My grandmother used to say, “You can do anything you want with your life…or you can do nothing with it.”
There have been numerous times in my life when I have felt that I am doing nothing with it. I think that this is because we live in a world that acknowledges only parts of a person’s life, and ignores the other parts. For example, when I graduated from university, I had to do the good old walk across the stage while my name and degree were announced. I really despise pomp and ceremony, so this was excessively uncomfortable for me. But I was the first in my family to achieve such a thing, so my parents were wanting to be there for it. Otherwise I would have just had them send my diploma in the mail. So there I was, receiving a B.A. after four long years, while others were receiving Honors degrees and Masters degrees and PHD’s. Not only was I uncomfortable with the entire event, but I also felt like a supreme underachiever in line with all of these over-achievers. What the degree I received did not acknowledge was the fact that I had, in the middle of all of that, gotten married, then gotten divorced, had moved house six times, and had taken inter-session and summer-session classes in novels while struggling with dyslexia. I am not using my handicap as an excuse, so please don’t get me wrong. It was just one part of a long list of stressors that were existent at that time in my life.
During my second marriage my wife and I began the whole “let’s have children” thing. So when I was not working in my own business and trying to build said business I was 100% Dad. I am not one of those men women complain about who never do dishes or laundry or vacuum. I was on top of all of that while also trying to keep a 5.8 acre acreage looking good and managing a 30 foot by 50 foot garden to feed the family. So when I went for a meeting with a friend and he asked me, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I was just blank. I felt for a moment like a supreme underachiever, again. All I could think of was how difficult it was for me to maintain what I was already doing, barely treading water financially, and trying not to let my kids perish before their 18th birthdays. So my response was quite unsatisfactory to him. I said, “I don’t know what I will be up to in the next 5 minutes, so the next 5 years really are not of concern to me.” He was absolutely gobsmacked.
“Well, don’t you make a 5 or 10 year plan for your life?” he asked, astounded.
“Nope,” I replied, “Every time I plan something, something else or someone else comes along and screws it up for me. I have had to learn to just live in the moment.”
“Then how do you know whether or not you are successful?” he asked.
“I will know that when I look at my adult children and see that they are decent human beings,” was my answer.
Needless to say, the business meeting did not go where he was wanting it to go, which was that he was hoping that he could “partner” with me and that we could create or take on some super cool project together. I had no energy reserve for that, so the answer was a, “Thank you, but no.”
Almost 20 years later that friend has passed away, which is sad. If he were still alive today I might actually take him up on that offer. But during those 20 years I have had a number of people try to piggy back on my success. I see it coming a mile away. And so I become like the fog…there one minute and gone the next. I don’t need any hitchhikers in my life or in my work. It is enough that I have already blazed the trail, so to speak, for others in my field. I don’t need to also take them on as partners. And yes, I have also worked in a “group” of practitioners in two different healing centers. Both times it ended up showing me exactly why I prefer to work alone.
In working alone I am able to allow my creative juices flow and allow Spirit to guide me in desirable directions. As a result, I have a successful home-based business of over 30 years. I have a clientele base that is global, not just local. It may have taken years and years to accomplish this, but I did it on my own. Yes, now and then there would be a loan I had to take out from a bank or from a friend, all of which has been paid back. Everyone knows that everyone needs to do that now and then. But I did not graduate from university to immediately dive into a six figure occupation. I built my business from the ground up. Most six figure income folks would not know how to make something out of nothing. I do.
But I also measure my success in ways other than just financial. I am not rich from my career. I have a humble income that puts food on my table and a roof over my head and clothes on my back. And yes, I do make more money than many of my colleagues do, because I am an astute businessman, who does not just throw logic and reason to the wind and assume that the Universe is going to provide for me if I quit my job and open a healing practice with no experience whatsoever in the healing field or in business growth and management. Those folks are a dime a dozen. But my success is measured, for me, in how many lives I have helped to improve along the way. I decided a long time ago that if I were going to do something with my life, I was going to make that something that would help others to do the same. And this is success to me. And, along the way, my now X-wife and I managed to raise our children to be decent human beings.