Today I Give Myself Permission To Just Do It #atozchallenge

Letter JWhen Nike started using the expression “Just Do It’ as their slogan, I was already a Swoosh convert. Nevertheless, the advertisements really resonated with me because until recently, I have never been a “Just Do It” person. It wasn’t so much the feeling that I could put it off until tomorrow that was the issue, it was more the feeling of “Just Don’t It Because [insert myriad of reasons here]”. I’d like to think that my thinking was because risk analysis and mitigation are part of my profession and sometimes it’s hard to turn off the attributes on which  you rely 40+ hours a week. However, I’m not going to let myself off the hook that easily.

About four or so years ago something changed in outlook and my default position went from “Why Do It?” to “Why Not Do It?”. Perhaps it was the feeling of time passing by or that I finally found where my confidence resided. Now I’m determined to have more JDI moments as I call them. This is not to say that those JDI moments need to be inherently physically risky – I have no desire to try extreme bubblegum blowing, bungy jumping or extreme extremism – but living a totally safe and comfortable life is no longer for me. Not at the moment, anyway.

Is this what it means to have a midlife crisis?

I’m not sure about the answer to that question, but if a crisis is what it takes to move away from the paralysis of analysis and by default adopting the negative position for more abundant caution then I say bring it on. Don’t get me wong, I’m certainly appreciative of the ability to reason and think things through with which I was bestowed. It’s just that the calibration of that ability sometimes requires adjustment.

just do it

Some people want to go through life knowing they always pursued the smartest course. Bested by none, never being ripped off, never stumbling and duly diligent. If that’s what works for you, then wonderful. From my observations though, it is those who are fleet of foot and less concerned about examining every facet of every consequence that inherit the earth. True it is, they might not get it right every time and let’s face it we all have to live with the consequences of our decisions, but how many of us close ourselves off because we simply don’t contemplate applying the JDI philosophy at times? I shudder to think how many opportunities have passed me by, because I was unwilling to take a small risk.

Now kids, I’m not advocating that you start taking huge risks and please don’t try that at home. More a balancing of our adult intellect with the childlike quality of wonder and amusement. Sometimes we need to heed that child voice and tell the adult one that things will be OK or that if not, both the adult and the child can handle what is likely to come. There will also always be washing to do, a house which needs cleaning, a drive that is just that bit too far away or an expectation of another person to be met. There won’t always be tomorrow, a better time or another opportunity. As they say, there is no someday in the week, only Monday through to Sunday.

I have this hanging on my fridge

I have this hanging on my fridge

Just like there is glass half full thinking, so too there is JDI thinking.

May we all open ourselves to a world of opportunity and in some small way, the concept of  JDI thinking.

Today I give myself permission to just do it!

S is for Success: A Moving Feast (#atozchallenge)

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I read this great blog post the other day by Amy Rhulin entitled Embracing Ourselves at Fifty. Being currently at the crossroads of my life lead me to Midlife Bloggers and some terrific material.

Whilst I am not quite 50 yet, the messages in Amy’s blog were ringing as loudly as if Quasimodo had taken up residence in a nearby belfry. For there I was doing exactly what Amy said not to do….dumping on my younger self. The rational part of me knows that we are all only human, that we can only make the decisions that we make with the information that is then available and with the armory we then have on hand. The other part of me (I won’t call it irrational) berates herself for making some of those decisions and for not understanding some things earlier. Amy’s blog however helped me to put parts of my journey into context and has given me a different perspective.

One of the issues I have thought a lot about lately is success and what it means. In my twenties and thirties I certainly bought into the conventional view of success. Success meant a prestigious career, promotions, a comfortable house and material possessions. The conditioning, I think, started from birth…school was about getting into university, university was about getting a good job and a good job was about having a decent lifestyle. What no-one told me though was that having all of these meant sacrificing in other areas such as friendships, spirituality and creativity. Success at this level also meant having to rely heavily on external validation and other’s opinions of my person and abilities.

Now being in my forties, I view success vastly differently. I have come to the conclusion that the concept of success is not complicated. In fact it’s simplicity itself ……

successful people are those that are happy and if you are happy then you have achieved success.

That’s it, full stop, period.

In some cases, pursuing happiness and ergo, success takes a lot of courage. Courage to be true to yourself, to buck societal pressure and norms and to give yourself permission to just “go for it”. I applaud anyone who has this sort of courage. I also applaud those who are achieving happiness through the pursuit of conventionial success as I have referred to above. Nobody is in a position to judge what makes another happy.

From where I am now, success depends far less on external validation and events and more on my own internal perspective and happiness. It’s less about material possessions and tangibles and more about connections, community and relationships. Maybe, it’s because these are what I had to sacrifice to achieve my conventional success. As a result, I feel far more in control now. There is more than a little irony here as I used to spend a lot of time and energy trying to control my career path, other’s reactions and behaviour. This sort of control, I discovered is a false illusion.

So to my younger self I say thank you for leading me to this point. I now realise that I had to go through the experiences in my twenties and thirties to fill me with the wisdom I am gaining in my forties and the possibilities I will have in my fifties.

And as for success, I have come to the conclusion that it is permissible that the definition changes over one’s lifetime.  And yes,  a thousand daily blog views, likes and comments would be nice, but to me this post is already a success. Why? Because my happiness has been enriched just by writing it.

Have a great weekend everybody!