It’s been a busy time over the last month, as I have been involved with a new event to fundraise for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust, in the aim of raising enough money for a second rescue helicopter. “Twice the hardware, twice the lives saved”, I say, so I’m very excited about this new venture. It’s been great to work with such a dedicated team of committed guys who have spent 40 years delivering a world class rescue service to the greater Auckland region.
Now this working for a good cause has really stirred some latent DNA for me, and I’ve hence gone forth on a bit of a journey to discover what it is that actually makes me tick. Do I work simply for work’s sake? Do I do it in the aim of gaining accolade for it? Is it for the love of financial reward or do I do it simply from financial necessity?
And it turns out, that it isn’t any of these things that motivate me in the slightest. So I thought I’d try to come up with a list of my Top 10 things that do …..
1. It’s working with inspired people who love what they do, and who share that passion in a way that lights up the everyday, mundane activity that any job will inevitably have.
2. Laughing often. Environments of doom and gloom, and excessive negativity are just not good for the soul, and where I once felt heavy and tired, I now find I smile a lot, I bounce rather than drag myself along, and have more energy than I know what to do with. Life just feels joyful.
3. Freedom. It’s about deciding what it is you really want to do today. It’s about eating when you’re hungry, not when the collective crowd chants “lunchtime”. It’s about being able to look out the window and think “heck, it’s a really nice day out there” and walking to the post box, rather than madly driving there in the shortest possible time. I now stroll a lot during the day. Strangely I get so much more done now, compared to when I worked 12 hours a day in a sunless cube farm.
4. Learning. I finally have more time to read and explore new ideas. Without them being stifled by corporate mediocrity. My brain has been having some sort of bulimic episode over the last month or so, ravenously devouring every iota of information it can find, and spewing out new ideas and concepts. This feeling I can only describe as ‘awesome’.
5. Loss of fear. Ironically, walking away from what would have been considered a secure ‘salaried job’ in the midst of a so-called recession should have created more of a sense of fear, but for me, I have never felt so fearless and sure that I am on the right path. That whatever happens will be utterly right and that I have everything that I need, or will be provided with it, when I do. And I have exactly the same amount in the bank today as the day I left the company. It goes out, it comes in. The universe provides. Fear is our most crippling handicap, and for me, the loss of it has been incredibly liberating.
6. Choice. To be able to say yes to something just because it feels right, and to be able to say no when it doesn’t. My principles aren’t being dictated into a quiet corner for corporate gain. This interestingly enough seems to have empowered my principles and has them roaring their thoughts quite openly and freely. I now trust that gut instinct and let it play out. I say what I really feel rather than being politically correct, or feeling trapped in the need to ‘please others’. And by listening to this ‘inner voice’ and honoring, it comes down to one simple thing – I am choosing happiness. This I can only describe as ‘magnificent’.
7. Making a difference. I have recognised that it really is important to me to feel that I am contributing to the greater good. With trade shows, it’s about enhancing others’ businesses, with consumer shows it’s about delivering experiences that the visitors love and feel great about. I own another business simply because I thought the product was great (and is kind to animals) and so I brought the license. I’ve managed to break even each year for 3years – what I put into it, I get back, and nothing more. But I get calls from my customers to tell me how much they love this product and I think, ‘that’s what it’s all about’ and I love it. I have discovered that I have a strong altruistic bend. I actually really like helping other people.
8. Time. I can’t possibly say that I now have more time, as of course, I have the same 24 hours a day that you do. And the same 24 hours I had when I was a workaholic zombie. I now just manage him better. Or perhaps I respect him a whole lot more, now that I have allowed myself to get more closely acquainted with him. Time is now my friend, rather than the enemy I used to chase and try to beat each day. I hang out with him an intimate one-on-one session for an hour every morning while I meditate. He has explained to me his multiple personality disorder, and has shown me the 3 different faces he wears – “Past”, “Here and Now”, and “Future”. I spend very little time now worrying with “Future” (one of my most frequent hobbies in my past life). And I no longer spend too much time pondering regret with “Past” – we just spend some fond moments remembering some of our shared history, and know that all of it was perfect to get me to here….which brings me right to my favourite one of his personalities – “Here and Now”. I can promise that not enough people hang with this guy, and you really don’t know what you are missing – he’s the best one of the 3, the most honest, the absolute 100% most reliable, and the only one that is actually real. Find him, and become blood-brothers! And never forget the other 2 are merely shadows to distract you from his beauty.
9. Clarity. I’m not sure how to describe this one, but as I walk now, I see things – not new things that weren’t there before, but things that I just wasn’t taking the time to notice. Like nature, the colour of the sky, the light as it falls through the trees as I walk through the park. It was like I walked in a haze for the last 25 years, with only some end goal in sight. The haze has lifted and the only goal I have now is to keep it gone. The same can be said for my hearing. I listen to so much music now, both here in the home office, or on the iPod when I am walking. And because I’m no longer listening to what felt like 38 different voices in my head, reading out the manic ‘to-do list’ and the ‘shoulda list’ and that ‘if only list’ – it is peaceful and quiet and I am hearing the music. I am diving into the music and swimming in bliss. And this I can only describe as ‘euphoric’.
10. And the ultimate motivator – Sharing. There was a time there where I thought it would be easy to bar the doors and shut the curtains. To just turn away from the world for a while. I didn’t want to do any more events. I wanted to do something different and I figured I could work that out all by myself. But my inspiration still comes as much from without as within. And my ultimate joy, in whatever I do or achieve or create, is in the sharing of it with others. So much seems to come back when more goes out. I only wish I could share these feelings I describe above with every single person. There is a state of grace and happiness, and it is not a million miles away – it is right there beside you, just waiting for you to slow down and grasp it.
And on that note, for the season of sharing – I wish you the happiest of Christmases, and a New Year filled with frivolity, fine wine and friendship.