We push. We move. We never give up, but if we do, we make ourselves wrong. If we win, we strive for more. If we lose, we look to do better next time.
Not a bad life – the pushing, moving, learning and never giving up.
“But is that all there is?” asked one very financially successful client. “My wallet is full, my family is happy but my soul is devoid of any solace or joy” she said woefully.
“I spent my life running for success – generating a modern day momentum, and just when I thought I was there, I discovered I had fallen over a cliff and was falling into a never ending dive into more success.”
This is not an uncommon story I hear – many people have gone through that modern day momentum, only to find that they forgot another part of their existence – some people call it their soul, others call it their being.
Can you find both success ambition and your being – can we achieve balance in life?
Like any question of this nature: the answer is a double edged sword. There is a price to pay for gaining anything in this universe.
In our drive for success, we tend to give up the elements that make up what we call balance in our lives: the poetry we verbalize and express in our movements, decisions and body; the connections and relationships we express in our intimacy; the bliss from following our hearts; the stands that we take for the betterment of our worlds; the unreasonable time we take to do something important because we say so and not because there is a reason or deadline.
We all nod our heads and agree that this is needed and yet we fail to follow our intuition – the intuition born from years of suppression and frustration.
Yet, most of us fail to do so because in this day and age, the decision to spend some time with your bliss or poetry is fraught with perceived risk: ridicule from family members and career counselors, the fear of failure and losing confidence, the fear and guilt of coming to the end or middle of life and discovering the utter lack of any kind of bank account or career that you can hang on the wall like a huge medal – a nice distraction and cover up for a life unexamined – “but what the heck, it feels good to me”.
“So what is the answer Sunil?” she asked.
It is the double edged sword: giving something and giving up something.
What people have fallen into is a trap of success and the fears and guilt that come with it. This turns into rigidity over time – a rigid winning formula for success – e.g. put in the long hours, give up your personal time, give up a calm lunch hour, give up the poetry and art, etc.
Of course, this is required in times of urgency – but to continue with this winning formula whilst giving up your nurturing time is not sustainable. Something else needs to happen.
What tends to happen is that people fall into the rigid structures that represent this rigid winning formula – the way they schedule (or not), the way they plan (or not) and the way that they set up systems (or not). These structures are also fortified and made more rigid by a default context or default mission statement – the mission statement for survival, domination or avoiding embarrassment.
What we may have to give up is an attachment to that this is the only structure and mission/context available; that we can have no other structure or mission/context.
What we may have to give or pay is adopting a new mission and a new set of structures.
A new mission may be one that reflects a more humane you that can mix the wonders of ambition and balance in life.
A new structure will include systems that support this new mission.
The new mission takes work; dialogue and consistent refinement – it has to be done realistically and with dedication – like a craftsman proud of his art and his science – with attention to detail and real practicalities. It is not for the faint hearted and the flakey.
The new structures or systems will include calendars that reflect more blank space – this is the truest and best structures for spontaneity, aliveness, connection, relationship and innovation that I have seen in 22 years of coaching. More structures will be required – each person is different and requires different attention – there are complexities in you, your environment and your circumstances that must be addressed.
Put these new missions and new structures together and you will find yourself – your true being and calling in the delicate struggle to express yourself and be successful by all measures dear to you.
The world wants this and so do you – my invitation is to be true to yourself and express the courage it takes to take the first step – declaring that something new needs to be done and then follow through.
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