From an outsiders perspective, I’m sure I live a charmed life. I’ve been fortunate, lucky and have worked hard to learn the skills to take advantage of both. With the good, comes the bad and learning how to navigate both is where I think the coping and life mechanisms taught to me by my early experiences have helped, but there’s always room for improvement.
My latest career path has brought me a renewed sense of drive and has re-introduced me to something that I studied years ago: mindfulness and meditation. Although I have only been digging back into both recently, I’ve noticed a marked change in my behavior and attitude in times of stress and emergencies. As a recovering serial entrepreneur, I’ve had to use stress to propel me forward and use my gut to make decisions that couldn’t be made with adequate information. It was do or die, fail fast and fix faster. Over the years I’ve been able to craft that skill with an enterprise mindset that fits very nicely into the large-scale companies that I now find myself working for. With the new introduction of deeper meditation and mindfulness, I’ve been able to add a new element to the decision making processes that already has paid off dividends with successful product initiatives.
It’s easy to see this in my professional life as it’s easy to measure – just like products you have metrics to track with your job… Your reviews, your salary, your bonuses, your team feedback. What I’ve now had to dig into is my personal life. I’ve artificially created metrics that seemed to fit with how our culture dictated: stuff. I was caught up on the stuff train for a large portion of my life, ramping that up over the last few years significantly.
A recent development has now added a few new perspectives to my life view, my professional view and my family. Although it’s easy to see the adaptation and changes I’ve made because of my lovely daughter, it has taken a recent change with my father to start to really solidify what I want for her, for me and for my future.
My father recently has fallen very ill with a multitude of issues that stemmed from a life lived hard. I’d like to say that it was from something noble – working with his hands or mind to create a lasting legacy, but alas it’s from alcohol and prescription drug abuse fueled by a life in the hospitality management industry. As long as I can remember, my father was driven by status, who he was seen with, who he knew and what picture of success he conveyed to the world. Now, seeing what he has become, how his never ending need for status and grandeur has led to a life without friends and with needless possessions and worthless symbols, he’s dying with nothing.
This isn’t an easy post to write knowing that I am penning the inevitable but I need something to go back and read to put myself in check. I owe it to my daughter to never repeat the mistakes my father made. I owe it to my family to be more present and to honor our time together and be mindful of their needs over mine. I need to make my work, simply that, my work – pushing for the success I know I can generate without the worry and needless cannibalization of life – keeping it all in balance.
I know I’ve found the perfect job and company to help me get to the place I need to be. I am already on that path. Now I need to constantly add mindfulness and empathy to my daily life, extending the gratefulness I have in the others I work and live with on a daily basis. I need to use this situation with my father to help bring the needed perspective to my plans and goals in life and not let it consume me with negativity and frustration.