Will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed)
"Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t."
- Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss.
Just when you think you’ve got life sorted it slaps you round the chops and reminds you that you’re human, fallible and always have stuff to learn.
I was inspired by Ray Dalio’s principles for work and life a few years ago. The relentlessness he had for finding the truth was something I picked up on and wove into my own life.
Truth hunting in my world was the constant pursuit of actual causes behind decisions, events, communication, people and, importantly, myself. As Malcolm Gladwell says in his Masterclass on writing, to get to the real answers you have to be unwilling to accept the initial answers the world has given you.
I went at it full pelt, pushed other people to do the same and would wax lyrical to anyone who would listen. Which worked really well… until I suddenly stopped doing it.
The Plot Thickens
My son was born in May 2017. An incredible experience and one I was fully ready to embrace in every sense. I ended up back at work after two weeks off and immediately everyone kept saying to me “you don’t look tired, you seem fine!”, to which I responded “I feel fine!”.
And I believed that after a few weeks.
The result of saying something over and over again is becomes a narrative we live through. You could say our lives are a series of narratives we tell ourselves, for better or for worse.
The problem with my narrative was I wasn’t fine. The truth hunting behaviours of someone who is sleeping soundly, emotionally stable with a partner on the absolutely the same page about everything are quite different to those of a sleep deprived, emotionally hijacked, first child individual getting to grips with a new found family of three. Or at least they were in my case.
The long and short of it was I didn’t fix the small issues and relationship misalignments that we collect through life which creep up on us and form quite a pile under the (hand tufted wool Made.com) rug. They need dealing with and sweeping out. They need conversation and patience. They need empathy. They need truth hunting.
I had found those things missing. The easier route is not to tackle issues or have a difficult conversation.
Because of this I found myself lacking my usual energy and drive. I looked in other areas to try and fix the problem, brought on partly by my narrative that I was fine.
I tried to exercise more, track my sleep, read more, tweak the diet. All of which have their place but didn’t make much of a difference.
It wasn’t until after a conversation with a mentor I finally realised that I was avoiding some important issues I should be focusing on. And everything being tweaked around the edge was part of some sort of distraction game I’d created to keep my mind off the real problems.
So I made a commitment to myself to sort shit out and do whatever it took to deal with each of the relationships that needed attention, big and small. In just taking that step I felt a weight lift and in a couple of weeks my energy levels had returned to their normal 100 mile an hour state.
The interesting revelation for me was you can work on really valuable areas of your life, like fitness/diet/sleep/reading, but these things won’t fundamentally change you if you have underlying issues with people you work with and care about.
Deep down it’s our own responsibility to take care of ourselves, our wellbeing and our happiness. But everyone needs help and quite often a conversation with the right person points you in the direction you need and makes thing infinitely easier.
Reciprocity is a phenomenal thing, the act of giving without expectation of receiving anything in return. However true reciprocity is being open to receiving when something is offered, whether that’s a big opportunity or just a chat.
What I can say is I’m super clear on two things now, these are:
I want to do work that makes a difference and has an impact
I need to work with people I’m aligned with - so I can help get the best out of them and vice versa
It’s a reminder to ensure the things that are important to us have our focus, so that when we hit a bump in the road we're able to work through it, and bounce back, far quicker.
Will we succeed? Yes! We will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed).
- Deep down it’s our own responsibility to take care of ourselves, our wellbeing and our happiness.
- List out the top 3 things that are keeping you up at night and what you could do right now to change them.
- Ray Dalio's principles for success are a great source of inspiration.