First Gear - Redefining Success
I used to define success as climbing to the top of my profession, being the best at what I do and making a lot of money. It was about setting ridiculous goals and then working way too many hours trying to accomplish them. Success was about the recognition and the accolades...the build up and the ego.
And then I became all of those things. Crushed all of those goals. Got the magazine covers. Received the awards.
And then wondered... “What’s next?”
I did everything that I had set out to do, yet my soul was never satisfied. Let me set higher goals. Do MORE! MORE! MORE!
There was never enough. I was at the top of my mountain with no where else to go.
Until I was “forced” to live my life for a while in first gear...and that gear sure has come in handy as I have traversed down the mountain.
Take a look at what “first gear” means (use The Google ha ha!).
First gear provides the lowest output of speed and the GREATEST mechanical advantage.
I know that most people (including myself, until recently) probably think of it as a negative thing. We are used to going 100 mph every day. We operate in 6th gear, dammit. We don’t understand why someone would choose to work less...not take that promotion...the job...the challenge... not get that
Why, in God’s name, would ANYONE NOT want to strive long and hard every single day? Work those hours. Make that money. Get those accolades. Go go go!
I used to say that.
God has a great sense of humor.
Let’s put the girl who lives in 6th gear down to 1st for a while. Let her see what she has been missing.
I got a taste of “the stuff” (my Highway to Heaven reference LOL).
Now I don’t know how I will ever go back to my old life.
My stress level is zero. Nothing really bothers me anymore. I am okay with anything that happens. I embrace it. It is weird sometimes. I am like, “Who is this person in my head??"
I take delight in the most simple things. Cooking dinner, petting the dogs, writing every day, doing things around the house, spending time with those that I love. I think a lot and some amazing things have been revealed to me.
The most uncomplicated things bring me much joy. My gratitude level is higher than it has ever been. I have realized that I have a love of writing...and I might be pretty good at it with some practice.
I feel more. I smile more. I appreciate more. I understand more. For the first time in 20 years, I feel at peace...truly. I am content and happy.
Were all of those hours I worked worth it?
Did my definition of success keep my from what was truly important in life?
Would I have changed anything in the past?
Why? Because without being in 6th gear all of the time, I would not know the joy of 1st gear.
If you can learn anything from me, it is this: Downshifting is good sometimes. Take time to put yourself (sometimes God puts you there too, though) into first gear. Relax and enjoy the journey. Your body and your mind desperately need it. When you are there, REALLY be there and stay there long enough to quiet your mind.
Most likely, you will find that the life you have been living really wasn’t the best life that you could have. Slowing down, balancing your life more, not being so stressed out all of the time...THOSE things are far more valuable than you might think. Far more precious than crushing your next sales goal.
To be real - Sure, it is awesome to be rewarded and recognized for success...but just realize that at the end your life, that is not what truly matters. My gravestone surely won’t say, “Here lies Jennifer. She was the top loan officer and she was in a bunch of magazines and she won a ton of awards.” I want to make an impact. I want to help inspire others. I want to be a great wife, step-mother, sister, daughter etc. I want to live the life that God has planned for me, not the one that I made up in my head of who I was to be.
If little me only knew what she was in for...
Thank you so much for reading today. I hope that I made you smile and think a little bit. Be sure to check out my Podcast on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher ---- Jen’s 10 G’s