Angela Ahrendts, the CEO at Burberry, created the following thought. The message of the quote got to me, so much so that I just kept on reading it over and over. ‘Passionate, positive human energy can provide a counterbalance to the disruptive negative forces of an age of unprecedented change. Through it comes confidence, inspiration and the power to transform things for the better.’
There is so much power in this statement that you wonder where most of the power dwells. Confidence? Inspiration? Transformation? Your head starts to spin when you think of what is the most important component. Let’s face it, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all component that is the base upon which the rest of the statement sits. The beauty of Ahrendt’s comment is that every person can pick out the important factor that means the most to them.
Mine? Passion! I’ve been spending a significant amount of time thinking about how I want to spend the next 5 years of my life and how much money I want to generate within that time. The process seemed almost painful. Ever passed a stone? That painful! Then I read this quote and whacked my forehead with the heel of my hand. Duh! What’s my passion? Easy. Developing people.
How many people are buried in jobs that don’t challenge them, don’t pay crap, and leave them exhausted every night? I’d wager to say that over 60% of today’s workers. How many of that number know what their passion is? I’d say over half. If my math is correct we’re looking at 30% as the number of people sucking in air who know what their passion is.
Does everyone find their passion at the same time? No. A good friend of mine became passionate about “quality” in the workplace in his middle years. Now he practically sleeps with the Malcolm Baldridge award. A one-time client of mine found real estate sales and she routinely brings in over $300K annually. Don’t get her into a discussion on the topic unless you want to spend the day.
What is your passion and how can you bring it front and center in your life? Are you too fearful to even give it life? Have you really thought through what it will take to breathe life into the passion? Do you want to be on your death-bed, look back on your life and regret that you did not give your passion free rein? Don’t let it happen.
Pick up any shrink or self-help book and my guess is that before page 50 the author will tell you to “stay in the present”. I could not agree more. However! I’ll go back to my father for an example of someone who never lived in the past, present or future. To tell you the truth I’m not sure what he thought about, what he planned for, how he enjoyed life. Clearly, he never thought of the end. Even after he retired he still got dressed for work everyday. What the hell did my mother think when he showed up at the breakfast table in a white shirt, tie and suit coat! (Probably Show Me The Money)
I remember looking into my dad’s eyes as he was dying. I remember distinctly wondering what he was thinking about. His eyes seemed to carry the message I’m glad it’s over big guy, I’m tired. Or maybe he was wondering how he was going to fill the car up since he was flat broke.
OK, enough preamble. Regardless of your present age you need to carve time out of your life and begin to think about the end of your life or more accurately what will your financial, emotional, and mental outlook be when you are close to the expiration date on living. Downer subject, huh? I don’t think so. There are no life do-overs so why not look back as life begins the last act and have the smile on your face that indicates “I did good”!
I don’t mean to turn this into bullet point mania but these thoughts are worth pondering:
- What do you really like to do? What turns your crank, so to speak?
- Do you do enough of that on a daily basis?
- How do you like to have fun? Will you always have time to do that down the road?
- How much money do you need to save now so you can enjoy life down the road.
- Are you a big company person, small company person, own your own company person?
- How do your strengths and weaknesses help and/or hinder you?
- What will your last thought(s) be right before you know that your time is up? (Might want to put this one first.)
- Are there specific objectives you want to achieve in your life?
- How do you want to impact your kids?
- Is there some action, document, thought you want to leave with your family?
- Who are you?
Consider this an exercise about successful living on your way to your expiration date. And since none of us know when that will be shouldn’t you be thinking about all these things N-O-W?
Every once in a while it helps to get things off your chest. This is one of those times. In a recent article in National Review (guess you know my political persuasion) there was an article titled Happy Warrior. The author relates the story about Christine Laycob who is the director of counseling at a school in Missouri. She claims that best friends are a bad thing! She is actually encouraging kids not to pair up with a “best friend”.
Later in the article and unrelated to Laycob’s folly is the story of a soccer league in Ottawa Canada where any team that has a five goal lead would be deemed the loser and the losing team would be declared the winner, “to spare their feelings”. Would someone out there please explain these things to me? (There is a caveat here. I don’t know the ages of the players but I suspect they were very young and if they were there is some logic to this. Accent small!)
When I coached baseball I always had parent meetings before the season. I told them that we had three objectives for the season. We will teach kids the fundamentals of baseball, we will have fun, and we will play fairly to win. No one argued. Of course this was in the 80’s and in a suburb of overachievers. Those are three solid goals for any age, in any game, or in real life.
What message are the kids in Ottawa receiving? Guess what? In life there are winners and losers? Even if the Canadian rugrats were 4 years old the coach could always say, “kids, thanks for how hard all of you played. We’ll get ’em next time.” When should we begin to instill in our kids that competition and winning and losing are part of everyday life? We should not instill in our kids the idea that anything goes, winning is everything, no mercy. This is not the Roman Colosseum where death was the real agony of defeat. There is nothing wrong with instilling in kids at a young age that competition is healthy. The competition message can be altered and intensified depending on the age of the kid.
We all have mental tapes playing from our childhood. Those tapes never go away. They can be understood and put in perspective but they never go away. How will the “no winner/no loser” philosophy play out 10, 15, or 20 years down the road for the kid turned adult. That question bothers me a bit.
And back to Christine Laycob. To be fair there probably was more to this story than the NR writer included. Regardless. In light of the fact that American students are under performing academically why is this counseling director suggesting that “best friends” are not good? Christine, you are part of the problem! Go find a friend and get some feedback.