I have these pretty grand plans of where I want to be and what I want to have in my life. It involves hard earned fame and fortune and is complemented by a good sense of humour and a lot of giving back. The best part about my vision, and anyone else’s vision for that matter, is that there’s no one single way to achieve it; it’s a real-life choose-your-own-adventure, which was my favourite way to read Goosebumps.
I think I’m really lucky in the way my mind gets kicks out of doing things I don’t think I’ll love. I ride discomfort like a wild thang because it’s how I get the most out of the world. It works like a champion because going outside my ordinary either makes me grateful for who I am and what I’ve got or leaves me feeling pleasantly surprised.
The way I get involved in different cultures or sub-cultures illustrates the adventurous behaviour I mention. I like to get in and amongst how other people do things so that my empathy levels increase and shiny new tings seep into my subconscious.
For the last three months of my life, for example, I’ve been workin’ 9 ‘til 5, what a way to make a livin’. Literally living my worst professional nightmare because I thought it would make me feel grateful or pleasantly surprised. Okay, whatever, I also wanted money.
Of course at the time of accepting the job, I could have held out longer to be offered a job more, um, me. However there was something about the sitcom-worthy office environment that seduced my dark side.
Some people are quite happy to watch an episode of The Office to learn how isolated cubicles and beige walls can cause mental health issues in the workplace. They observe the socially ill-equipped members of society from the safety of a screen and relish in the comedy surrounding all the depressing workplace truths that still exist in the developed world.
I on the other hand, well I’ll go and take a corporate marketing role in a company that made me use software that was possibly invented in 1999.
The computery-thing I was assigned also had a CD-ROM drive and we weren’t allowed to eat hot flavoursome food at our desks in case the smell offended the accounts department. Wasn’t really fair considering how I was made to feel about the single ham sandwich that would appear in a zip-lock bag in the communal refrigerator each day. Such a sad white bread sammich.
To be fair, when I took the job, I also had this romantic notion of being the buzzy creative ball of energy the industry needed to create a happy modern workplace culture. But it didn’t take me long to realise that the change I dreamed of went far beyond hierarchy, fax machines and a no-alcohol policy.
Thus, I bide my time, focusing on my workshops and stand-up comedy while waiting for the next opportunity to present itself via the doing of things I loved.
And voilà! Got new job. Start next week.
Being part of this comedy gala thing with a bunch of my industry peeps really paid off, and in three short weeks the path I was navigating in life has been completely remapped.
By pushing myself way outside my comfort zone and putting my hand up to tell jokes to a 300+ mob of media folk, well, surprise surprise, I jolly well met some like-minded creative people who are also fans of humour and communication. BE WHO YOU WANT TO ATTRACT.
One in particular, my new homeboy Tomas, British chap, real good at picking apart the world around him to make stupidity seem funny – well he lined me up with interviews at his work with his cool crew. They decided I was a good fit and now I’m going to bust some moves in a particularly awesome agency with harbour views and an ‘about us’ page that says stuff like “We believe that healthy, happy people work better for our clients. This is why we have been voted one of the Top 25 Best Places To Work”. SHUT UP. Plus everyone I’ve met from that agency so far has been British. So the universe really does work in magical mysterious ways. The Brits are my jam.
Anyway, now that I’m moving from a job where I could save most of my percents for my Comfort is for Wimps dreams, to a job where I have to give all my percents and then some, well, I have to consciously re-jig my values in order to keep me feeling balanced .
It’s important to note that I don’t have to change or remove any of the values that make me who I am, I just have to shift my focus to different ones.
For e.g. FLEXIBILITY has been a long-time favourite value of mine. So for the past few years I’ve not taken on jobs that have required anchoring commitments. This has allowed me to move countries and travel keenly. But placing that value down a couple of notches on my list of priorities opens the slot for my other high value of LEARNING. Welcome to the VIP area, LEARNING.
I’ve been learning lots over the last few years, but it’s been a solo exploration for knowledge and for a while now I’ve been feeling this need to be part of something. You know, like start surrounding myself with brilliant minds in order to learn more about business and keep in tune with the things that are changing so quickly. I need to keep my brain on the pulse in order to one day have my very own leadership position where I help the world using humour and magic.
If that makes sense…?
Tomas said to me recently, “you can have it all, but not at the same time”. And this has been on replay in my mind. It’s true. You have to sacrifice some ideas and opportunities to make room for better ones. And you have to be willing to let change flow freely without resistance. If things make sense and feel right, you’d be mad not to go with it. This is where unhappiness breeds its little babies.
So I’m shifting my thinking. I don’t need to be able to take off on a plane at any minute to feel free. I need to feel valued and part of a community that places their values in the same places as me. I need to be learning and feel inspired to create and share ideas, that’s a form of freedom in itself. And I’ll build my dreams around the opportunities I have created for myself now.
I’M EXCITED. And you should be too. Because you can also change your life to better suit your dreams. Just keep your eyes peeled for those opportunities. And stay out of your comfort zone. You don’t belong there. It stinks.