For the vast majority of my life I was asleep. Don’t get me wrong I was walking around, talking to people, going places and seemed quite awake – but I wasn’t. I was sleepwalking through my life and it was just whizzing by me like mile markers on the side of the interstate. Every day I woke up at the last minute, rushed to work and ran my business – actually worked in my business as a technician – thanks Michael E. Gerber, came home and ate dinner, sat in the same room with my wife and kids and watched TV, went to bed and passed out. Rinse and repeat for about 2 decades – Sound familiar??
Then because of an incident in my life I woke up!! I looked around me – at my family that I love so deeply, at my job disguised as a business that had sustained my family for almost 2 decades, at the few friends I had made any time for, and I “saw” them all for the first time in a very long time. My kids were growing up – my oldest in high school my youngest just arrived. My wife, as beautiful as ever, being amazing in managing our family and taking care of all of us. The great clients I had and the possibilities of where my business could go with the right attention. Basically I became aware.
Maybe most importantly I woke up and saw myself – my hopes and dreams. What was I doing with my life? Where was I going? Where did I want my life to go? What lessons was I teaching to my children? How could I help those around me live a better life? What legacy would I be leaving behind? All very deep and serious questions that every person needs to ask themselves, not just once, but many times throughout their lives. By asking these questions of ourselves and really thinking about the answers, we can live our lives awake and fully aware of what is going on around us. We can be aware of our affect on people, the value and contributions we give to their lives. It is this giving that will allow you to find the deepest riches and fulfillment in life.
It seems like the majority of people fall into this trap – the great sleepwalk – and it robs them of the opportunity to fully experience their lives. They go into zombie mode – trudging through each day – without thinking about their dreams, hopes and desires for years or decades. They do the 9 to 5 to pay the bills, come home to “deal with” their kids and spouse then go to bed dreading the next morning, when it will happen to them again. They never think of those deeper questions and how they can change their lives. A thought of these questions may cross their mind occasionally but “The Bachelor” is coming on in 10 minutes so they have to hurry to get the kids bathed and in bed so they don’t miss it!! The thought fades quickly maybe to return again some day.
If you are reading this I implore you to take some time, quiet time by yourself, and ask yourself these questions. Really examine your life, all that you have, all that you want, and all you can give. Take the quiet time when you go to sleep and reflect on your day, what you have accomplished and what you have not. Wake up just a little earlier and think about what you want out of your day and audit your life for all the things you are grateful to have. Deeply feel the love you have for your children and your spouse, it truly is the fuel that feeds your soul. Think about the things you can do today to steer your life the way you want it to go. Contemplate how you can provide something to a person around you to positively impact their lives. Fill the tank to power you through the day with drive and purpose.
By contemplating these questions over time you will become very aware of each day and everything happening around you. You will take more notice of the smile on your kid’s face when they see you or they are playing. You will pick up on the subtle indications your spouse is struggling with something and be able to provide comfort, advice or just somebody to talk to. You will find greater joy in your work or business because of more meaningful interactions with your clients, employees or coworkers. You will love more deeply, fell greater joy, find meaning and purpose – you will finally wake up to be aware of the beautiful journey you are taking through life.