While each part can be consumed by itself, if you want the backstory, you can find last week’s post, Back in the Saddle here.
The Early Years
Growing up was an adventure to say the least. My Dad was the ultimate explorer. An entrepreneur at heart, he managed various movies theatres in the 50’s and 60’s and a Montgomery Ward catalogue store in the 70’s and 80’s. He always took us on epic vacations to Yellowstone Park, the Grand Canyon or the smoky mountains. You know the kind where you eat your homemade lunch on the side of the road and you end up with the classic family photos. Always stayed at a hotel with a pool. Classic.
My dad sold everything in 1974 and moved the family to Arizona and the real adventure began. He fell in love with the desert, took up stakes in Arizona and California. By the early 80’s though, his Wards business was in decline and it was a rough period for him and my mom.
While my mom and dad did not go to college, they both were big believers in education. Dad was very well read and there was not a subject he could not discuss. Thus as his business declined and he struggled to find a new occupation, education as a ticket to security and a better life was the mantra for us kids.
It worked, my two sisters and I graduated from college and two of us went onto get masters. Mom and Dad were very proud.
I distinctly remember thinking as I accepted a job offer from Hewlett Packard, this is it, no more adventure, this is what you do in life. You get a good job, a good job represents security and happiness.
And at times, it did.
But frankly, I did not even like technology or manufacturing or balance sheets or income statements. But I got pretty good at all of them, because well, that is what you are supposed to do. That was my responsibility. This was my duty. Really what I wanted was to be general manager of the Lakers, but that ship sailed the day I accepted that offer.
A lot of ships sailed that day.
So, this is what happened over the last 25 years, I took on my duty and responsibility, quietly disregarding my real dreams and desires, compensating with fishing trips, climbing the corporate ladder, thinking the good life was tied to the next promotion.
I mean this is what you did, right. Stuff and ignore what you really wanted in the name of duty, responsibility and fitting in?
At some point, you come to realize that life is moving along and this swelling frustration and overall numbing out your pain in some form is not a life well lived. Unconsciously you have based most, if not all your decisions in life seeking safety, joy, fulfillment in the form of a good job defined by others and an accumulation of stuff that you get tired of keeping track of.
So, this is what I have come to realize and while this idea or belief is nothing new in some circles, it is new to me.
Bottom Line – Joy, contentment, fulfillment, well being and happiness are generated from within.
If you are banking on your job, your key relationships, your boss, money, the next new thing to satisfy your hunger for freedom and joy, you are going to be disappointed. If you are banking on these things to validate your value in the world, to seek approval and get rewarded, you will continue to chase these external factors.
All good things in life start from the inside.
Our society, hell, our economy is based on the fact that you are not good enough, you do not have enough, and you never will unless you have X. X could be a good job, big house, nice car and more money. While you may get some temporary happiness from this approach, these things are not the key to real fulfillment. Chasing these things to satisfy your need for belonging or being valued will leave you hollow, unfulfilled and constantly chasing the next thing.
Frankly, it will leave you exhausted.
I lost myself and I lost who I was. Thinking that accomplishment was the path to belonging. Well, I never really belonged, because that was not the real me. It was somebody pretending to enjoy his job for the sake of saving face. For keeping it all together. For the illusion I was living a good life. For the sake of belonging.
The path to joy and contentment is based on your internal thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs.
Those are the things that are real for you.
So, follow this thru:
If you have a firm belief that your “good job” is the right thing and that everything in your life will fall apart if you abandon it, because it represented your worth to the world,
Then you can maybe see why you would sacrifice your health and many other things to maintain it.
When you tried to make a change, at the first sign of trouble you bailed back into your comfort zone, the one you have been living in for 25 years.
The one you manifested based on the expectations of others. You knew that terrain very well.
That was me.
Now look, I am not blaming my parents, society or anyone else for the decisions I made. They were my decisions, regardless of what I based them on. (We will talk more about decisions and choices later) I did blame others off and on for a long time, but have come to the realization that it does not work and will keep you stuck.
Leaving you unable to change and unable to pursue your own deep desires, like an anchor on your motivation, an anchor on your brilliance and your life.
Inside – Out – The ticket to manifesting what you want out of life. Your own internal thoughts, feelings, attitudes, decisions and choices will manifest your reality.
If you do not like your reality (your job, your life) then you will need to start from the inside to make the changes you want to make. You will need to examine your internal beliefs and change them before you can manifest anything different.
Did this take some time for me to realize? Absolutely!
I was blind to the realization that I was virtually placing all my worth as a human being, my personal validation on my job. A job, at times, that was killing me.
Now, is that a way to live? No, not by a long shot.
So, next time you want to make a change, or find yourself stuck, best to evaluate your internal thoughts, beliefs, feelings and attitude, before taking any action to manifest something different.