Thinking about my progress toward my own goals, I’m surprised yet again by my changing priorities. New drives and goals that I couldn’t have predicted a year ago are front and center now. Can you relate?
It’s exciting, and maybe maddening, especially for those who love us. It can cause us—and others—anxiety, too.
But it’s not really surprising if we take time to reflect on it all. Because life is long, and we’re living in an amazing age. So why not go for the gusto?
My Father’s Story
I flash on my father starting his forestry career in the early ’50s. He was 18 years old and fresh out of trade school. He did more training through correspondence courses later.
In those early days, he marked timber in the swamps of south Florida. He tells stories of being up to his waist in who knew what. Sandwich strapped to his back to keep it (relatively) dry. Ugh!
Four decades later, when he left that multi-national company in his late 50s to become a personal trainer, his role in the company had morphed again and again. Meanwhile he raised three kids with my mom, pursued passions for physical fitness, music, and more, and certified as a trainer.
He retired from that mega-corporation as keeper of digital land records for all holdings. By then it was a tech gig through and through.
This daddy’s girl knows the keys to his success included adaptability, a habit of saying, “sure, I can do that” and then figuring it out, and just plain steady growth. No standing still. Year after year.
The wildest part of this story is that that was then—the last few years of the 20th century, when things were ramping up big-time—and this is now. The world is changing lightning fast these days. Under our feet. Under our fingertips. All around us. All the time. So what’s a human to do?
The truth is, continuous growth and development seem like necessary self-defense in the midst of it all. And guess what? Growth often means change. Permission to change. To shake things up.
So today I’m thinking about one particular insight from some training I did back in the day. It has aided me in countless ways since.
It’s the principle that, well, basically, life is empty, my dears. Oh, and it’s meaningless, too.
Emptiness and Us
I know this news may not make your day, but stay with me. It’s meant to grab your attention. Ultimately it’s about freedom. Freedom to create your own meaning.
For a minute, consider this empty worldview the cleanest of slates. Imagine life without anyone expecting anything in particular of you. Or maybe they do, but in a meaningless universe, what does it matter? Only as much as you want it to.
And of course I’m playing with you a bit, to get you thinking, and then to ask you this: When you imagine the absence of whatever seems to limit your choices, what’s most important to you?
What, in your heart of hearts, is deeply meaningful? What could you daydream and scheme about night after so-inspired-that-you’re-sleepless night?
And maybe as you’re reading this, you know in your heart and gut that you’re already living all that. If so, bravo!
Imagine Your Life
If not, then start reflecting on what really is vital to you, and what might just be habit. Ways of thinking, feeling, and living on auto-pilot. Settling. Giving up.
Try envisioning everything that’s most real and important to you. Then hold onto that vision. Play with it. Give it space. Develop and expand it! Not as wishful thinking, but as one way of working on your personal and professional goals. There’s power in getting crystal clear on what matters most to you. Next step from there is to, well, create some next steps.
And as you start that good work, reach out for expert support toward the clarity and forward movement that you deserve. I’ll be happy to help from my beautiful, empty reality. :)
Teresa Young wants you living your dream, for real. She coaches by phone, in person in Los Angeles, and via Skype outside the U.S.