Skip to main content

Epiphanies, awards and promotions

May 01, 2020

I woke Tuesday with thoughts rushing through my head. These thoughts came into alignment and settled down into an orderly insight. This Tuesday I connected to my purpose in life. The thing I have been seeking for over 40 years crystalized. Fireworks, bright lights, ear to ear smile, a chest full of joy…! How can I share the feeling? I know the limitation inherent in trying to write about a feeling. This is one that I want to share damn it. One of the most momentous in my life.

It’s been three days and the glow of the moment is present. However, shouldn’t my life be altered? Where are the singing angels, the reporters, the business deals? I answered The Question! I have heard many others are seeking this, yearning to have their answer. ¬I did it!!!

For context, “Figuring out or answering the question of why I am here” has been my quest. It has been as present and defining for me as my monikers, athlete, project manager and father. The difference from the others is it was a question, a hole, the missing link that would provide me with the clarity and validation for what I had done or should be doing. It would make me complete. The other labels were not questions or holes. I am now Complete!!

Why then isn’t my life dramatically different?

What happens when the answer to “Why” is revealed? The mystery has been removed and I see the truth. Think about the magic trick. When I learned how to pull a quarter from behind another’s ear, the magic disappeared. Organic Chemistry doesn’t look as daunting to me after having studied it for the year. Why did I think it so hard? When I don’t know the answer, the unknown is large, mysterious, and magical.

Hiking is a current passion of mine. Each new summit is a mystery, some with tales of difficulty and challenge. Research and strategies are pursued to pick the right trail, prepare for the conditions, all in an effort to get ready. Standing on the summit provides the sense of accomplishment, the win. Those who have stood on that point, who have answered that question know the joy of that accomplishment. They know the answer and they can bask in this knowledge. They also know it represents a moment of joy as well as it being a completion, an ending. What has been the focus of my life in preparing to ascend that summit is now gone. What is left is a void. What will fill this space? What’s next?

Pursuing a goal, a promotion, a dream gives meaning. It organizes my actions, occupies my mind, and gives me direction. Tying my happiness to this accomplishment is risky. When I say I will be happy when I get the promotion. I will relax when. I will be more available after this is done. All of these are possible. Let me be clear it is joyful to achieve a goal. It is however but a moment of happiness. A lifetime of happiness is not launched as the result of this one accomplishment. The accomplishment was possible by what I have done, thought and said each day. Paying attention to these moments while pursuing my goal is what is important and precious. Noticing the difference between my options/choices and selecting the one that brings me more energy is the way to have a life I love and can sustain that happiness.

Martin Seligman’s definition for sustained happiness is picking something that is pleasurable, that requires us to work at it, and has a purpose that speaks to us. Only we know what fits each of these criteria. It is our life

Living a happy life depends upon our choosing to pursue these goals in ways that give us pleasure and provide us purpose. It is not only in the doing, but what we are doing, and with whom. I have control of what I choose. I am the only one who truly knows which choice gives me more energy, more joy. Then it ultimately falls to me to manage my thoughts, select the actions, and choose for a life of joy and passion.

Forgive me the simple metaphor; Epiphanies and accomplishments are the candy of life. Joy, growth and happiness are sewn by the pursuit of something I love, the work I need to do to achieve, and the purpose that ties it altogether. The accomplishment is but one of those moments.