Anytime we embark on a new venture, whether it be in business, job, sport, hobby, study, relocation or relationship we have times we look back and pose the question “was it worth it?”
Question-asking is important. Questions help explore, unpack, uncover and dig deeper beyond what presents itself as obvious. Questions can be comforting “How are you coping?” Questions can be inquisitive “I was wondering…” Questions can be creative “If there was one thing you’d love to be doing…” Questions can be confronting “What were you thinking?” Questions can give voice to the mysterious “What the hell is going on here?” Questions can be asked of questions “Why is that important?”
I currently find myself asking lots of questions of myself, of how I got to be where I am, and questions of how I’m going to get myself out of where I am – for staying in these circumstances is simply not an option, not viable, not healthy and not sustainable – something has to change. (Read the first of this Beyond broken series if you haven’t already) Ah, change. There it is again. My master. My friend. My constant companion.
Self-examination is important. To use a physical example: women are encouraged to self-examine for breast cancer and men for testicular cancer. Business’ conduct audits, reviews and surveys, forums and various other tools to examine their activities and outcomes, usually against set criteria, objectives and frameworks. We can evaluate, techniques, processes, policies, procedures, personnel, decision-making and the penultimate ROI (return on investment) question “was it worth it?”
As a sports coach I am constantly evaluating, re-evaluating and looking to fine-tune input and outcomes for individuals and the team performance, even on my own performance. Improvement comes from self-examination and it’s something I have regularly taught my players to spend time in reflective contemplation. After all, games are won and lost from the mind more often than merely talent (just look at Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios, blessed with unimaginable talent yet his mind games defeat & overwhelm this talent).
Self-examination is a key to unlock our inner thoughts, emotions and values. Self-examination is also the pathway to self-awareness, discovery and enlightenment (whatever one’s faith persuasion).
Finding freedom and contentment comes from being comfortable with who we are and who we are becoming, and living an integrated life between who we are, what we do, what we have and who we share life with.
Generally speaking I like who I am; I like who I am becoming. But when it comes to an integrated life I find myself (currently…and this is critically important to note, it’s temporary!) unsettled, unfulfilled and dissatisfied. Where I am in life is not where I want to be, it doesn’t reflect my values and if left unattended it is a spiral to financial ruin and potentially more harming.
Asking questions requires vulnerability, humility, honesty and integrity. Ultimately, do I have the courage (some might say the balls) to squarely look in the mirror and see myself without flinching, distraction or filtering. Alas, there’s no snapchat mask for this! 😉 (For those interested you may life to read my blogs on removing the mask Reflections on life one two and three.
Descartes once coined the phrase “I think, therefore I am.” So…here I am. In my frailty, with my flaws, my foibles, my confidence & doubts, my knowledge & ignorance, my compassion & indifference…I am.
Was it worth putting my heart out there only to have it broken? Yes it was. It reminded me that life is found in giving and loving and I hold hope that one day I will meet someone able to give & love equally.
Was it worth taking a step into the unknown of a new business venture in the hope to build a better life for myself & those closest to me, only to have it fail and find myself financially screwed? Yes it was. I still desire like any parent to offer those I care about a better future, filled with hope, opportunity and stability. Beyond broken…life lessons from my bar fridge
Was it worth moving out of a world I once knew and was known in, a world in which I had identity, integrity and respect into a world with different values, goals and demands? Yes it was. I sat in my car after doing something I can do but holds little connection to who I am and found myself musing over the question “What on earth am I doing? This isn’t me.” Moving out of one world sometimes provides the space, the grace and place to see how important our own values and virtues are & their interplay with what we do. For me it boils down to living a life of significance. Personal benchmarking…redefining success
Risks are required to improve, to gain, to perform and to change…some might say it’s coz I’m a first-born, others coz I’m a Leo, others base it on my upbringing and others on my INTJ personality – all labels aside, I’m no maverick and I’m not reckless but the truth is playing it safe has rarely been my style & I do pose questions that push boundaries (I can see a few of those who know me having a quiet smirk here). I own my choices and contribution to be where I’m at…life is to be lived and evaluated risks are not merely a rite of passage but essential to living a life well lived. Risks reflect the reality that choices have consequences and change requires sacrifice.
There’s no doubt that I’ve learnt along the way and yes I’d do some things differently. I really (really really!) wish I wasn’t in the position I’m in, but here I am.
Was it worth it? Today I say it was.