Follow Your Own Path
Our moms love us, but they don’t totally get us. Take this conversation from late last week as we were preparing to head into the wilderness…
Me: Hey, Mom. I’m calling to remind you that we’re heading out camping in a few days. We might not be as reach-able for a couple of weeks.
Mom: Oh, gosh, I’ll be worried sick. You know a man was just killed by a bear out there in Montana. That’s where you’re going, right?
Me: Ya – but don’t worry, we’ll be fine. We do this a lot. Picture us among flowers and mountains – not bears.
Mom: Why don’t you just go someplace where you can stay in a hotel. You like that better, don’t you?
Me: No, we like it equally. We’ve talked about this. You know we call ourselves multiple personality travelers.
Mom: I don’t get it. And how can you not work for two weeks?
Me: MOM, you know we work from where ever we are. It’s the basis of the life we’ve built.
At this point the conversation turns – as it always does – into a “why don’t you still work at ____” conversation. I won’t bore you with the details. Instead, enjoy this picture of us among mountains and flowers.
Reject a templated life.
We tend to shun the mold. It’s tough when people don’t understand it, but it’d be even more difficult to conform.
This weekend, we had lunch with a couple of people who want to start their own location independent business. It was eye opening and, actually, a real a-ha moment for us.
As we were eating veggie-packed sandwiches in the blazing Seattle sun (yep, we got our summer), talk kept turning back to what other people are doing to start a business. Brainstorming successful models is great, but our two companions were fixated on mirroring an existing model.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not a solid strategy. Not because it won’t work (it might) but, rather, because this approach requires you to work from the outside in and not the other way around.
Create your own reality in life and work.
If, when we had started our business, we had tried to duplicate an existing model, we’d probably be simply contributing to the white noise. Sure, we might be successful, but our work wouldn’t have our unique stamp. We wouldn’t be entirely ourselves. During a visit to the Grand Canyon a few years back, we did what we now tell everyone else to do and firmed up how to mesh our unique talents with a need out in the world. It started with us.
Exploring your passion, your strengths and what differentiates you is really about examining how to be yourself. It’s ultimately about figuring out who you are and plugging into a need where you can add value. It requires some heavy lifting, but it is significantly more fulfilling.
Many of us get so caught up in chasing someone else’s dream, that it becomes easy to ignore the incredible things were supposed to be doing and the unique contributions we’re meant to be making. That’s what keeps some people frustrated. And, as the conversation above illustrates, this doesn’t just apply to the world of work. We actually bump into it in nearly everything we do.
We could have lives and beliefs that our moms understand – that fit a template – but at what cost?
In work and in life, we say it’s best to make it very personal. Do everything with intention.
By the time we made it to chocolate chip cookies, our friends were on board and even inspired to take a new, more personal, approach to their new venture. After all, it feels good to be told to be yourself.
As we walked home from lunch, enjoying the waterfront, we talked about our guilt (and frustration) over having perpetually confused moms. We decide that it’s better to be honest – to be ourselves.
Use Halloween as an opportunity to be someone else. That’s our plan.
Does your mom think you’re crazy? Let us know. We’re off to chill among the mountains and flowers of Glacier National Park.