It is my job as your coach to ask you questions to get you to ponder what you want for your business and for your life.
I don’t do that all the time as it would be exhausting. For us both.
And I don’t do it just in our calls. I do it on this blog, in my weekly newsletter, on our podcast and on social media as well.
I am asking as much for myself as for you as I too try to work out what life is all about. And obviously I am being provocative, to get you to do the thinking and the feeling.
In my sometime role of what one client calls playing the Devil’s Avocado, I may ask questions of you on topics about which you are rock-solid certain but where I know what you are telling me is an unhelpful opinion or a chosen belief, not a fact.
I don’t want it all to come tumbling down around your ears. And, without encouraging any more navel-gazing than I feel is essential in this already overly selfie-focused world, I do think it is important to live an examined life.
In that spirit, I recently asked this question of Facebook:
“If you had absolutely nothing to do (because you didn’t need to earn money) what would you do? Think carefully. It’s a harder question than it first appears, especially for those of us who love our work. It’s like being in the World’s Largest Sweet Shop* – how on earth do you choose? If you have always defined yourself by what you do, who would you be if you didn’t do it?”
More than sixty people weighed in with their thoughts. Gorgeous!
To save you reading the thread, unless you want to, their answers were mainly as follows:
More travel and learning languages, more time for all hobbies and leisure pursuits such as writing, dancing, painting and music, more fun, more rescuing of animals and creating sanctuaries, more cooking, pampering, walking, photography, reading, being in nature and doing eco things, building your own home and volunteering, more giving back and charities.
The key thing we think we will be able to buy in the World’s Largest Sweet Shop is time. Because we are busy earning money and bringing up a family, time is precious. Time for ourselves. Time for being not doing, time to be present in every moment.
My favourite comments were these two:
“Work defined me. Now I define me.” Quite. My point exactly.
“Brighten the corner where you are.” Definitely an ethos to which I can pin my colours.
The comment which was the most controversial, to me at least, was this:
“Everyone needs to have a purpose in their life. Life is tragic otherwise.”
I no longer agree with that, if I ever did.
And in a blissful synchronicity, the next day I discovered an article on this very topic by a woman named Krista who runs a website/blog called A Life in Progress. Despite Krista’s strapline echoing that comment about pursuing a life of purpose, her article is entitled “What If All I want is A Mediocre Life?”
Exactly. What indeed?
I am going to encourage you to read Krista’s article in full and let me know what you think. For me, it is spot on for the topic under review. It talks a lot about “enough”. She’s a really good writer and she says such things as…
What if I all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between. Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?
What if all the striving for excellence leaves me sad, worn out, depleted. Drained of joy?
What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world?
What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same. Accept that all I really want is a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough.
- I want a small, slow, simple life.
- I am most happy in the space of in between. Where calm lives.
- At times the striving for excellence has left me sad, worn out, depleted and drained of joy.
My question to Facebook came from precisely that sense of wanting to create a beautiful, quiet, gentle life.
I love offering my small gifts to the world. And that is enough for me.
How ’bout you?
*The world’s largest sweet shop appears to be in Dubai. It is called Candylicious. Now that I am carb-free, I won’t be beating a path to their door any time soon!