LifeHacking into Contentment
LifeHacking. And the chance that, just maybe, everything is perfectly fine and there is nothing to be fixed… Some Musings
Note: This has been an on-going document on my desktop for over two years. I’ve added and edited and pondered these simple thoughts many times. I’m compelled to finally hit publish because of a bit of weariness when I see the “New Year/ MUST CHANGE” posts from friends and peers.
Here’s a crazy notion: what if you are (and I am!) NOT broken and there isn’t anything that needs to be fixed/helped/changed? That self-help was a means to explore and not to repair? That everything you do and who you are is totally spot on! That how you approach this life is perfect in its own imperfections?
This has been on my mind a ton lately. I’ve had thousands of miles of driving to think (and an outdated iPod that only works 25% of the time) and a lot swirling in my head. Letting go of another business, starting 2 more, diving in to how I want to spend my time, planning to not plan.
There’s a pattern in my life of start and change and switch it up. “Serial entrepreneur” is the coy term for “I can’t stand doing this anymore, I’m changing.”
Yet, it always boils down to pursuing something that interests me… and then allowing myself to get pushed into another direction. As a “natural born leader” it is assumed that I will speak to the masses. Create a movement, do big things. I get swayed in that direction because I’m good at it.
And because there is a pressure to grow, do more, make this into something bigger!
Isn’t there something beautiful in doing just what you want when it also helps others?
I’m at my happiest- and my most dedicated- when I’m doing the small things that are big to just a handful of people. Sure, I’ve got the skill to give a great presentation and I’ve been fortunate to inspire many over the course of my life, yet nothing makes me happier than figuring out how to solve a problem for the one person I am working with at any given time.
This push-pull in and out of pursuits that could bring the spotlight is often described as “fear of shining” or “playing it small.” And I’ve let myself get caught up in the need to be bigger, better, more. And wasn’t happy. Then one day I decided to hop on my Vespa and take a little trip.
At the same time, we were shutting down Sidekick and diving into a different arena altogether with PDF Buddy and the soon to come Rapid Reports. Yet, truth be told, those are my (former) partner’s genius. I had to take a long look at how I was going to earn the money to pay for this journey, as we weren’t bringing in income with our code at the time.
Before there was Sidekick, I was getting really into WordPress and realized that was where my own genius lies.
This is how I like to describe a WordPress site:
- There is a foundation and a set of studs. (The WordPress framework).
- Then you get to decide where the walls go, which rooms are located where. (The theme you choose)
- Then you get to decorate: paint, wallpaper, cabinet finishes, tile. (The options)
- And finally, you get to put the art on the walls, accessorize and make it yours. (The plugins and content)
- My brain functions this way! I can see a structure for what it is, but am not afraid to move things around. I’m the type that walks into an old ugly house that no one else wants and can see past the green shag carpet to the bones of the place. (Yes, my Buffalo house came with 2000 sq ft of green shag!)
Formulating a business around what I adore (geek that I am!) and am highly skilled in, but that could also be manageably small so that I could travel far and wide, I began to create Ultimate WP Help.
So I ran my ideas by a coach. And again… “How do you make it more? Where do you grow so you don’t have to actually DO all of it?” This is a common enough refrain in the solo entrepreneur world these days. You’ve got the Marie Forleo’s and Danielle LaPorte’s creating beautiful programs about how to have a movement. I am engaged in the circles of people who are pursuing these notions, so I’m around it a lot.
Then… I started DOING what I want to be doing, not trying to fix what wasn’t broken. Realizing that it is okay to be the WordPress genius to my handful of people. Their gratitude is enough.
I’m an emotional person, so paying attention to where I have the strongest feelings leads me to the same conclusion. I cry the happiest tears when I witness those around me accomplishing something that is great for them. Publishing a book, raising a thoughtful child, finishing a race. BEing who they are meant to be.
Just being content each day that I have freedom, which is my dearest value. You see, somewhere along the way, I also realized that I was no longer in the “Pursuit of Happiness” but rather, floating in the Pool of Contentment. Not setting the bar so high that every day had to be HAPPY, AMAZING, FULL OF OVERTHETOPJOY! But rather that every day gets to be filled with exactly the experiences that bring me peace, make me grateful and allow me to serve others. It’s a different bar to aspire to, one that is not only accessible, but repeatable day after day.
You are not broken. You don’t need to be fixed. You can change if you are inspired to do so, but not because of a date on the calendar, a milestone birthday or someone else telling you what it is you need to do.
I’ve realized my own journey is a lifehacking “experiment” that will, hopefully, last decades. My own normal may not be so to anyone else, but it works for me. And the lesson in all of it is that is DOESN’T have to work for you! Find your own path, celebrate all that you do and all that you are. I’m often told “You are living my dream!” When I answer, “No, I’m living MY dream, go and live yours!” I am not intending to be stand-off-ish or disregarding of the admiration. I want to encourage others to look deep into themselves and see what brings them their own greatest contentment. Then figure out how to make that happen day after day.