Thursday, September 10, 2009

Survival is NOT Enough

Jonathan Mead and his Illuminated Mind have been exceptionally inspirational for me lately. I can't say enough about how his writing seems directed right at me. I mentioned in an earlier post about his terms of "renting out your mind" and "getting paid to exist." These are now daily phrases for me as I try and make sense of my place in the world.

Jonathan has now released a new, free ebook, the Zero Hour Work Week that you should read. After reading it myself, I sat down and started writing what I've called my "liberty project." This is a project plan to take me into uncharted waters... well, uncharted for me, not for people like Jonathan. It's about a disciplined, bootstrapping sort of workplan to create value for me, my family and my community. Best case scenario, I'm rewriting my plan for making a living. At minimum, I'm rewriting my strategy for how I'm relevant and how I make meaning.

This is deeply personal stuff and it's more than a little scary. I'll borrow from Seth Godin's Survival Is Not Enoughwhen I say it's hard to let go of my "winning strategy." This strategy has served me so very well up to now. In conventional terms, I've been doing everything right. I'm educated, I have lots of competence at marketing, strategic planning, policy development and simply just getting stuff done. When I'm not stirring the pot too much at work, my employers appreciate my efforts. I've come in to a bigger salary and more responsibility than I dreamed of... but I feel a dissonance. It feels like I'm running a fool's errand. The "success" I'm pursuing isn't actually what I want. When I step back, I see that I'm just one in a herd of buffalo, stampeding for a cliff. It would be so easy to just keep running, blamelessly running. But I can't do that. I've seen the truth. I'm obligated to stop, to reverse direction.

This is a journey almost entirely within my own mind, about my own behaviours and about my own willingness to rewrite my script. I'm reprogramming. Though this is almost entirely between my ears, it's surprisingly hard.

I'm working with a policy of being radically honest, even if that makes me uncomfortable. I recognize that this policy also results in a post that just sort of dangles out there without resolution, so here's one: I feel better being on the journey than having the feeling that I need to start.

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