Don’t get jammed up with a list of Shoulds!
Doing what’s right for you rather than what you think you’re supposed to do…
I should call so and so, I should visit my parents, I should get a promotion, I should get a nicer car….
The list goes on.
A friend’s mom passes away recently after a long illness.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, nobody is able to travel for a funeral.
We’re on a group Zoom call to commemorate her life telling stories and enjoying visiting.
I noticed her husband of 55 years is so busy fretting, “I should call so and so” “I should call the funeral home” that he cannot enjoy the shared memories or let go and mourn very well.
Discussing it later with my friend, he says “Dad gets caught in a loop lately on what he should do.”
Frequently in life and business, we get trapped in a rut on autopilot, not really happy with any of our options.
I’ve been there and it can be painful to get unstuck by force.
Like the end of a toxic marriage and a toxic job combined with the death of a parent within days of each other.
These experiences make me take a deep look at my life choices and how I got “here”.
“It’s like a dream promotion,” I am so excited and proud that my hard work and struggle paid off when I finally get a big promotion in 2015.
Dream job, money, fame, autonomy to lead a division of a multinational luxury brand owner.
I’m super optimistic, building teamwork, working on strategic plans; living the dream.
I pull together the team and start hitting and beating targets quarter after quarter for the next few years.
Four years in, I hit the wall.
My optimism is crumbling under the increasingly large boulders I’m trying to drag up the mountain.
Smashing my head upon the wall with a divided and disorganized C-Suite Team after which I went from being very optimistic to very pessimistic.
I am running out of options and the shot clock is running out.
One night, watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in some random road warrior hotel I realized I am trapped and set up to fail.
It hit me like a 2×4 of clarity that this struggle was not worth it.
I had been soldiering on for so long despite knowing at the back of my mind that this was a dead end.
Six months later, I was sacked in the midst of a politicized protest situation and increasing economic slump.
I was shocked and furious.
“How dare they!!!”
“I am the first GM to give them a profit in the history of the division.”
Two days later I wake up lighter, like a heavy rock was removed from on top of my chest.
Realizing that I had been done a favor, I had been feeling isolated and alone.
Turns out the universe had more “gifts” in store for me.
I get divorce papers.
While not unexpected, the timing is shocking coming so close after my mom died and the work debacle.
I was doing what I was supposed to do for my family.
Providing well for my family, doing all of the “nice guy” things like birthday parties, trips to Home Depot and vacations.
I realize, we covered up incompatibility and differing beliefs with a fierce desire not to be alone which served us until it doesn’t any longer fit.
Coming from a family where doing what you should is expected leads me to repeat this in my life over and over until I learn the lesson.
I learned it well from my bipolar mother, father who dove into work to escape her, and sarcastic brother using humor to protect himself.
My point to these stories was that at the time I am going through both my professional and personal lives doing what I should do or supposed to do, rather than what’s right for me.
I was supposed to get married and have the perfect family, career, house, car, etc…
As the saying goes, the universe will give you a hint if you are listening.
If not, you get hit by a Mack Truck of change.
I believe many of us go through life on autopilot, doing what we believe we’re supposed to do.
Gratefully, these decisions got made for me, waking me up to the lack of fit for me in this life.
My sincere hope for you is to wake up a bit and think about your choices.
If you don’t feel quite right with your family, career, company, relationship, take the lead to do something about it before things get out of control.
I’ve had high levels of success and paid the price so you don’t have to.
I have rebuilt my life one brick at a time so you don’t have to lose everything to figure out what needs to change for you to be happy, value driven and successful within your own definition.
Let’s set up a consulting call today.