I had a fascinating conversation with a bright young woman last night. It actually almost made me leave the festivities and run back to my room so I could write down all my thoughts but I couldn’t. I was having too much fun celebrating a dear friend’s birthday in Rijoa (not only a great wine region but truly a magical place).
Let’s call this woman Rachel for this story. I’ve met her a few times and I knew that I would like her because of her spirit. And I have a strong bias for real people. In my deprogramming days I am voting toxic and narcissistic people off my island. I have no room in my life for them.
She works for one of the most “successful” companies out there whose brand is easily recognized by almost anyone any where in the world. And we randomly chatted over wine and beer about her concern and worry that she has no goals. I understood where she was coming from. This fear that we are all raised with all of our lives. There should be some ultimate goal that we MUST accomplish or else our life would not be worthwhile and a “waste.” Don’t we all want to live a meaningful life? a life of passion?
Sure. Absolutely. You have to be crazy to say no to that question. We all want purpose and to feel we’ve accomplished something in our lives.
But here is the but …
Who says what is truly an accomplishment? That’s the deprogramming and unlearning we need to do from how we were raised in this celebrity culture where movie stars and reality TV “stars” get so much attention.
My advice to Rachel, which she did not want to hear because age does help you get there, was:
80% of what we worry about never happens. So, worrying does not serve any useful purpose. Find joy and if you truly live a meaningful life, you will see it as adventures and not an all or nothing event. And being a type A personality, this is just a way of life. You want every minute to count. But only you can determine your own metrics based on each chapter of your life. And please invest the time to unlearn the bullshit of life around failure and success. Create your own unless your goal in life is truly to be like everyone else.
Live your life fully by learning more about yourself and what makes you happy. Unless you want your mother to say: “my daughter, the XYZ.” The truth is she will be proud of whatever you do if you are happy.
I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life unlearning and now I am deprogramming from corporate life. It is not an easy journey. It is rewarding since I no longer measure myself against external factors. This chapter of life is dedicated to being true to myself and it’s about the people who inspire me regardless of their title or social status. It’s a choice. Anyone can do it.
My goal is to have joy, intellectual stimulation and amazing friends. I am truly blessed. My worst enemy is my second guessing myself. And so the journey continues to explore and experience. And I feel successful that I married twice and am now divorcing my job ….
And just as I hit publish on this post, Seth Godin’s post came in … love it when the universe brings me gems or Seth Godin
Doing the big work (at the little table)
Most of the day is spent in little work. Clerical, bureaucratic, meetings, polishing, improving, reacting, responding.
The obligation is to carve out time for the big work.
The big work that scares you, that brings risk, that might very well fail.
And we’re most likely to do that work when it’s least expected, when the table is small, the resources are lacking and time is short.
No need to wait for permission or the lightning bolt of inspiration. The big work is available to you as soon as you decide to do it.