When I announced my plans to embark upon my Year by the Water adventure, most people were happy for me and said something along the lines of, “Take me with you!” A few, however, expressed “concerns. A meeting planner cautioned me with, “Sam, I hope you know you’re taking a risk by taking yourself off the grid. You need to control this story or the business you’ve worked so hard to build may not be here when you come back. You know, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.”
A highly successful investor told me, "I'm envious, but I could never just do nothing. I'd go crazy if I didn't work."
Another wanted to know, “Is something wrong?” In other words, “Are you sick, on your deathbed or just having a mid-life crisis?”
I listened to their concerns, and then assured them my decision to take my business on a road trip wasn’t a mid-life CRISIS, it was mid-life CLARITY. I was clear that:
I wasn’t QUITTING work – I was doing a different KIND of work.
I wasn’t doing NOTHING – I was doing SOMETHING that put the light on in my eyes just thinking about it.
There wasn’t anything WRONG with my life – I was taking steps to create a more RIGHT life.
And I certainly wasn’t going to hide this from my business community, I was going to invite them to come along so they could vicariously experience the adventures and insights with me.
What helped me get this mid-life clarity?
Well, a lot of things. One was something my son Andrew told me. Another was a health scare and the doctor warning me I better take better care of myself or my body would do something more drastic to get my attention.
Another was a variety of quotes that served as wake-up calls and motivated me to “get a move on.”
They included Paulo Coelho’s sober reminder, “One day you’re going to wake up and there won’t be any time left to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.”
Another was my clarity of how fortunate I am to be in a position to answer what called me.
I’m not one of the 65 million people (29% of the U.S. population) taking care of a chronically ill, disabled or aged friend or family member. I can operate my business from anywhere. And while I’m not independently wealthy, I’m wealthy in what matters. I have the health, freedom and autonomy to disrupt my life and do things differently.
There was nothing holding me back … so I took eighteen months to swim with dolphins, watch the sun rise over Diamond Head, take a photography workshop in Monet’s Garden, sail the Chesapeake Bay, drive the back-roads of America (and almost over a cliff on California’s Pacific Coast Highway) ... write about my experiences and epiphanies.
I will always be grateful for that adventure. It was one of the most deeply satisfying experiences of my life.
What I didn't anticipate was My Year by the Water ended up NOT being about the water.
Yes, I visited some of nature's wonders - oceans, waterfalls, mountain streams - but what made this experience so memorable and pivotal wasn't the places I visited; it was the disruptive epiphanies that challenged everything I thought I knew about what it takes to lead a meaningful life.
Aristotle said, “An unexamined life is not worth living."
Well, after going 24/7 for the past few decades, this trip gave me the time and space to reflect on my life.
What I discovered, much to my surprise, was that many of my life-long beliefs and behaviors like “It’s better to give than receive” and “Winners never quit and quitters never win” "Hard work is the secret to success" – were not contributing to a quality life; they were compromising it.
As a result of having time to examine what was working, what wasn’t and what I was going to do differently; my life has been enriched in ways that are better than I could have imagined.
I know you’re busy and may not have the incentive or resources to take a road trip.The good news? You don’t have to quit your job, win the lottery, get a divorce or walk away from your obligations to embark upon a "virtual" road trip. In my upcoming book Chase Meaning Not Clicks, you can vicariously experience those put-you-in-the-scene adventures in short chapters, all which can be read in under 10 minutes.
What's even better, ou don't have to wait for the book to come out in early 2018 to benefit from those insights. Here are my top ten lessons-learned. Hope they give you the CLARITY, incentive and inspiration to do more of what puts the light on in your eyes starting today ... not someday.
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One of the great joys of my life is having the opportunity to share my adventures/insights at conferences. If you're planning a program and would like a presentation that gives your participants an opportunity to connect, reflect, and identify what they can do to stop waiting and start creating a life where the light is on in their eyes, contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com. It'd be a pleasure and a privilege to share these inspiring stories with your group so they're creating the quality of life and work they want now, not someday.