It’s humbling to be asked for advice. And no less so when it relates to ‘what to do next’ as someone tries to move through that ‘in between’ period after a venture or project fails or when someone is rocked by a life-changing family event.
I have no qualification or experience as a psychologist or counsellor. All I can rely on is my experience of failing many more times than I’ve succeeded.
And to the extent it helps, the advice that I offer to people who ask is based on three tenets, each of which is grounded in a single truth:
Time is THE most valuable asset and it never increases.
Family is broken for some, whole for others and complicated for most of us.
It might not always be overt or obvious but a fundamental love connects families. Whether you’re a parent, sibling or child, or whatever form family takes for you, it comes first.
And the irony is that you know it and others think it. So give people around you the permission to just be with family during milestone events, unexpected emergencies and for parents with young children, bath time.
Family comes first. Always.
I’ll bet you’ve never been in a meeting with your manager where you speak exclusively about your strengths and how to turn them into potent super powers.
I’ll also bet you can’t remember the last time you listed your strengths out aloud, with complete honesty, confidence and pride.
If I’m right, try writing down those three things, one bullet point at a time. And then say them like you mean it.
For just a moment suspend the need to ‘fit in’ and the investment you’ve made in your career and education. Remind yourself about your strengths and double down on them. And if you need a starting point, look here.
You will deliver more value to yourself, your family, your friends, your team and your company the sooner you’re honest about your strengths and investing in them.
What do you want to achieve during your time on earth?
Try answering this question. It’s not easy because it takes time to reflect and iterate to land on the answer that just ‘clicks’ with you.
But when it does a light bulb will go off in your mind because understanding your vision provides a kind of structure to life. And like most things, structure liberates.
I reflected on this question for a very long time before realising that my personal vision is to increase collective wisdom. Others share this vision but for me it means using my skills and experiences to elevate people and knowledge who, when brought together, can literally change the world.
This true north helps me think about decisions in ways that make me the best version of myself for those I love and support in every facet of life.
Keep asking yourself this question and be patient as you reflect and iterate. The answer might be hiding in plain sight.
At some point in life we realise that time is scarce. When that time comes (if not before), try being mindful about putting family first, doubling down on strengths and crafting your personal vision.
This journey may be confronting or take longer than you expect but as you gain clarity on each tenent you’ll also discover that they each create structure that liberates and I do hope you find the same.
Originally published at medium.com