“A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life time of experiences.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
How is your job/career? Do you tend to say, “It’s OKAY?
In my classes I occasionally talk about an earlier time in my life when I had this extraordinary job. For a job, it was perfect in almost every way. High pay, smart colleagues and clients, interesting, challenging work, international living and travel… Everything.
But as I watched what was happening with my international consulting firm – (I was a partner,) its leaders, and my senior colleagues and how their life was unfolding. I wondered, “Do they have a job/career or does the job/career have them and me?
Is the satisfaction in the job/career? How can it be that the same job/career has a very different value to the person in the job/career? It seems to me that it’s a matter of fit between “the person” and “the position.” When there is a fit and alignment then the job/career can be a person’s true calling.
My job/career was OKAY but I wondered if there was really something more to work, life and success? What is beyond OKAY?
While in the OKAY job/career I purchased two tickets to Boston to enjoy the fall season. When Vanessa and I arrived we rented a car and started driving with no map, no plans and no reservations. Late in the afternoon we started looking for a hotel only to discover that no rooms were available. We stopped at least 5 hotels. No rooms.
As we drove down a side road we came to a yellow house with a sign; Bed and Breakfast. We pulled in and chatted with a gentleman that turned out to be the owner. Yes, they did have an room, but it was on the third floor and he quickly agreed to carry the luggage to this cozy little room. After getting settled in the room we went downstairs for wine, cheese and conversation. The owner asked me what I liked to do and I explained my favorite activity was to go walking in the fall leaves in the early morning. He walked over to an old wooden desk and pulled out a crudely drawn map. He told me that when I got up in the morning to just walk the path outlined on the map. The path started through the gate in front of where I was parked.
Early the next morning I chatted with him over coffee and asked where the path would lead me. He wouldn’t tell me. But he did tell me it will be well worth the journey. So I set off down the path, and after about a 30 minute walk came upon a beautiful glistening pond in amazing fall colors.
And, there on the side of this serine pond was a pile of stones and a large wood plaque with these word. “I went to the woods. . . I was on Thoreau’s Walden Pond.
I picked up several small stones from the shoreline and added them to the stones in this picture and sat down where his cabin had been, to take in the fully experience.
From this experience I became more interested in Henry David Thoreau’s wisdom. Here are several quotes that moved me then and still do;
* “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws will be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.
* “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.”
* “Things do not change; we change.”
* “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”
* “There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.”
I took these words to heart and they have stayed with me for many years. Shortly after this experience I realized that while my job/career was okay, I wasn’t doing my life’s work. I wasn’t living the way I’d hoped to. I did some planning, sought inner and spiritual guidance and then turned in my resignation by the end of the month.
Maybe there’s nothing wrong for you with okay, but for me okay is a four-letter word. Now, I’m not saying you have to feel the way I do. For many people okay would be an upgrade. But one of the problems with living an okay life is that it lulls you. You can end up sleepwalking through your okay life and wake up 20 years down the road to the sudden horror that it’s too late to live the life you’ve longed for.
You survive instead of flourish. You settled for “Okay” when you could have had “Inspired.” You’re in the job/career for what you can GET. An Okay job/career isn’t you and doesn’t allow you to reflect on who you have come here to Be.
If you’ve read this far, “okay” probably isn’t for you either. I have followed my calling and travelled the path to ‘Inspired.” for many years now. (More about that in Insight #5.)
For me, it’s crystal clear: “Okay isn’t okay.” I want Spectacular. I want Inspired. What about you? So what does an Inspired job/career look and feel like? To me in means:
* Living my Purpose.
* Living with Passion and Enthusiasm.
* Making my Contribution.
* Making a Life and not just making a living
* Sharing and applying my unique Gifts and Talents.
* Being what I came here “To Be” rather than “Having and Doing.”
To your Inspired job/career and Life.
To be continued in Insight #5: “Creating an Inspiring Job, Career and Life.” In the mean time don’t just quit “Okay,” start planning, journaling, looking within, knowing yourself- your purpose, passions, values, unique talents. etc.