It truly is amazing how a simple thought can start a conversation and create new friendships and business connections. Case in point was a stream of consciousness that I decided to write recently in LinkedIn about living life on your terms. Here’s what I wrote
“We’ve all been there…working 60 plus hours a week for weeks on end until you’re completely exhausted, and with little end in sight. Is this the life you really wanted? I often hear, “you have to live everyday as though it’s your last”, but with no action behind it. Not sure about you, but I don’t want to be working on my last day…and I definitely don’t want to wait until that elusive retirement day.
No I want to live today!
So, if you’re looking to recharge, refresh and revitalize or perhaps take a breath to get a different perspective on life maybe it’s time we talked?”
I would never have guessed that almost 20,000 people would have read my musing nor the influx of conversations that I’ve been fielding since it was published just over two weeks ago.
What this tells me is that there are lot of people out there who are fed up the daily grind of non-stop work and the deeply rooted feelings that they aren’t really living life as they’d perhaps imagined. This sense of just going through the motions seems pervasive to say the least, it certainly has been a common thread in many of my conversations.
Such a distressing and debilitating feeling – trust me we’ve all been there…
I found it almost impossible to get out of the deep funk that my mind was mired in because no matter how much i tried I couldn’t see a way out.
All I can say is that it took a lot of emotional digging to figure a way out, and by no means was it a simple or quick process but arguably it gets easier once you’ve figured out a plan. The tough part is that many of us give up before we get to a tangible plan and so sink back into the abyss of unhappiness and frustration.
The catalyst for me was my kids… After seven years of non-stop traveling for work and always being the absent parent, I just couldn’t do it anymore – not to them nor me.
Here are three things that I learned along the way that enabled me to break free:
Indelible tip #1: Re-prioritized. Feeling like I was constantly letting my kids down, by always being away from them ate away at me and no matter how much I tried to ignore it. I found it impossible to shake the deep feelings of guilt that were ever present. So what to do?
I decided to consciously make them my priority, and everything else that got in the way of my time with them I would move or excuse myself, including when it came to my job. I realized that to make a real and permanent change I couldn’t compromise or give an inch on what my priorities had become.
It was incredible when I started to say no, people accepted my choices and I rarely felt at odds or compromised, however the first step was toughest.
Indelible tip #2: Simplification. At the same time that I was re-prioritizing I also decided to de-clutter my life in as many ways as possible, “to clear the decks” if you will and so I began evaluating every aspect of my life. This included everything from my disintegrating marriage, to reshaping my career so I could work closer to home and be the parent I always wanted to be for Zach and Sami.
I simplified as many things as I could while keeping flexibility in my life which has become the catch cry of my life and one of the most important learnings from this process. Without flexibility you’re stuck!
So it wasn’t a huge leap of faith for me to create my own destiny, by following my passions and starting Indelible Adventures just over two and a half years ago. As you can see I haven’t looked back and clearly the best move I could of ever made.
It took about a year to fully settle into my new way of thinking and begin seeing the benefits of my choices. Now that I’m where I am today, I can’t even imagine going back.
Indelible tip #3: Taking action. At the heart of real change is action. I hear lots of people talk about change but see very little action backing up their words. What I found was that change is a journey not a destination, and to a large degree incremental depending on the timing and what you know to be true at that time and place. So there is no question that you also have to go with your gut and take risks, it has to be calculated but once you’ve set your sights on your objective steel yourself and go for it.
Fortunately for me I’ve always been action oriented and so this came as second nature to me…yes, I was lucky in that respect!
There will always be times on your journey that you’ll second guess yourself, or have naysayers trying to convince you that what your doing is not feasible… Don’t be constrained to what others think – it’s clear that they don’t want you growing and achieving your goals and creating the life you want right in front of them.
My advice is to surround yourself with like minded people that can support you by providing counsel and more importantly help you celebrate your successes.
Living your life to the fullest is a courageous act that few actually do, but to me its a little like taking yoga…
Its all about the practice…not about the perfection