Have you been responsible for so long, you habitually give up what you really want?
I was on a budget while traveling on my Year by the Water, so often elected to stay in back-of-the-property rooms instead of in the higher-priced waterfront rooms.
I was in Los Angeles to work with a client and opted to stay in Marina del Ray, about fifteen minutes from LAX. The hotel staff was so enamored with my adventure, they upgraded me to a suite on the harbor.
As the bellman ushered me into my room, I was met with a stunning sunset framed by palm trees and colorful bougainvillea on my balcony. I opened the sliding glass doors, walked out, threw my head back, received and reveled in the evening air and magnificent 180 degree view with pelicans doing majestic fly-byes.
A long-time friend, Glenna Salsbury. called in the midst of my reverie and revelry. She could tell from my voice how happy I was.
She asked, “What’s going on?” I explained how wonderful it was experiencing this room overlooking the marina.
She was puzzled, “You’re on your Year by the Water. Don’t you normally stay at places on the water?”
I explained about my budget. She paused and then said, “Wouldn’t you rather spend six months overlooking the water than twelve months overlooking the parking lot?”
Yes I would. Yes I would.
How about you? Do you habitually give up what makes you happy?
Have you been emotionally and financially frugal for so long, you no longer even ask for what would put the light on in your eyes?
Are you settling for parking lots when OCEANS are what you really want?
I understand the importance of being responsible, realistic and reasonable.
Yet many of us are doing this to a fault.
We have become so accustomed to giving up what we want, it has become our default.
Many of the people I interview for my SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week book tell me it's been so long since they've had the freedom or autonomy to do what they really want, they no longer know what that is.
How about you? Have you been putting everyone else first for so long, you've forgotten what it feels like to put yourself first - for even an hour or a day?
What would you do if you could play hooky for a day - if there were no repercussions and all your responsibilities were taken care of?
What do YOU really want? How can you start bringing more of that into your life?
Granted, as leaders, parents and partners, there are times we need to put what others want first; however there are also times when it’s appropriate to make an exception to our rule – or to revisit and update our rule.
Doing what we really want is a gift that keeps on giving.
I can hardly describe how happy it made me to wake up to water, to have breakfast next to water, to swim in water, to go for an energizing walk along water. It made my soul sing. It set up a happiness ripple effect that positively affected me, and everyone around me, for days.
I could have been in a dingy, dark room overlooking the six-lane highway or parking lot. I could have been in one of those sterile, hermetically-sealed high-rise hotels by the airport that sucks the soul right out of you.
Instead there I was, fully alive, surrounded by people kayaking, paddle-boarding, walking in the fresh air, smiling and enjoying every minute of being outside in nature. (Check out this 57 second video.)
Investing in what makes us happy isn’t indulgent, it’s inspiring.
Life isn’t supposed to be a drudge. We are meant to be happy.
I am not suggesting we can or should do what we want ALL the time. We continue to take care of people. We continue to be financially responsible.
Yet we also take care of ourselves. And that means doing what makes us happy every once in a while – without apology or guilt.
That means getting in, on or by water (or whatever lifts you up and makes your soul sing) instead of giving up what you really want and settling for the parking lot.
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Sam Horn, CEO of The Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker, is on a mission to help people create a quality life-work that adds value for all involved. Her books have been featured in NY Times and on NPR, presented to NASA, YPO, National Geographic and Capital One. This is excerpted from her upcoming book SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week (St. Martins Press, Jan. 2019) Want Sam to speak to your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com.