For 43 years, I settled. I separated life and work. I thought there was work time and off time. Work time meant that I would leave the place I wanted to be, and those I wanted to be around, to go a place I didn’t want to be to do something I didn’t want to do. After I was done being where I didn’t want to be, I would leave there and go back to the place I wanted to be. Work paid the bills and provided for my family and my role in their lives was doing things I hated – for their benefit. No matter how miserable I felt in this miserable cycle, my duty was to suck it up and carry out my miserable responsibility.
I was like the executive Joe six-pack. I accepted roles that paid the bills, felt like I was punching a salaried timeclock, and felt a sense of joy when I left work to come home. To add to that chaos, my home life was in disarray because my wife and kids were in the same miserable state. It was a reflection of my own misery, sacrifice, and turmoil. There wasn’t a whole lot of peace and harmony that was created from my duty. My home was a war zone of physical, mental, and emotional abuse – but I felt the nice house, cars, savings account, and frequent vacations made it all worth it.
No looking back
And then everything collapsed. My relationship with my wife fell into a state of pain and seemingly disrepair, my kids needed counseling, my health failed from physical neglect and alcoholism, and I lost two executive positions in 20 months because of my life’s chaos. Life and work were not separate and distinct. As my life crumbled, so did my ability to perform in my executive roles. It all fell apart at the same time, and I was suicidal. I was doubting everything I ever thought I knew about life. I had no idea who I was, what to do, and what life even meant. My entire world view was in jeopardy and doubt.
Looking back, it was the worst of times. But it was also the best of times. Since I had nothing, I got to revalue everything. Sure, I tried to retreat back into my familiar yet uncomfortable life of sacrificing myself for income, but that didn’t work either. I was unemployable and couldn’t find a job. No one would have me, and I didn’t blame them. I wouldn’t have hired me either.
I remember vividly reaching a point when I realized that I couldn’t go back to the life I knew. I reached a point where I figured out that I had nothing figured out. Everything I had learned about life got me to a suicidal state with nothing but a bunch of material possessions. In essence, I had nothing to lose. I was learning what I hadn’t learned up to that point: life is not about sacrificing myself for blocks of time followed by small segments of time waiting for the next block of sacrificial time. I decided to cast aside everything I had ever learned and begin living a life in line with my desires – my inner compass.
You have what it takes right now
In my book, The Imposter In Charge, I detail how our inner compass is our guidance system. We all possess talents, gifts, and an innate desire to serve and show up in life in a certain way. I believe every single individual on our planet of 7.7 billion people has their very own path carved out in their DNA, and most are rejecting or ignoring their own desires until they can’t feel them anymore. When they no longer feel a higher calling, they settle for a robotic, artificial life driven by programming, routine, and what they perceive they “should” be doing with their time. They numb their desires and destiny out of doubt and fear and live in the comfort of a small, unaligned life. My opinion is that most live in a state of delayed happiness, where they feel that peace, love, happiness, and joy will show up later when they have a certain material, relationship, amount of wealth, or even retirement. They have to have that future state to enjoy life.
Your inner compass is your guidance system for finding joy in each moment of the day. Your inner compass is telling you what will bring fulfillment now, not later, by helping you understand what experiences right now will create happiness in your life. The happiness we seek is never in future outcomes but in the delicious experiences of life right now. It’s in experiences, not outcomes, where the richness of life can be found.
For me, when I was in my executive roles, the only thing I ever enjoyed was developing my people and teams to perform at higher levels, and to empower them to aspire to heights beyond their current perspective. I spent hours in one-on-one conversations with my team members helping them discover the true essence of themselves and helping them align with their own talents so the business would succeed, and they would be fulfilled.
Designing my path
When I decided to reinvent myself, I cast aside everything else. I literally decided that material wealth was not more important than internal happiness and fulfillment. I went on a quest to determine how I wanted my relationship with my wife and kids to feel, what I wanted my daily schedule to look like, and what I wanted to show up in my health. My inner compass or GPS knew what I wanted, and I decided to accept nothing less. I began the process of eliminating everything else from my life that didn’t align. I moved down the path toward what I wanted. It might seem hard to do, but, trust me, it’s easier than you might think. You just need to be willing to lose things that don’t align – including who you think you are, and what you believe about life.
Once I decided what I wanted and began moving in that direction with nothing to lose, it all came quickly. Today, my rebuilt marriage is healthier than I ever thought it could be. My kids are healing from years of chaos, I help others find their own internal power, and I have created all of this with not a shred of sacrifice. I never have to do what I don’t want to do in order to do what I want to do. Neither do you. Your fear-based mind might convince you otherwise, but that doesn’t make it true.
There’s more to life than sacrifice and doing things you don’t enjoy. You don’t need to sacrifice to have what you want, and suffering is never the way to achieve the wealth, happiness, peace, and love you desire. The key to unlocking all you desire is in your inner guidance, and you just need to be courageous enough to desire your desires much more than the life your mind tells you that you must live.
I invite you to begin the process of evaluating the life you want to live. I’ve created a vision document to help you. If you’re open to more support, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a variety of ways to support you!
Your inner compass is always pointing due north and holds the key to your life’s fulfillment and ease. Which direction you are walking is completely up to you, but it’s never too late to get back on the path that will create everything you’ve ever wanted.