I'm a pretty motivated and driven person. I like to set and accomplish goals. I admire people that are successful at what they do and it's easy for me to get fixated on achieving that level of success. But that's where I consistently get it wrong. That's when I get distracted and I lose my focus on what is really important to me. What I'm really passionate about.
There are so many examples of people who work hard and sacrifice to be successful and they do awesome stuff. They've earned every bit of success they get. Good for them! When I see their example, I get motivated and want to get after it just like they did.
Every time that motivation hits me to jump up and start that business or work long hours to get that promotion and succeed, I realize that to do that means that I have to sacrifice time with my family. At the very least, I'll have to give the best of myself to achieving that success instead of giving it to my wife and kids. When I consider what it takes to achieve that level of success, I back down, unwilling to make that sacrifice.
This is where I get down on myself. "You're just scared of the hard work," I say to myself. "Don't hide behind your family! Get after it!" This kind of self-talk makes me disappointed with myself and I get really frustrated.
The feeling of cowardice and shame that overwhelms me when I make the choice to set aside the challenge of accomplishing the success that I admire in other people is crushing. I feel like just another voice in the crowd of wannabes that wants success without effort. I try to deal with those feelings by continuing to look for a way to be successful that doesn't require me to sacrifice my passion, my family. There isn't one. Every dark alley I chase down and rock I look under all promise that success, but each one asks me to give the best of me to it.
This cycle of disappointing myself, feeling like a hypocrite, and being unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish professional success consumes my focus and I end up staring at my belly button and feeling sorry for myself.
Then I hear that little voice in the back of my mind speak sweet words of kindness, gentility, and motivation, "Hey, fuck you! You're already doing the thing that really matters. Get after it, asshole!"
Yeah, that's right. The heart behind that voice that says "Fuck you!" in my mind is one of love. It wants what's best for me and wants me to succeed. It wants me to remember to focus on the thing that really matters and pour my energies into that. That voice wants to encourage and grow the same things that I care about.
Maybe one day, I'll run a business or travel the world and that will be awesome. But for right now, I need to remember to focus all that energy into my family. The same drive, motivation, planning, strategy, effort, and sacrifice that I know I can apply to my professional life needs to be redirected into my family life. I need to set goals and build a vision for my family. I need to train and grow my kids. I need to love my wife.
I need to achieve success with my family.
My job helps me succeed at home, not the other way around.