YOU are the answer you are seeking.
Sometimes your rock bottom can look a lot like being at the top to everyone else.
Flashback 15 years: I’m sitting on a private boat in Ibiza, sipping an espresso, newspapers from all over the world neatly stacked beside me, on my way to see a client for work, and … an essential piece of my life is broken.
It’s my blackberry, I don’t do well with these things, I want to chuck it into the deep blue sea, my feelings are overwhelming me.
My mind’s racing, what am I going to do about all the unanswered emails, the missed calls, what a pain of figuring out how to get it fixed while traveling and racing from one meeting to the next…. I’m loosing focus.
And then a quiet calm sets in and I hear,
“Whose life am I living?” “There must be more to this?”
By society’s definitions of success, I was living the dream: rising designer, magazine publications, awards, wife, children, Grenson Albert shoes.
Yet, inside those shoes, I felt totally restricted.
And that’s not the only signal of stress, or distress, my body was sending. My skin was patchy. My body hurt. My smile was gone. The fun was gone. No fire in my belly.
Panic stricken, packing for another trip to see a client’s home, freaking out over my blackberry, rushing all the way to the airport with failed attempts to “reconnect” to technology.
On the plane, flying toward London, but everything in my body was flying in the opposite direction… what really worried me was realizing that even if this blackberry was working, I’d still be in this cramped mode.
Why was it that nobody informed me that being successful could feel so miserable?
It was becoming clear to me now: Chasing award after award, with unrealistic ideas about “balance,” was definitely not a way to live.
It’s very likely I could have gone on collecting badges at an ever-increasing pace if it hadn’t been for that visceral nudge that day on the plane:
Who am I doing this all for, anyway?
Was I living for me? Was I honoring my values? What were my values? If I wasn’t living for me, then who – or what – was it all for?
And that’s when I began to realize: we all care about living and working sustainably, it’s just that we’ve been defining that inadequately.
Pursuing the answer to that question “who am I” Super tramp delivered a perfect rendition….
The subtitles tell it all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukKQw578Lm8
My theory is simple……
Change starts within you.
You are the answer to the riddle.
And what I mean by that is: Each of us is like a cell that serves the larger body—whether that body is a community, a company, or the natural world we live in. We each have specific advantages and DNA that only we can contribute. But if we lose sight of what that individual contribution is, we start chasing everyone else’s standards. Burnout, constant comparison, and disconnection are merely the initial side effects of this approach.
But as the greatest resource our communities and companies will ever tap, the path to success starts within us, not with our output.
We are more than an assembly line.
It’s time to respond by design, and not by default.
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