Everything seems to be going along according to plan, right?
You make enough money to support yourself and those you care for, you have a mode of transportation, maybe you have a house and possibly have already started saving for retirement. You get to do some traveling, you have a few (or several) close friends and you are in a relationship.
So what's the problem?
Only you can answer that -- and answer you should, because if you dig down deep, far into your soul, and if you are completely honest with yourself, you know that something is missing. If this is your conclusion, I ask you:
Will you be like the masses and do nothing about it? Just go on with your life, saying, It's fine, it's just fine. Or will you bet it all on black, go blindly into the darkness and seek a more fulfilling existence, regardless of the payoff?
According to Harvard Research, people don't make changes, don't improve their health, relationships or professional lives. Why? Because they are used to habit. Good or bad, it is hard to change a habit, but we should continue to try to do so.
Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote in his book, Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life (first published by Prentice Hall in 1960) that it takes 21 days to change a habit. He studied amputees and noticed that it took them 21 days to adapt to the loss of a limb, and concluded that this hypothesis applied to any major life change.
I'm not sure Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Resort Holdings, would agree with Dr. Maltz. Andy basically lost his arm, nothing left but raw bone; and while it was reconstructed piece by piece, he has still not adapted to his new arm. He has had 25 operations to prove it. I have personally interviewed Andy on several occasions for inclusion in my new book, SHIFT, coming out later this year.
Life has to be more than habit. You are unique and are meant to do amazing things. You were not put here to go through life like a routine, with no emotional charge, with fear to hold you back and security to handcuff you. It may be time for you to change your habits and shift your life in the direction that brings you to a state where you get up every day pumped up for what lies ahead.
Let's get down to the Nitti gritty.
• Are you unhappy in your job?
• Are you doing what you have always dreamed of?
• Are you with the love of your life?
• Are you with someone for safety and security?
• Do you wish you could travel to the corners of the earth but always come up with reasons why you never go?
• Do you have a secret passion that you have never pursued?
• Do you hate getting out of bed in the morning?
If you have answered yes to even one of these questions, and no to some real important ones, it's time for you to make a shift in your life. That shift may happen to you and wake you up to life. It may happen for you by the stars lining up just so, or you may actually initiate it. Whichever way it comes, it may be time-- that is if you really want to live a full, happy life.
I frequent a local restaurant where I grab a salad at lunchtime. I have gotten to know the gal (Bree) who always seems to be on duty. We struck up a conversation the other day.
"Are you in college here?" I asked.
"I'm working off my student loans." She seemed OK with her situation and had a cheery disposition.
"So you like your job?"
Her dimples disappeared.
"It's ok. It's not really what I want to do though."
"Really? What do you want to do?"
"You'll think it's silly." I laughed out loud. She had no idea I was writing a book about finding meaning in work and in life.
"Actually, I am interested. What is it that you really want to do?"
I could almost see her thoughts racing. Should I tell her my real dream or the one she wants to hear. Should I tell her I want to join a start-up, become a banker or a lawyer? Her shoulders relaxed and the dimples reappeared -- and then she leaned across the counter that separated us. I felt as though I was about to be let in on a great secret.
"I want to own a bakery."
How perfect. She looked like the owner of a bakery to me right away. Why? Because it was what her heart desired and it flooded across her face. "But there aren't any in this town. I mean Starbucks has some stuff they sell, but no real bakery."
I wanted to help.
"Have you ever heard of Rustic Bakery? It's big in the Bay Area."
Her pale blue eyes widened and her cropped blond hair bounced.
"No, I haven't."
"Well, in my opinion, they make the best croissants I've ever had. They have every kind of amazing pastry you could want, plus flatbread crackers that Whole Foods now carries. The best part -- it's all organic."
"Wow. That sounds great. I should look into them."
"Yes. You should call them and see if you can be an apprentice. That's what you should do."
I hope I didn't overstep my bounds, but I really wanted to see this sweet gal follow her dream.
Her smile turned into a grin.
Will she do it? Will she risk it all, call Rustic Bakery, work for free, bake out of her kitchen, whatever it takes? Or will she continue to waitress at the local salad place, work off her student loans, meet a guy, get married, have babies and call it a day? Not that any of that is bad -- but I want to see her have a life that she is really living, with all its experiences, its ups and downs, challenges and triumphs -- not just a life that is just fine.
What about you? Would you put it all on the line for your dream?
I urge you to consider how others have made significant shifts in their lives that have led them to live lives of exuberance, passion, purpose and fulfillment.
They are happy. Isn't that what we all strive for in the end?
Excerpt from Jody B. Miller's new book,
SHIFT: Finding True Meaning in Work and in Life
(2016: Pre-Order a signed copy today at: www.jodybmiller.com)