Hello SOTGC community,
Last year I attended a corporate holiday party and engaged in a conversation with a colleague and dear friend on the topic of career satisfaction, life passion and utilization of natural talents. I was pushing her to think outside of the box and try something new – something she truly had a passion for… When I asked her if retirement was in her near future her reply surprised me. She told me that she didn’t relish the idea of retiring because she thought she’d be bored. I on the other hand, told her that I can’t wait to one day retire so that I can pursue all of the goals I currently don’t have time to pursue – one of which was to start a non-profit. Then it hit me… I needed to take my own advice!
Life is short and we really never know what tomorrow may bring. My accountant recently told me a story about his client that had financially “done everything right”. She was debt free, owned a house and had a large sum in savings. She never traveled, took much time off, or splurged on treats for herself because she was waiting to do all those things when she retired. Sadly, her life ended early and unexpectedly due to a terminal illness and she never had the chance to enjoy the fruitfulness of her hard work. The lesson we can take away from this story is to make sure that we aren’t putting off pursing our dreams – whether those dreams are to travel the world or start a business.
I ended up taking my own advice and in January 2013 I co-founded Smith + Aitken 4 Awareness, a non-profit geared towards reducing suffering caused by colorectal cancer. I don’t have the amount of free time or level of financial resources to devote that I anticipate having upon retirement – but what I do have is the gratification of knowing that I am taking small steps towards a lofty goal.
What is it that is important to you? Whether it’s starting a business, community involvement, or even a new hobby, don’t put it off – find a way to incorporate it into your life now. I began asking myself everyday if the tasks I’m partaking in are meaningful and enjoyable? If not, do they at least contribute to something that is meaningful and enjoyable? For example, doing the dishes is not meaningful or enjoyable, but cooking and having a clean home to relax in is. Cooking allows me to be creative and express my love for others and a clean home allows me to feel serene. When I remember that, doing the dishes is a little more bearable. When I first began this exercise, I realized that many of the things I was regularly engaging in were not meaningful to me. I have since been more selective when agreeing to meetings, more intentional with my tasks, and have altered my business model to allow me to remain in areas where I am naturally talented and find meaning. This paradigm shift has made a big difference in my overall happiness. Take a moment to evaluate your life and priorities. If your daily routine is not supporting your priorities and goals see where you can start to make a change. It’s never too late…