40 in 40: #3
I know a few people that are living life exactly how they thought they would.
One of our clients set goals about family, career, social life, etc. in his early 20′s and has executed on those goals. His life looks pretty close to what he was looking for.
But the vast majority of people I know are not living the life they thought they would when they were younger.
Dreams didn’t come true, relationships were broken, spouses and children faced physical challenges, and more.
There are positive stories as well: pregnancies after doctors said that wouldn’t happen, unexpected windfalls in a business, children facing challenges that surpassed expectations and brought joy and delight, rocky marriages that became filled with intimacy, careers that took off after long periods of struggle.
It seems that our level of predictability in life is very low.
I was sitting next to a family member last night that was lamenting the state of our society and some of the bad things that are happening. There was certainly truth in what they were saying. But a lot of the sentiments sounded like unwillingness to be flexible in the face of situations that require change.
- Change is inevitable.
- Embracing change brings ability to influence.
- Resisting change encourages irrelevance.
- Living life more flexibly enables growth.
In my own life the last 5 years have been an exercise in learning this lesson.
- Closed a business that I owned and provided income for our family.
- Started a new business and all the challenges that go with getting that off the ground.
- Seen my oldest son off to college.
- Watched Elise’s journey from stay at home mom to therapist.
- Seen friends deal with cancer, divorce, and infertility.
- Seen others deal with great success, have relationships flourish and more.
- Allowed some friendships to “dry up” that no longer had roots.
- Grown in new friendships that I wouldn’t have seen coming.
- Worked hard at growing my own capacity to live life well.
That’s a lot of change. Most people see similar changes in their lives over time. I may be on the “higher change” side of the spectrum the last 5 years but almost everyone has to deal with these kinds of changes over their lifetimes.
Ability to see changes that are needed and be flexible in the face of those changes is the LCGF (lowest common growth factor).
As I look at who I follow one of the traits that I value the most is the ability to see challenges, make changes, and grow throughout the process.
That’s the kind of person I want to be.
In what ways have your expectations been met, fallen short, or changed in your life over the last 5 years? Are you changing and maintaining flexibility in the face of the challenges your are facing?
Keep moving forward,
p.s. The client I mentioned above has spent the last 5 years struggling through how to change for the second half of his life. He achieved what he wanted and beyond. His challenge question is “now what?”.