Anyone who knows me will likely be surprised at such a title associated with my name. I am one of those people whereas if I can analyze it and make it complicated, I probably will because I was well paid in corporate to consider all the risks and variables connected to a project, launch, operations or board reporting. Assessing, analyzing and creating solutions is all I have known to do for the past 17 years of my career.
Although I am/was required to do it for my career, my personal life was being deeply impacted by events that were completely out of my control...something had to give.
The Events that Changed My Complex Life
The Loss of My Things:
Given that I come from a very humble background, I considered it a sign of achievement that as I was promoted in my career, I was able to afford some of the best quality clothes, home decor, and things money could buy. And then two key events happened: I had a major house flood and through a mixup at a storage unit, all my possessions were wiped out in a matter of a day. I was devastated and no insurance check could replace the fact that it had taken me 15 years to accumulate all that I had up to that time.
The Loss of a Dear Friend:
|My Dear College Friend and His Family|
One day out of the blue, a church friend sent around an email requesting everyone pray for this young family of four who was in a major accident over the Memorial holiday in 2010. The mother and two children died at the fiery scene. The husband/father, was dragger from the car and was at a local hospital with burns on 70% of his body. The email included a picture and my legs gave out from under me when I saw my college best friend and his family staring back at me from a family photo that was taken a few months before the accident.
I rushed to find what I could on Google before heading to the hospital and I was angered because all the news media could highlight in their reports was how my friend and his family were "prominent", "lived in a beautiful home in a wealthy neighborhood", "up and coming", etc. I was angered because how did any of this matter in such a tragedy???
I then rushed to the hospital where I saw my friend laying in an induced coma...the sight of his perfectly healthy 35 year old body laying with all the burns was breath-takingly painful. My friend recovered after many weeks, found out later that he had missed the funerals of his wife and children due to his coma and then died 14 weeks after the accident (and a few days after his 36th birthday) from a blood clot.
I knew back then that in life, our possessions, positions, wealth, etc doesn't really matter. Who we are in the face of adversity, triumphs and in the midst of life decisions is all that matters. And my friend was a blessing of survival, forgiveness and comfort to all until the end...
How These Events Made Me Better in a Simpler Way
I can't say to you that my life was changed overnight by these events, but I can tell you that they set in motion a commitment to live the rest of my life in a way that was focused on what really mattered to me. I would always continue to be thankful for what I do have but keeping the proper perspective of the meaning of stuff in my life was what was changing me in a profound way.
The "simpler life" road started for me several years ago and through struggles, I can say that my life has more peace and more deeply connected relationships that I wouldn't trade for the world!
Highlights of My Simpler Life
|This old bestseller is Awesome! Get it here.|
- Less People Pleasing Ego: I don't know if I was purposefully being ruled by a robust ego in the sense of trying to be "King of the Jungle" like a man but I can say that in order to make everyone happy with what I was doing, I was literally killing myself to keep all the balls in the air so that I could get a pat on the back from everyone who dealt with me. It wasn't working. Stomach ulcers, hair falling out, etc. Only now, at age 39, have I shed so much that I can truly say I am only working on what I believe is connected to my life's purpose as a career (it helps that I am an entrepreneur and can create the work that I'm passionate about).
- More Richness Out of Life: Instead of being apart of the daily grind of commuting to work, rushing errands on the weekend, rushing to meetings, being constantly anxious, etc., I have purposefully (and strategically) positioned my life to where when I "show up" for an event, family gathering, meeting, etc...I REALLY SHOW UP. No working on my phone, no sneaking in a call to the EVP to resolve a board problem...the people who I have the pleasure of connecting with get all of me. Period. It has made me have such a sense of well-being because it is now richer...I can't explain it. It just is.
Also, surprisingly, I've experienced more success than I ever dreamed or imagined...focus works!
- Less Stuff, Less Everything: I have to admit that there are times when I see people post pictures of amazing vacations on social media that it makes me get a ting but then I realize, I am doing me. Pure and simple. Of course I love fabulous vacations. But since I own a startup, my funds are almost exclusively dedicated to my company. And thus, I have no regrets and I am normally the person commenting on vacation posts with "Get it girl!" or "Nice beautiful scene!". And I really mean it! I will get to New Zealand again and guess what...it will be "richer", simpler and on my terms without the rush. (FYI: I also have less relationships I dedicate myself to, less events on my calendar, less volunteer groups I support, less news, less shopping, etc.) And this especially works for me because then I can be obsessively focused on those things that matter the most to me...which leads to my current well-being and positivity!
I hope you are inspired from my personal journey and no matter what you do in your career or the life you choose to live...we all have only one life and shot at making our lives the best we can. Be proactive in whatever makes you consider your life valuable and unlike me, don't let life tragedies make you have to assess your life before you take action.
My simpler life journey is still evolving but I have come a long way!
Believing for you to live up to your maximum potential...