Be careful what you wish for…
A professional guy, a life coach I’ve been acquainted with for many years, had pretty much achieved everything he’d dreamed of way back when he started out. From humble beginnings selling his wares metaphorically from door to door, customer by customer, he had slowly but surely expanded his client base, speaking on ever-larger platforms, first locally then ultimately globally. Moving into the digital age further lengthened his reach until he now found himself in the enviable position of being able to sit back and enjoy some much needed leisure time. The business could run itself perfectly well without him.
But there was a problem. He found himself asking this question: what exactly do you do when you’ve done the thing you worked so hard to do? … Play golf?
This man’s business had been his life for as long as he could remember, with each phase of his long career having its own unique rhythm, comprised of meetings, presentations and consultations, all neatly spaced throughout the working week. Yes he had allotted himself time off and he enjoyed regular holidays, but invariably his down time was filled with thoughts about his next objective, his short-term and long-term goals. If it was a ‘hamster wheel’ of an existence it was one of his own making, so he could hardly feel bad about that. Besides it had yielded the much-desired result. But now what?
It would be easy to dismiss my friend’s dilemma. Many of us would be very happy with exactly the situation he found himself in. We should maybe reserve our sympathy for those whose life plans have not worked out so well. But I think there’s a deeper message here that can apply to all of us, whatever square we’ve landed on in the Game of Life.
The great ocean of Mind is shared by each and every one of us on the planet. It has our back every minute of the day, and it exists – so it seems to me – for the sole purpose of making us happy, healthy and fulfilled. Whatever, or whoever, placed Mind inside us also equipped us with five pretty incredible senses (the miracle of consciousness) with which to experience all the billions of sights, sounds, tastes and aromas of the world.
… The least we can do is have some fun.
Mind may be always available to us, but we have to be available to it in turn. That means taking the time, every now and again, to have a different experience, one that doesn’t involve those plans we made for our business or those goals we’re striving for – even when they’re noble ones.
In our house that usually means walking. Just after Christmas we embarked on a short break to the Lake District in the North West of England. We like to do this as a family once a year, not for the sun, the pool or the beach necessarily (though we like them too!) but for the walking, and there’s no better place than the Lakes. I have to admit that my thoughts do occasionally stray to work-related matters, but even when that happens I find the quality of my thinking is raised to a new level by the tranquillity, the wildlife, the scenery and the crunch of my boots under foot.
Mostly I just drift.
Having a full diary is manna from heaven to someone in business. It’s exactly what I want for my clients after all. But like so many things in life it can become an end in itself. Sometimes you have to get off those ‘railway tracks’ you laid, even if they’re leading you to where you always wanted to go, and explore some uncharted territory. That’s what I told my business-oriented friend. “Why not take a look around, see what else is out there?”
Mind is the driving force, the engine of the ship. It can, and will, take us where our heart desires we should go. But let’s not underestimate ourselves, and what we’re capable of. Success in one area should not preclude success in another.
And incidentally, if you’ve been wondering to yourself as you read this whether my professional ‘friend’ might actually be me…?
I couldn’t possible comment!