Are you seeking happiness in the wrong place?

Difficulties don't come into your life to destroy you. But to help you realize your hidden potential. - Anonymous

Standing in Google Office

A Career throw-back to 2014

Often times, the progress we perceive ourselves to be seeking, is not what we are truly after. 

We may say we need to improve our capacity to create a space for our clients or team to thrive.

We may say we need to care for ourselves more. To offer ourselves time for yoga, rest, pilates, gym, or massage.

We may say that we need to prepare our children to thrive in the world.

Whatever we say, in regards to our money, businesses, families, or bodies, is wonderful. It’s wonderful to have wants. To support others. To care for our families. To care for our bodies. To make money.

These are important aspects of being human. Inextricably linked to the fabric of what it means to be alive.

Something that I continue to bring myself back to is discovering what these pursuits are really about. Meaning, going deeper into my motivations and the way they do or do not align with the person I want to be while I’m here.

The seeking of progress and advancement is not inherently a problem. Though, do we know why we seek it? Do we know the deeper motivations that compel us to want what we do?

And as we pursue creating the money, children ready to face the world, and/or a world-class business, have we ever had moments where we felt to be in a never ending pursuit?

The feeling that we are continually chasing the carrot on a stick? Only ever getting small fleeting tastes of it, before running after it again.

I spent most of my life feeling this. And a present memory for me is when I worked in corporate. 

Over the course of the first four and half years I poured myself into my work. Promoted six times over that term. Then, I finally arrived at what I felt was the destination. My Director’s role.

For much of my time in corporate I loved my work. Building teams and supporting our clients was a lot of fun for me. 

Though, other areas of myself and my life were ignored.

My relationship with my body had never been one that I would call positive. In a constant effort to try and feel like I was good looking enough for my own approval, I would workout twice daily. 

I only ever reached fleeting moments of accepting my appearance.

I was engaged. And we both knew deep down this relationship was not right for us. Though, we were doing what we thought we were supposed to do. 

Her family, assumed she would get married at her age. She was close to them, and cared deeply about what they thought of her.

Me, I made an unconscious decision to not follow the family trend of divorces. So when times were challenging, I doubled down, refusing to follow the path of much of my family. 

It felt righteous and noble. And that blinded me.

Fun was foreign to me during this time. I enjoyed my work, as I said, for much of the time, but beyond that….. crickets. I didn’t know what brought a smile to my face, or would have me laughing to tears.

Socially, I was mostly withdrawn.

As these aspects of my life went un-explored and under the radar, I clung harder to my corporate work. I began putting all my energy and emphasis on this promotion being the one that made everything worth it.

It would be this promotion and this salary that would bring me the happiness and the feeling of having made it. When I received and arrived into my Director role, I was in for a surprise.

This role that I worked four and half years to get. This role that I put so much into. This role that was going to help solidify my career and financial path. I made it. I got it. 

And I felt hollow. 

It gave me the title and good money.

But that wasn’t what I was actually after.

It was the thing under the thing. In this case feeling that I, and my life was enough. And to feel that I was living the true potential that burned deep inside of me. And it wasn’t there.

It was hollow.

When I arrived in my role, I had to come to face some new truths in my life.

One being that I was trying to chase down a feeling of being enough, and happiness through titles and money. 

This was hard to face. 

Because if I could not find my happiness here, or reach my potential by banking on this position, what was I to do?

The other being that my life was way out of balance, and underdeveloped. Aspects of my life and the way I felt about myself were being completely ignored. 

The third piece, that I would later come to see is that to live our potential, it is something we reconnect with each day. It is something we connect with in each moment, and bring it into our lives. 

Our potential is not a destination. 

It’s something we come to find in ourselves. It’s something we learn to hear. To understand. Then allow it to guide us each day.

Our greatest potential is not found in the titles, money, business, or family, in and of themselves.

It’s when we feel connected to that fire that burns in us. That fire that yearns to live fiercely and fully, and pour that connection into each areas of our lives, that matters. That is what many of us yearn to experience.

To live that full life. Where there is space for exploring and enlivening each aspect of what it means to be human. What it means to be me. What it means to be you.

For me, going back to what I needed to face after my promotion. I spent the next few months walking through my life with a fog around me. I had put so much hope and expectation that this role and salary would make the feelings of being in a rut go away.

It took time, some support and a whole lot of courage to begin exploring these aspects of myself and my life that were shoved in the basement.

With this all said, what about you?

What are you seeking right now?

And when you dig deeper…

And dig deeper still….

What are you really after?

When we get to the root of what we are longing for, new doors can open. These new doors can show us new ways to meet these deeper needs.

Be well,

Matt


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