Birthdays come around once a year. They are a repeating milestone. This year I have a small gift for myself – an absence of expectations. Instead I am focusing on what I am and what I do.
There is much discussion these days on the unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves. Every day’s to do list is a reminder to me that I fall easily for creating these expectations. Much of my life’s experience has taught me that most of the time we are neither quite as bad or as good as we think.
So this birthday, I am changing my expectations. I am.
On previous birthdays I have reflected on what I wanted to be. I set myself all kinds of milestones. I challenged myself to do more. Some I achieved but far too many became part of the overhang of what might have been. That overhang was mine alone, an unreal fiction and entirely unconstructive. Nothing more gets done because I once thought that I would have done more by now.
The last two years of working for myself has been a wonderful lesson in the importance of being & doing. I wondered what I might become when I began this process. I didn’t become anything. I am and I do. However, along the way I discovered:
- I am helping people & organisations with collaboration, leadership, learning and the future of work, because it interests me and I work at improving my capabilities & connections every day
- I am a baker because I bake whenever I can and I learn new techniques and approaches
- I am a writer because I write whenever I have something important to say and I seek to get better with feedback.
- I am enjoying a different life, because every day I am making new and better choices
- I have a sense of purpose, because the purpose is in the work
- I am happy. I just am. If I wasn’t, I would do something about it.
When other people want to hire your expertise, it is a solid reminder you are growing more every day. When people admire your baking, or your writing or some other activity, it is a reminder that those skills are growing too. If nobody else notices, then you still know you are growing. When you ask yourself what made you happy today and there is always an answer, you are happy.
What you are now doesn’t matter. It just is.
What you want to be doesn’t matter now. What matters is what you do today.
Live and work your way forward day by day. I am.