As of today, it’s been two years since something I loved started to fall apart. The dream began to unravel. At first, slowly. Then, faster and faster until, suddenly, I found myself hanging out at the waterfront park in Portland in the middle of a workday with nothing to do.
I’ve had this anniversary as a recurring event on my calendar for a while. I’m not sure why but I’m glad that it was there to remind me. It’s allowed me to reflect on the impermanence of things, how expectations shape our happiness, and how potentially great things either realize their potential or go down in flames (flames, either publically visible or hidden).
I knew for a while that I wanted to write a blog post on this day. I was less certain as to what the post would be about. Would it be a scathing critique of how and why everything went south? It could have been, and maybe one day I’ll share my experience of that side of the story, but I think not today. One dream died.* And it’s only because of this that I was free to dream another one.
* These days, the dream’s domain times out trying to connect.
So today, rather than dwelling on the pain that honestly still lingers or the resentment that hasn’t yet faded,
- I’ll work on defining my company’s onboarding process as we push closer to 10+ team members;
- I’ll continue my practice of contemplating what kind of company we want to be in 15 years;
- I’ll take pride in the fact that UpBuild’s Q1 revenue (to date) is already 40% of 2016’s total revenue;
- my wife and I will start hunting for our second home (with two years of self-employed tax returns in the bag, a mortgage is back in the realm of possibility);
- I’ll take an hour to meditate.
I’ll reflect on the gratitude I feel.
Being part of the journey that preceded this date in 2015 afforded me opportunities that I could never have dreamed of. The hard work that I put into pushing my limits, leveling up my expertise, and building strong relationships over five years while working at someone else’s company made my “overnight success” possible. I’ll always be grateful for having been given a chance to start on that path.
I’ll also be grateful for what I was pushed into. Watching the thing that I loved change into something different and then begin to disintegrate pushed me into meditation. Meditation and mindfulness have proven to be the most powerful tools in my professional and personal toolkits. Honestly, it was not until I’d been the most stressed and felt the most anxiety that I ever have in my adult life that I discovered how valuable that practice could be for me.
The period that began on this day two years ago was a crucible for me. It showed me with startling clarity what I didn’t want to be; what my non-negotiables were. I’m grateful for that, because “from anger and rage comes rebellion.” I can’t confidently say that these last two years would have been nearly as good without a heaping serving of dissatisfaction at the front end.
But more than that, it taught me to cherish the good things that much more; taught me the importance of appreciating and fostering the positives in my professional life, wherever I might find them.
So I’ll spend the rest of this day thinking of all the good that’s come out of the way that path ended, for myself and others. I’ll wish those who made the choices which led to a downfall all the best.
May we all find the success, happiness, and professional fulfillment we were looking for back then.
Photo credit: Rafael Leão