afraid of making mistakes and who, therefore, do make mistakes. Because of that, their work often isn’t recognized, but they are precisely the kind of people who change the world and, after many mistakes, do something that will transform their own community completely." Aleph by Paulo Coelho.
The more you believe that you need money to be successful, the more you will find yourself in situations where people will tell you what you need to do. One of the biggest challenges at work today is having one vision that is focused on a singular leader, which ultimately stifles creativity. It creates organizational cultures that focus on pleasing that singular leader and cascades down the entire organization. If you are trying to partner or sell to that organization, you better know how the person you are selling to very well because they are not spending their own money. They are pleasing their boss You need to have two pieces of information to be successful in this situation:
- What would please this person’s boss since that’s what they are mostly working towards to get their promotion or bonus, and
- What are the metrics their boss uses to declare victory and success?
More and more people are leaving or pining to leave large organizations, which is sad because we have the opportunity, waiting for us, to re-imagine and create healthy organizations that support people. Not with more programs and mantras but with common sense and curiosity. Would we rather not do work that is meaningful instead of being burnout by a system that needs healing? Isn’t it time to listen to your intuition and what it is whispering to you? Isn’t it time to understand where your power source is and whether you have been conditioned to power someone else’s source at your own expense?
It’s up to you to shift from a world mired in problems and quick fixes to adopting a mindset of an opportunity-maker, who is curious and able to re-imagine what is possible in a pragmatic way. But it requires you to remember the curious kid, inside of you, who wanted to play and create something meaningful in the world. It is then that you will also stop waiting for approval and set yourself free.
To have an impact, constantly remind yourself that there is no Dummies Guide or instruction manual. While so many articles, books and coaches provide cookie cutter processes for you to follow, they don’t know you. They don’t know how you think or work or feel or what you want to create and how you like to live.
So, figure out your own strategy. Ask yourself questions. Create your own path. Find your edge. Pick what works for you. Everything is here.
Original thought does not need to be exhausting.
Cut and paste is easy.
Unlearning is possible.
Create your own individualized 6 or 3 steps in the way that works for you. No one else can tell you what will work for you.
It takes guts and a healthy relationship with your fears to make it your own.