I often think about what advice I would give the old me. The one that was working in the corporate world and not really enjoying himself much.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with working in corporate, I believe that some people really enjoy moving up the ranks in a company and feel like they are doing some good in the world as a team. Really, there is meaning to be found in anything. I guess I had always pictured myself somewhere different, or maybe I was just weird, either way I was unhappy in my career. I was really good at managing other people and corporate training, so I kept moving up in the companies I worked for, which made me feel more and more stuck on that career path.
Had I talked to myself back then, I would have mostly talked about my mood. I remember the old me being very victim oriented. I was in a place where I wasn’t willing to take responsibility for my life. Oh yeah, I was willing to acknowledge all the hard work I had done, and how I had to overcome SO many things to get to where I was, but I was still blaming people for the sorrow in my life.
I blamed my father for never being supportive in my art. I blamed my mother for being an alcoholic and ruining my childhood. I blamed my ex-wife for telling me I started things but never finished them. I blamed my kids for stealing away my prime. I blamed the world for being unfair, and I blamed God for everything else that was going wrong.
The truth of the matter is that all of my excuses where just, excuses. My father was just looking out for me the best way he knew how. My mother never ruined my childhood, she did the best she could and it was better than most. My ex-wife was right, I did start things and never finished them. My kids never stole my prime, if anything they enhanced my life in ways that I can’t even describe. Most importantly, The world was not unfair and God had nothing to do with my misery. It was all me.
I can sit here and say that I would have told myself “Hey, you can be anything you want to be in your life, so do what you love” but, the truth is I wouldn’t have listened. Oh, it would have inspired me momentarily, I would have started another one of those projects that I wouldn’t finish, but it really wouldn’t have changed anything.
In fact, I’m sure I met a lot of people like me now, that took a chance on themselves and followed their dreams. The fact of the matter is that there are many people out there who love their jobs and are doing something that they feel is meaningful in the world.
I think honestly I would have just said “Dude, take ownership of your life and learn to love yourself. Quit blaming other people or circumstances, what happened in the past has no bearing on how you live your life. You decide who you are and what is possible for you. Make a decision and stick to it, become your own biggest cheerleader and move yourself through all the doubt and insecurity. Believe in yourself, and look for the opportunities that you are missing because you are so wrapped up in your bullshit way of seeing the world. If you think you will love doing something, then do it all the way, and for God’s sake quite your whining, if you are going to talk about something, make it productive.”
Oh, and I would add “Love who you are, it’ll lead to loving what you do. You can do it, I believe in you… because I am you.”