How To Embrace Your Present Reality For Lasting Change
I'm going to ask you a question and hold the space for you to sit a moment in reflection. I want you to try your best to ignore the impulsive desire to read on. I know you're busy and that's why I'm so appreciative of the fact you've taken a couple minutes to spend with me. One thing I bet we both have in common is a list of things we think we should be doing. Put that list aside and let us explore the power of asking, what is necessary and true about where you are right now? How does it feel to embrace this present reality?
When I answered the question, what became necessary and true for me to grapple with was why was I letting a list of things I should be doing interfere with what made me happy. It felt damn good to embrace the reality that this was a choice. It's a path that just needed a little direction and guidance.
The biggest difference I've found between starting a business and working for someone else is in the day-to-day. When you have a boss, you can clarify when you're confused and throw out a what should I be doing? But when you're starting a business without any prior experience, you most likely have zero idea of what you should be doing. I spent many painful days where I felt like I was drowning in a bucket of shoulds.
Everyone has a bucket of shoulds. In fact, your entire day may be comprised of ticking off things you think you should be doing. But what you should do and what's truly necessary can feel like a juggernaut of a question to answer. It often takes shape in our lives like that benign mole that you can't believe your Uncle Terry hasn't got lasered from his forehead. How does that shit not drive him insane? It dangles there, helpless.
How many of us make a habit of sitting down to reflect with brutal honesty what our inner voice is screaming at us? We're so distracted slaying our shoulds that we're blind to an untapped resource within us.
Too many of us listen to the noise of the world and get lost in the crowd. Your unmistakable advantage is what happens when you fully embrace your uniqueness.
Did school give you a warped definition of success that includes thinking you need to do what everyone else is doing? Pssst, I have a secret to tell you, meet me out back where it's safe to talk. You've been lied to. We all have. The more you make an effort to fit in at the cost of your individuality, the more you adopt the thinking of others with blind faith, the more you listen to what others tell you should do, the less you will feel aligned with your values and sense of fulfillment. Robert Frost, the American poet, baked it in a plain and simple metaphor for easy digestion. "The middle of the road is where the white line is — and that's the worst place to drive." But that's where we default to driving our careers and businesses.
We'll work approximately 80,000 hours in our lifetime. If you reflect on that, does your answer change to the question, what is necessary and true about where you are right now? If some painful feelings bubble up, embrace them. Pain is the friend who tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Pain feeds the hunger to say NO! I will no longer tolerate my current circumstances.
Standing up and admitting where you are right now is not another thing you should do. Don't just add it to your list, mixed with learning Spanish, fixing your leaky toilet and detailing your dog-hair infested car. This is a must we need to take action on so we can start to live a life by choice, not by chance.
Winston Churchill best evoked this sentiment when he said: "The price of greatness is responsibility." Even if you don't believe that you are destined for greatness (which you totally are) you can't argue with the words of famed philosopher Frederick Nietzsche "At the bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique human being, only once on this Earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity and unity as he is, ever be put together a second time." At least not until Elon Musk gets into cloning. But for the time being, you are your greatest asset.
The more you learn to embrace and trust that your inner voice knows best, the more you stand out in your career and business. Greatness, after all, is nothing more than living true to your values and beliefs in a way that serves the greater good.