Who are you? Who are you supposed to be? Why are you here?
Well, you better go find out!
You can go out and find out what you’re made of by climbing a mountain, or just sitting in meditation, wrestling with your mind.
You can go fight the world, you can fight your demons, you can fight your parents, you can fight the system.
You can also go to the edge, and once you peek over that edge, you will see there is another edge -- another line to cross, or mountain to climb. There is always another way for you to get your ass kicked.
Of course, living a hum-drum life of punching the clock and living in perpetual groundhog’s day can start to get to anyone. Without challenge, without growth, we get bored.
I recently attended a Q&A with Jason Wachob of Mind Body Green where he said joking, “Balance is the new achievement.”
We used to want to get on top of things, just so we could prove we could.
Then we moved onto style, proving we could do it better, harder, faster.
Now we’ve moved to a place of wanting to live in a life of balance, where we still want to live huge/full lives while taking the time to breathe and reflect. Time, free time, is the new commodity. Working smarter, not harder, is the new mantra. Everyone wants to run a business from a hammock in Costa Rica (myself included).
I’ve also started to re-listen to Tony Robbins’ Personal Power CD’s in which the old-time announcer proclaims them as the #1 personal achievement program in the world. What’s funny is that in the introduction, good old TR sits down with the man that used to own the store where he used to buy his tapes as a teenager and reflects on how even then, Tony used to really listen to people, and people could really tell how much he cared. The man goes on to talk about how much Tony has achieved, that he’s rich and famous and so on, but what he really starts to tear up about is how Tony is, about how Tony is his highest self.
In all of the things that I did, all of the mountains I climbed, all the parties I went to, all the experiences I had in the city or the country, nothing, absolutely nothing taught me as much about myself or the world around me as just sitting down and meditating, which is how I achieve balance these days.
There were several things that really built some character and humility in me though, like spending days alone on Bugaboo Spire, or attempting to solo the Diamond on Long’s Peak in winter. Physical and mental experiences like that caused me to dig deep beyond my own perceptions of what I could handle, mostly because no one else was there to get me through it but me.
There were other times that I was in the stratosphere of the rich and famous, where all of my possible needs were met, and would be met forever. I actually worked on a book about it with my favorite quote from it being, “We are the dreamers with nothing else to dream about, because we have it all.”
What happens when you’ve climbed all the mountains, done all the drugs, been to all the parties, become famous, become rich, become respected… and none of it fixes you, none of it matters. You, “have it all,” but it’s still not enough.
You’ve achieved everything.
But what are you achieving? And why are you achieving it?
Have you ever had one of those periods in your life where it seems like the stars align, and everything falls into place? You get the job of your dreams that you love, and then you go to work and tackle problem after problem, you help everyone that you encounter, time flies by and the sun has set and you sit at your desk maybe a bit tired from the time, but refreshed and fulfilled on a soul level?
Perhaps this all happened the day after you got fired. You might not have even told your wife yet, and you go ahead and get dressed for work, and just go the nearest coffee shop and sit there wondering what you’re going to do, how are you going to pay the bills… When all of a sudden, the phone rings, and it’s that friend from college that is opening up a new company, the one you always talked about starting, the one you both dreamed about…
Carl Jung called it synchronicity.
You may call it: just being in the flow.
It’s like when you’re thinking about someone and they call you. Or when you’re talking to your best friend and you both say the same thing at once. Something is happening…
For me, when things are their darkest, I’m usually about to have a breakthrough. When things get tough, I’m usually on the edge of something great, or being pushed in the right direction.
When I’m in the flow, when things are in sync, or synchronistic, I’m usually living in the realm of my highest self. I’m living my purpose.
For many years, I didn’t really know what this next purpose was – this was the hard part, my lost years, that came after my climbing years. Up until then, life was simple, my purpose was to work to make money to go climbing, and then go climb until my money ran out, and then go work some more. Climbing was the purpose, and there would always be more mountains to climb. What was I supposed to do without climbing? Make money for the sake of making money?
But still, that’s what I did, I got a real job and got a respectable car, a place to live, and my purpose was to make money. I did that for a while, trying to live in the real world. But something wasn’t right. I felt like a fraud most days. I felt a pain in my gut and chest. Ever day my heart seemed to break as I sold my soul for a steady paycheck, health insurance, and a car payment. I was living a life the world told me I should live, even though I knew it wasn’t me -- I was playing a part in the movie of life. It was a pointless hamster wheel of existence. There was an edge I knew I was walking towards as the pain inside kept getting harder to take. There was something missing and I didn’t know what it was.
Eventually that pointlessness came to an edge that I stepped over. I took the red pill.
I’m not saying enlightened, but I’m definitely awake. A few things happened all at once about four years ago that caused an emotional purge, a dam broke, and on the other side of the Matrix, I wished I would have taken the blue pill.
Once I was on the other side, once I woke up, things became clear. Things seemed to fall into place. People and opportunities seemed to come out of the ether. They usually came to me in my darkest hour, after I thought really hard about something, and then let go of the idea, but kept looking for the next thing to appear out of the corner of my eye.
To have those synchronistic things happen, I had to let go of the fear that was blinding me from even being able to notice the opportunities around me. Once I stopped wondering about how was I going to pay my bills and started to look for ways I could be of the highest use to the world around me, I was able to see the unique skills and experiences that I had that put me in a position to be able to do things no one else was capable of.
We are all snowflakes.
All of us have had millions and billions of unique experiences in our lives that make us all unique snowflakes, capable of solving unique problems with our unique skillsets.
I coach and consult on the side for individuals and small businesses. When they seem lost, or are going through a transition I ask them a few questions:
- What are you good at?
- What do you love to do?
- Who do you know, what is your network?
- How much money do you want to make?
The money question is usually a meter for client expectations, and a bar to keep them realistic about how much money is available in their field. If they want to make more money than the above-average person or company in their field, they either have to start playing on a larger field, or apply their skills/passion/products to a new industry that has a larger pool of cash available.
If you want to be a marketer making $1 million a year, it’s unlikely that you will be able to do that if you are just doing marketing for your local grocery store if you live in a town of 1,000 people. But if you move onto a larger playing field, marketing for a national grocery chain, you have the opportunity to make $1 million a year because you're playing on a much larger scale.
How to sell your soul:
- When you wake up in the morning, dreading to go to work, you have failed.
- When you try to live up to other people’s expectations, while compromising you gifts, you’ve failed.
- When you try to be what the world expects you to be, you’ve failed.
- When you try to do what you have no business doing, you’ve failed.
- Synchronicity happens when you are in the flow, not when you are going against what you know is in your heart. It also happens when you are being of the highest use to the world around you by using the gifts and skills you were born with or learned along the way.
You want to make a million dollars? Tell a joke for 1 million people for the price of one-dollar. Don’t tell them just any joke, tell them the unique joke that you’ve crafted from the life you’ve had that resonates with them because you’ve told it in a way that no one else has told it before.
Be of your highest use by doing the things that you are good at, that will provide the most value to the people around you, that will provide you with the highest income and highest fulfillment because you are doing what you love. You are living your highest purpose.
To do this, you usually have to listen to your gut and your heart. You have to be awake and aware of what that feeling is when you are in sync with what you are best at, and when you are there, when you have that feeling - you will seem to flow through life.
You are a snowflake.
You are awake.