What would it take for you to have the exact life you want where you get to do exactly what you want, when you want? It doesn’t take a miracle, but it does take specific ingredients. Winning the lottery is NOT one of the ingredients (sorry if that is disappointing!)
It takes imagination because you need that in order to figure out what you want in the first place. It takes courage to go for it once you have dreamed up the ideal lifestyle. But it takes something more… this is the part that may surprise you…discipline. Imagination, courage and discipline are the ingredients. How you put those things together into a successful process requires help (a fourth ingredient).
Just like making scrambled eggs, you need all the ingredients, and, you also need to know what to do with them! And everyone needs these things, except maybe Richard Branson…well even he has all the ingredients and he seems to enjoy life. If you want proof, he owns an island…hello!
I for one I am not immune. Some years ago, (that’s as specific as I’m going to be!) I was the manager of the Floral Dept. in a happening gourmet grocery store near the convention center in downtown San Diego. Even though it was a piece of cake…40 set hours per week, full benefits, I got to play with flowers and meet interesting people all day…It was getting more and more clear that this job was not ‘it’ for me. Was I bored? Did I want to do something else instead? I HAD NO IDEA!
But I did know I had to try some different things, and that would take time. I also knew I did not want to lose my income while I experimented and fumbled around. I hatched a plan to ask my boss to let me work only part-time.
It would mean saying good-bye to benefits, to job security, to a set schedule and to my seniority (a job in the floral department was highly coveted by my grocery store co-workers!), but I had to do it! I needed at least a baseline income, and I needed a flexible schedule so I could take classes, and do projects until I found what I might like to do as a profession.
I hesitated for some days, building up courage (or that’s what I told myself). One day, sitting and stewing in my floral department a co-worker came by whom I had confided in about my plan.
“Have you talked to Mr. ‘C’ yet?” he asked.
“Go now!” he said. “I just came from his office, it’s really slow, now’s the perfect time!”
I still hesitated.
“Don’t worry, I’ll watch the flowers!” and he literally pushed me toward the stairs leading to the administrators offices.
When I walked into my boss’s office and told him I wanted to give up my management position and be a part time floral floater, he said, “You want to give up your benefits? Your Monday-Friday-8-5-piece-of-cake schedule? Your seniority?”
“Yes” I said.
He looked at me in total shock. By his standards, I was living the grocery store employee dream. Why on earth would I give that up, he seemed to be wondering.
Because it wasn’t my dream.
I wound up working part time in floral for about nine months while I took broadcast journalism classes, got an internship at a news station, developed freelance writing clients and learned video editing. It was not long before I was hired full-time to write broadcast news at KUSI.
From there, I moved to New York City to study coaching and entrepreneurship with Sage University, then became a co-preneur with my partner training companies and individuals, speaking at women’s business conferences in the U.S. and in other countries, writing a book, raising a family and now that I’ve settled in the Texas Hill Country I am halfway to a graduate degree in Program Evaluation for Human Development.
None of this would have happened if I hadn’t learned to use discipline to clear a path for myself. Since that first time when I was pushed into making a leap of ‘faith’, I have learned that I need this discipline to push through the riffraff (or else allow myself to be pushed) in the direction I want to go! A life of adventure and challenge and fulfillment would not be mine if I wasn’t able to habitually sort out and dismiss irrelevant data, and focus on what is relevant to forward motion and an enjoyable life.
Now I am so grateful for that one colleague who shoved me up the stairs toward the boss’s office that day. Without him, who knows, maybe I would still be making floral bouquets; bitter with resentment about the life I never lived. I owe a lot to him for showing me how nice it can be to get pushed!
A few years ago I went back to visit him and to say thank you. He was still working at the same store. He’s a manager now. He was happy to hear how much of a difference he had made in my life. If he only knew…how much of a difference it made!
PS if you ever need someone to push you in the direction you want to go, I think you know how to find me! Dana@DanasMyCoach.com