What Will Happen When You Arrive?
So many people behave as if their day-to-day lives are in a holding pattern. Engaging in their lives like they are circling the airport waiting to land. Behaving as if life will hold more value when they get to the next stage.
The truth is that your life will only hold the value in the next stage that it holds right now. I’ve caught myself doing this…thinking about the future and imagining that when x, y or z happens then ___________.
In my case, I thought when the business runs itself more and I have an assistant and all of my other supports in place…then I will be able to relax more and spend time with my aging parents. Well, I learned the hard way about 4 years ago that that is no way to live.
The truth was that if I wanted to visit my parents more, then I would need to make it a priority and do it. When my dad was diagnosed with cancer I had no choice but to make seeing him and seeing my mom a priority. My focus was the present moment: What do they need from me right now – today?
Time Waits for No One
That is how life works. There is very little perfect timing. I did not arrive at a place where I felt like I had more availability. My business was and is still very demanding.
My mother was diagnosed with dementia less than a year after my father died. I had hoped to arrive at a place of rest after burying my father. But that did not happen. Instead I arrived at the present moment of my life. The present moment includes trying to learn how to cope with my mom having Alzheimer’s and what that diagnosis means for her and what it requires of me.
There is a richness in this experience. The additional time that I spend with my mother includes:
- driving her to church (or doctor’s appointments or the grocery store);
- organizing her medication;
- daily check-in phone calls;
- helping her with her affairs;
- playing music for her that I hope will call her back to me…someday in the future when she forgets who I am and who she is.
It’s very hard. Most of the time I am worried about what the future brings. But I try to stay in the present. I try to enjoy the fact that right now she knows me and she still knows herself…even as I watch many of her previous capabilities diminish.
For the Goal Driven
For those who have goals that you want to accomplish in your life or your career, and those who have a contribution that you want to make and those who want to do something that matters, I bring all of this up to say to that there is a path that you are on. That path is your life. It starts where you are now and not in some future place when the following has happened:
- you’ve finished your degree;
- passed your certification exam;
- obtained your associate license or full license;
- gotten your ideal job;
- started your practice;
- developed your empire;
- written the book;
- appeared as a guest on a t.v. program;
- found your ideal relationship;
- had your 2.5 kids;
- bought your dream car;
- bought your dream house;
- become internet famous; or
- made your 1st million.
Be in the Present
Your life is more than your next set of accomplishments. Your life and you have meaning, purpose and value…whether you achieve any or all of those things. It has no more or no less value because of them.
If you do not feel good about or at peace with your life now, you will not find it when you have arrived at your next level. In fact, you may arrive at your intended destination and not recognize yourself when you arrive. Many experiences and events will occur in your life to shape who you are; be present for those experiences.
Be present in the early stage of your career when you are building your skill sets and adding to your confidence and expertise. Don’t diminish that process because you can’t wait for the next level. It suggests that you think that the destination is more important than now. If you think that is true, then there is no way you will feel good about it when you get there. You may have some moments of feeling good. But you will go back to a baseline…that baseline is chasing the next accomplishment (the next high).
I Get It
I get it. I, too, have plans. I always have plans. Plans about what is next for me in my business. Until recent years I wasn’t as intentional about what I wanted for my life. This is not because business is the only thing that matters to me. It is because my business is what supports my life. It is a daily crash course in personal development.
- What do I need to do for me be more focused?
- How do I cultivate more self discipline?
- What do I need to do to provide enough for my present and my future?
- What are the best ways to streamline what I do?
- and where will I steal the time to do it?
- How can I get more sleep to have a healthier heart (doctor’s orders)?
- How many social and professional invitations will I accept for lunch, dinner, dialogue etc…
Most of all when will I arrive at a place that is less stressful? When I do arrive I look forward to relaxing…kicking my feet up, reading a book for fun in a sunny, temperature controlled room sipping herbal iced tea.
Who Will You be When You Get There?
If I really wait for some time in my life that is less demanding or stressful, I will never cultivate peace in the moment. I will never have that relaxing afternoon. Because life and the cultivation of fulfillment require me to be in the present moment. Life does not exist in some imagined future when something I am anticipating happens. If I want to kick my feet up…despite all of my busyness…I have to do it now.
For the past few years I’ve been preparing myself to develop online courses. I’ve also wanted to write a book. I don’t get down on myself about how long it is taking me to put those projects together. My desire to do these things is not based on a hope to feel accomplished. The projects I choose to develop exist out of a demand. These were not goals I set at the outset of my career. They are instead byproducts of what I have already accomplished.
I think that too many early stage professionals are overly focused on accomplishments and under focused on what experience has to teach us…all of us. Don’t plan too far ahead. Cultivate your professional identity via experience and set goals from there.
I know that many colleagues at my similar stage of career and life can relate to the shifting priorities over time. I think each person needs to have a true sense of what is most important. So while I still intend to create my online courses and write my book, my priorities are all of the following:
- my mother’s needs;
- my health and well being;
- the services that I already offer;
- my existing clients; and
- the management of my existing business and the opportunities that I am presented with daily.
Copyright © 2017 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.