I don’t know about you, but growing up I just wanted to be successful. I honestly wanted to grow up to earn enough money to buy what I wanted. Through my deprived child eyes my wants were elaborate; a car, a house and enough clothes so I wouldn’t repeat an outfit in any given month. Fast forward 25+ years I can honestly say I’ve owned several cars (both new and used), owned several houses (though I did not live in all of them), and let’s not talk about the clothes with tags I’ve donated because my closets were bursting at the seams.
If you would have told me that achieving my childhood goals would leave me yearning for more I’m not sure I could have handled the truth. See, the truth is that I’ve always been the type of person in search of happiness and balance, which comes at a hefty price. In college, I wanted a social life, a job, 8 hours of sleep per night and all A’s (you can stop laughing now!). No one told me any different so I attempted this balancing act and needless to say I left college for a bit to realign my priorities with real life. And then there was my quest for a satisfying career. I just wanted a job I loved, the world’s greatest boss, an 8-hour workday, great pay and little stress (ok, you can really stop laughing at me!). Though I have had all of these throughout my career, they have come at different times and not in one big neat package.
In my shoes, many would have given up on the quest for happiness and balance, but not me. I decided it was possible, but I knew it would require a release from the delusions I adopted along the way. Here are a few of the delusions I faced head-on:
- The notion that hard work pays off is true in theory, but not in the reality of applicability. I decided that working smarter, not harder was a much better concept for my desired lifestyle. Ingenuity can be present in your personal and professional life. I like to know what time I’m leaving the office and I say No to many requests that give way to glimpses of sleepless nights and manual labor. I used to think I was lazy because others around me seemed to be more dedicated, but I realized that I am just as accomplished in my own way. My lifestyle is aligned with my spirit and my desire to be the best at a reasonable cost.
- Opportunity Costs are better left in the sphere of economics. The benefit or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else is not a concept I ever wanted to rest my success upon. In life, you make a choice and the consequences or rewards for that choice are apart of your path, your destiny. Sure, you could have made another choice, but you didn’t. Once you choose this job over that job or that guy over the other guy the cost of what could have been no longer matters in the grand scheme of things. If you find that your choice was a bust you can re-examine your options and move on from there.
- Get paid what you’re worth. LOL!!!! I’d like to think that I could never get paid what I’m worth. I’m more than my 9 to 5 and the total sum of ME is priceless. No, I’m not insane and I get that the free market carries algorithms that place values on a single jobs’ worth, but that is and will never be what I am worth. My goal these days is to get paid for my troubles, to make enough money to check most of life’s boxes: save for retirement, tithe, support worthy social causes, travel and most importantly meet my basic needs (shelter, food, etc). When I’m feeling financially frisky I even partake in a few scratch-offs.
I’ll be the first to tell you that carrying around a few delusions is the key to survival. The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy, albeit over sensationalized delusions, have had their hand in shaping positive childhoods for the masses. There comes a time when you have to decide which delusions no longer serve you and make room for what does. Personally, I’m not interested in setting myself up for failure based on things that no longer serve me. My ultimate goal is to leave self-serving delusions behind for new delusions ahead.