“To express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself…that, my friend, is very difficult to do.”
– Bruce Lee
For the first 24 years of my life, my reason for getting out of bed each morning had always been centered around outside expectations. Growing up, there was the outside expectation of going to school every day. After leaving college, there was the outside expectation from my workplaces that I would be at work every day.
When I left my most recent job at a digital marketing agency in September 2017, it was the first time in my life where there was no consistent outside expectation that “forced” me to get out of bed every morning. As a result, one of the major challenges of my first few months working for myself has been developing a deeper understanding of my own inner expectations for myself. I’ve always expected a lot of myself, but I had never taken the time to clarify what it was that I wanted. Having no consistent outside expectations to meet forced me to think deeply about what it was I truly wanted out of my life.
To me, the real value of these two questions of “who are you” and “what do you want” is not so much in the answer itself as it is in the process of thinking through the answer. The answer itself will constantly evolve over time as I grow and develop as a person. But asking myself “what do I want” allows me to compare my answer to that question with my answer to “what am I doing.” Comparing “what do I want” and “what am I doing” gives me guidance with respect to the areas of my life that I want to change.
Last thought of the week: there’s a great episode of the Finding Mastery podcast with Valorie Kondos Field, head coach of the six-time NCAA champion UCLA women’s gymnastics team. There were a ton of gems in this episode: the idea that optimism is a choice we make and making that choice is at the center of mental toughness. The idea that joy is a byproduct of making that choice. But what stood out to me beyond those intellectual concepts is the energy and excitement Miss Val brings to “getting” to wake up and live every day because getting to live and do things is so much fun! That’s the level of excitement and energy that I want to be able to bring to every day of my life.