I wrote this last year and sent to some friends or people who were close enough to me as I felt I needed to let it out. so I thought it would be nice to share it here as well.
There it is....
September 14, 2015
I am writing this to you because I consider you a friend; feel that you care about me somehow; have spent enough time with you to know that I can learn from you; know that you have potential to do the impossible if you really want to, or because our paths have crossed for a reason we don't need to spend time trying to understand why.
Last night I found out that someone I didn't know and have never met passed away victim of an accident while pursuing a life dream of climbing the Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with his wife. I was sad and shocked. For some reason that I am still trying to understand, this news left me in a state of mind that made me feel uncomfortable and with a knot in my throat. Something didn't sit right and stayed with me all day today. I kept on thinking and asking myself why I was feeling this way. I know that it was a very sad and tragic event, but the way it was lingering on my mind made me wonder; how could the death of someone I have never met affected me this way?
The victim of this tragedy was Scott Dinsmore, a 33 year old man founder of the Live Your Legend – Find and Do Work You Love. I can only imagine the pain that his wife Chelsea and his parents were going through. I learned about Scott in July 2013 as I stumbled upon a TEDx talk he gave about finding and doing the work you love. That talk stroke a cord inside me, planting a seed that made me curious enough to try to look into what his Live Your Legend (LYL) site was all about. At that time I was trying to figure out what to do with my career as I felt under stimulated and doing a work that has little to no impact in most people’s lives. After spending more than 10 years working for the same company, I thought it was about time for me to change as I wanted to do something where I could help people and have more significance. In other words, "do something that matters" as Scott used to say.
I was feeling too comfortable in my current job with a false sense of "security" and "stability" that it provided me. That illusion caused me to be in a state of paralysis that prevented me from making a change in my career. After pondering and with an intention to get out of that state of paralysis, I decided to enroll in a course provided by Live Your Legend called "How to Connect to Anyone," which had the goals of "...showing you how to build a tight-knit network of peeps, mentors and influencers to build your ideal business or career." The course included a private on line-community, hands-on group coaching and custom Mastermind Team. This was my attempt to get some guidance to find out which action I should take. Imagine being surrounded by a group of people that wouldn't let you fail? That was one of the mantras and I totally believed in it.
I took the 8-week course and met weekly with the Mastermind Team I was assigned to and the two wonderful coaches who were leading the meetings. The course provided a lot of material and tasks. After 8 weeks somehow I was discouraged and I felt that it did not work for me. I learned some things and had access to enough material to allow me to get what I need to make a change if I really wanted to. But I didn't. I was still paralyzed by fear of change.
Why didn't I do it? Why didn't I use the material available to me to help me to make the change in my life and career that I needed to? Why didn't I let the seed that was planted sprout and grow? I kept asking these to myself. As I try to answer these questions, it was clear to me that fear and paralysis by over analyzing things were dictating my actions or lack thereof. Despite of being motivated by all that I saw and read in the course and witnessed how powerful it could be, I just did not do it. The inability to take action was due in part for not knowing what to do and where to start, or so that’s what I said to myself.
I found a rational excuse or excuses for not pursuing the tasks assigned during the course, which would have allowed me to move steps closer to making a change. Instead, I ended up going back to my cocoon, where I felt "safe" and had no need to face the fear of change.
They say that 80% of people hate their jobs, but I didn't feel like that. I like what I do for living and the freedom I have at work, which probably allowed me to keep doing it for the last 13 years now. However, the impact or significance of my job in the lives of people is minimum and not gratifying.
Months have passed. Every so often thoughts came to my mind that I need to make a change in my life, starting with my job or maybe my career. Something was stirring things up inside me making me feel unease. With the same intensity that those thoughts came, I let them go. And here I was back in my "safe" and predictable life.
As I lay in bed last month a thought rushed into my mind that I have been living my life at 60% of my potential. That I have been living a life where I spent the most productive years of it under performing, not being challenged, and afraid of taking risks. Taking risks was not something unfamiliar to me as I have started my life more than once risking everything I had. If I had not taken risks I would not have been where I am right now. Then, I started asking myself: How can I live my life fully and not regret what I have NOT done? How can I get to 100% of my potential?
Those thoughts have been lingering on my mind for the last weeks and talked over with my therapist. Then as they seem to start making their way back to where they came from and therefore allowing me to go back to my cocoon, they were stopped. The news of Scott Dinsmore's sudden death hit my head and pushed me against the wall.
The bitter taste left by the news of this tragic event is hovering over me as if it was an ultimatum for me to do something. To see thousands of lives he touched and changed reflected by all the postings published on the tribute page created for him started a spark inside me that is still burning. If you watch Scott on the Live Off Your Passion intro video you will understand why he touched so many people.
I am tired of finding excuses for not moving on and blaming in part the environment I live in for not allowing me to blossom. It might be hard to be friendly and talk to strangers when they all seem to be in their own world and not willing to interact, but I guess a change in attitude is in place. I need to follow one of Scott's advice and "see strangers as friends you haven't met yet." Scott used to said that…
When you first meet someone, never ask them 'what do you do?' or 'how much money do you make?' That stuff doesn't really matter.
Instead, try a completely different approach. You should really be asking them:
"What fires you up?"
I know that what fires me up is to be able to help people to live a healthy life and don't take their health for granted. What fires me up is to learn and share everything I can to empower them so they can make better decisions and take control of their own life and health. What fires me up is seeing them doing the things they love, being there for their loved ones, and ultimately living a long and fulfilling life. What fires me up is to support them so they can be in the best health possible. What fires me up is help them see that when you have your health, you have everything; but when you don't have your health, life enjoyments seem to vanish like water running through your hands.
My struggles have been to find balance between a work that I like and enjoy, and at the same time to allow room to live something else that I have passion for. The bigger problem I faced and still do, to a certain degree, was having no clue what I would do, how I would do it, and where I would start.
So, I made a conscious decision several months ago that I would invest in my current career, learn new skills so I could change jobs and seek work in a company that I believe in their mission as a compromise.
As for my passion for helping people to live a healthy life? I think it would be better to make this a hobby and see where that leads me to.
Today I shared with Cathy Broadwell, whom I met through the "How to Connect to Anyone" course, the way I was feeling in response to her blog post about Scott's death. I shared that I was still puzzled by the fact that the death of someone I didn’t know personally could affect me the way it did. That I was very sad and still in state of shock. That for some reason I couldn't get this tragic event out of my mind. That it felt almost as if I had to do something that I didn't know what it was in order to move on.
Her response was "…I think what you are feeling is the need to carry Scott's legacy forward in the form of doing something that matters, doing something awesome, repeating some of his mantras and surrounding yourself with amazing people who want the same. Be excellent. Be awesome. Make a difference."
I think it's time for me to move on, to put my head out there, to start networking, to find my tribe, to make contributions to the causes I believe in, to help people, to do something that really matters. I think it's time for a new beginning.
I want to finish this by saying that I am glad that our lives crossed paths and we know each other. It doesn't matter how often we see or talk to each other. I do appreciate knowing you. And I know that next time we see each other our relationship will resume from the point where it was left off, regardless how short or long that absence has been.
Until then I need to try to answer the question that Scott posed at the end of this TED talk; "What is the work that you can’t NOT do?"