Life can be a roller coaster at times. There will be highs and there will be lows. The important thing is not to overreact or think that everything has to be perfect all the time. Perspective is important. There is no silver bullet. There is nothing you can buy or pill you can take that will make you happy for any extended period.
In our society that rewards constant action, it is often hard to step back and reflect about where you have been, what you have learned, and where you should be going. However, leadership requires thinking and reflection as much as it is supposed to stimulate action. Many people I know are busy at doing the wrong things. They are working hard but not smart. Every day is just one more attempt to push the boulder up the hill and hope that at some point positive sustained momentum will push them over the top. Unfortunately as the slope of their climb increases the weight of their responsibilities also increases and the path they are treading becomes less predictable and stable. You can’t push forward into unchartered territory and not expect to learn some tough lessons along the way. If you are not careful, you may slip or fall and the boulder will roll right back over you.
I’ve often heard it said that if you want to know what a person truly values, pay attention to what they do, not what they say. Actions do speak louder than words. Many of us are hypocrites and don’t even realize it. I have a professional belief that a considerable amount of unhappiness in leadership (and life) is due to individuals living in conflict with their true values and focusing on the wrong priorities. We are either moving closer to or further away from from the person we’d like to be. There is no standing still. The person we become is a direct result of the outcomes we create and how we get there.
When it comes to your life I highly encourage you to be a non-conformist. Carve out your own path. Worry less about what other people think and more about living a meaningful life – whatever that means to you. Too many people simply plug into a system. They do what they think they are supposed to do without regard for how it makes them feel. They are also constantly bombarded with messages praising consumerism and the belief that acquisition of material goods will be their just reward and make them happier. Unfortunately, life doesn’t really work out this way.
Every leader I know wants to be successful. In fact, they can usually articulate the generalities and specifics of what this means pretty easily. However, the majority of these same people spend most of their time simply “surviving”. Why is this? If it’s not a question of awareness, what is getting in our way? The answer is simple: our actions don’t match our thoughts, ideas or goals.