At age forty-six, I felt washed up.
If one were to look at the objective reality… the pure facts, I was successful.
I still am.
Successful in my job, successful in my marriage, financially successful… you know… the general metrics by which most people define success.
There are plenty of people in the world who say you must define success for yourself… that success is highly individual. But those same people rarely have any practical advice on defining this nebulous concept.
You can spend time attempting to create goals. Then you can create lists of action items which you believe… when completed… will advance you towards the attainment of that goal. I’ve done plenty of that throughout my life. At the basest of levels, this strategy will work.
For a while.
It will get you from point to point.
And then… it… won’t.
A nagging buzz begins in the brain. At first, it’s a low hum that is merely annoying. Then it amplifies over time… until it is deafening. Most people who are wired in certain ways experience this multiple times in life. And most people who are wired in a certain way ignore it.
At their own peril.
Instead of getting from point to point using the same tried and tested methods, you ping pong around in a vain attempt to silence the buzz. It can drive you to the point of madness.
The buzz is an indicator that it is time to re-evaluate your definitions of success. It’s not about striving to be more. It’s not about striving to attain more. It’s not about a promotion… or a bigger house… or a new car… or some other tangible… although that might be a product of the process.
The buzz is simply a signal telling you it is time to do something different.
You may not know instantly what that particular something is. Or you might. I don’t know.
But I do know when the buzzing starts, the only thing that reduces its intensity is to begin doing something different… to begin experimenting with different systems, processes, tasks, challenges. Eventually, the buzzing subsides… and that is when I know I’m on the right track.
I fail… I learn… I move forward into success. None of this is linear.
In the song “Walk on Water,” the late Reverend Dr. John Kilzer sings…
There’s tornadoes blowing
Around in my brain…
In the past, the tornadoes would blow me all over the place. Now I stand very still… remain very quiet… and say, “Okay… I see you. I acknowledge your existence and your power. I understand you are here telling me it’s time for change. I’ll figure it out. Now stop howling… because I need to think.”
Acknowledge the existence of the tornadoes… the buzz. Then go do something different.
The path eventually reveals itself. But only after acknowledgement and then motion.