Today was "Time Machine Thursday" for me!!
I got into a time machine today. I suppose I could've gone any where throughout history, but I chose to go back to 2015. So much was the same. The roads I traveled, the shops I drove past, people I saw, the office building I went into.
Yet, as with any good tale of time travel, the protagonist is always oddly removed from the action in some way. This was also true for me today. My clothes were just a bit different than they would have been a mere four years ago. I walked and breathed and talked almost the same, but not quite. Though I was strangely familiar to them, I seemed to be slightly out of place to those who saw me. Something was just slightly off in every way.
And there's good reason for that. Though I am mostly the same person outwardly, I am so very different in some striking ways. Whereas back then I was tense and constantly on the lookout for problems that I needed to solve, today I strode casually without concern for what might come next. My uncertainty about how I should be in any given moment has given way to a calm, centered approach that is based on a newfound clarity of purpose. A sponge-like ability to absorb stresses - real and self-imagined - has receded into a normal balance between surrendering to realities, tackling challenges, and occasional worry about actual issues.
The time machine did some amazing things, right!?! Not exactly. It was more like this...
I got really honest with myself over the last four years and decided I didn't want to be a stressed-out, shut-down, joy-deprived person anymore.
You see, what most people saw today was that I went back to my old company's office to attend a seminar. I drove my old route, walked into the same building, and saw some familiar faces as I walked around. I probably don't look very different to them, either. But the truth is, I am a vastly different person inside.
For years, decades in all honesty, I had done everything "right". I took on all the opportunities that were put in front of me. I achieved the goals that defined "success" to my employers. I learned all sorts of technologies and business skills and, most importantly, how to take teams to a higher level by connecting people to each other and a larger purpose. I was really good at my job, so good they made me the boss of all bosses. I had won the game!
Then, about four and a half years ago, I had a pretty major meltdown. Or more accurately, a burnout, just as I reached the pinnacle of my professional career. I had become the president of a really cool company, working with an amazing group of people, in a field that creates so many opportunities. It was literally a job I had dreamed about for years. I was going to be leading this awesome team to even higher levels of success - and helping us all make a bunch of money, too!!
And yet who was I then? I was a tense, stressed-out, unhappy, dissatisfied, and worried ball of nerves. Yikes! I had gotten to the top and then I failed. I walked away from the job, my head held high out of pride and nothing else. It was a huge punch in the gut.
You might wonder what happened to that guy, how he walked in there today, four years later, so relaxed and free and happy, especially considering that he makes less money and has a job with far less "prestige". I mean, really, what the hell happened?
I simply decided I wanted to be excited about my life, got support, and did the work to transform myself.
I can't say that the last few years have been easy for me. Not by a long shot. But they have been some of the most exciting, joy-filled, and happy years of my life at the same time. I could've just stuck it out in a job that was hurting me and souring the energy I brought to other parts of my life, allowing it to spoil my parenting, taint my friendships, and shut me off from the pursuit of joy. I could've crawled under a rock and given up. Or I could've skulked away to another "J-O-B, job" and played out the rest of my life in disappointed silence.
Thankfully I didn't give up. Nor did I settle. I had enough of a spark left in me to realize that I wanted more out of life. I started doing the hard work of identifying my real dreams, not the ones that I thought society wanted me to achieve (like being President of a company). I made the sacrifices and investments to grow myself into who I wanted to be. I took risks that made entirely no sense to some people - like quitting a cushy job at age 47 with no plan. I decided that I get to do this once, so I might as well stop letting fear hold me back from the "more" that I really wanted.
Eventually I realized I didn't just want more. I wanted WAY MORE!!! I wanted a life built on a foundation of joy and harmony.
You know who gets WAY MORE out of life, by the way??? The people who want it and decide to commit to it.
Knowing that rule, I can't possibly go back to the way it was before. Check that. I can take the occasional trip in my time machine, back to places where I know I have been, and bask in my joyous progress between then and now. Today I went back four years in time. I liked what I saw.
Are you grinding your way through your life?
Are you ready to change that and try a new approach, one that gets you the WAY MORE that you actually want?
Do you want to buy a time machine?
Well, I can't help you there. Mine's not for sale. But I would LOVE to talk to you about how I can help you achieve what I have. It's not easy, but it's 100% worth it.
If you are ready to go, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can tell you how to get started.