Late last fall I began what I thought was a branding exercise with Ryan Magada at Brave Little Beast. Now, nearly six months later, my existential crisis is in full bloom. Let me be very clear that not only am I embracing this journey but believe that everyone hits it at some point…only the many never put a name on it nor do they meet it head on. Not only am I still working on my “brand” but I am now also engaged with Jim Vaive who is guiding me along a journey to identify my “noble goal”. This effort is framed by investigating, assessing, and discussing (at great lengths) my emotional intelligence…which is not for the faint of heart by the way.
I did not realize when I engaged in these 2 very different efforts that the paths would not only cross but actually merge into the same series of questions (…these all stem from the aforementioned existential crisis):
- Why am I here?
- What do I believe?
- What am I willing to do about it?
It became apparent that in order to answer any of the questions, I had to answer all of them and ensure that there was alignment. The other challenge was that I mistakenly imagined that at least one of the journeys was strictly intellectual and I would do my best to keep the other as much in my head as I could (insert evil laugh here). Well….that did not work. I could not reason my way through either one so that left me with but one choice…I would have to…”gulp”… feel my way through.
I have now confirmed the adage that states, “The longest journey you will take is the one from your head to your heart.” That said, I can also attest that it is a trip worth taking – if you are into that type of thing…don’t attempt it if you are not. I offer this caveat with all sincerity because it is challenging work that is certainly not easy but it is simple. Always remember, clarity has a cost.
Interestingly enough, I also realized (in retrospect) that all of the books I have read over the past 18 months were variations on the same theme. Some of them even referenced each other – which was a bit spooky. Here is list if you are interested.
- Ego Is The Enemy (Ryan Holiday)
- The One Thing (Gary Keller)
- Triggers (Marshall Goldsmith)
- Nonsense (Jamie Holmes)
- Essentialism (Greg McKeown)
- Humble Inquiry (Edgar Schein)
- A More Beautiful Question (Warren Berger)
- The Power Of The Other (Dr. Henry Cloud)
- Deep Work (Cal Newport)
- Start With Why (Simon Sinek)
- Rapt (Winnifred Gallagher)
- Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned (Kenneth Stanley & Joel Lehman)
So what about relentless, passionate, and heretical? These are the 3 core traits that speak to me as a person and that help me to more succinctly communicate to others what I believe and what they can expect. In all honesty, they are there to help me “get to no” more quickly. I want people to be able to determine immediately if they even want to engage in a conversation with me about my noble goal. I am fully aware that these words might turn some people off but the flip side of that is that they will “speak” to people who believe what I believe…and those are people I yearn to connect with.
We all have something very special to offer the world but…
- do we clearly understand and embrace what it is?
- are we willing to sacrifice the trivial many to focus on the vital few?
I will leave you with the following that Greg McKeown shared in Essentialism:
- Once an Australian nurse named Bonnie Ware, who cared for people in the last twelve weeks of their lives, recorded their most often discussed regrets. At the top of the list: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
- “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
I am relentless, passionate and heretical…what about you?