I’ve often pondered that question not only for myself but for the people I know and especially the ones I used to work with.
What triggered this was a conversation with a friend of mine the other day. You know the kind of conversation I’m talking about, “How is your day going?” “How have you been?” “How are the kids?”, and on and on. She mentioned that she just went through an evaluation at her job and part of the standard questions were; what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? (Talk about a set-up. Who really considers themselves weak?) Anyway, she proceeds to tell her boss the usual answers, “I’m really good at this and I probably could improve at that”.
When I used to be in the workforce and I had to answer to a boss, I really didn’t care much for evaluations because where I worked it was just a formality. They served no purpose since we didn’t get any kind of raises. Anyway, I wish I had thought of this when I was in the working for someone environment because I think it’s the perfect answer to the strong and weak attributes question.
As my friend was telling me about her evaluation I mentioned that she should have responded; “My biggest strength is that I am able to put up with the crap here and my greatest weakness is that I’m still putting up with the crap here”. If you think about it isn’t that our greatest strength and our greatest weakness? And it’s not really a strength because we put up with it because we feel we have no other choice.
If you truly think about it, at most jobs we do put up with all kinds of crap just to collect a paycheck. We give away our freedom and most times our dignity just because we think that without that particular source of income, we would be financially devastated. But I don’t believe that’s true. I believe that if we follow our passion and do what we love, what turns us on; we would be so much better off.
Most recently I worked with people of various ages and I could see it in their eyes and their demeanor, the way they spoke, the words they used and how they said things; the life has been sucked out of them. They’re like zombies just going through the motions.
The majority of us have lost our dream. When you think about it, you are living someone else’s dream, that company that you work for? Do you even remember what your dream is? Have you given up because you figure the 8 to 5 job won’t get you there and you feel like you have no other choices? Why did you let them steal your dream?
I was like you, for the longest time I worked for various companies both private and public. And I bought into the lie that if I work long enough for someone else they would take care of me and I could retire on a small annuity and maybe some social security. But would I be happy?
A while back I finally decided that I didn’t want to live out my life under someone else’s thumb and retire with just enough to barely get by. It was scary for me but I finally left the 8 to 5 grind and I’m loving it. I’m doing what I’m passionate about which is helping others and at the same time creating multiple sources of income so I don’t have to rely on just one source.
I realize that doing something like this is not for everyone because it requires a lot of inner strength and staying positive all the time. And we’ve been beat down so much we feel that where we are now is the best it’s going to be. But let me just say, it is so worth it.
Looking back on my life I have many regrets; some things I should have done, some I wish I hadn’t done, certain people I wish I had treated differently and made them a bigger part of my life. But I can’t change that anymore. I have to proceed from where I’m at and I choose to be happy while I’m doing it.
Yes I will always have those “what ifs” but as long as I don’t dwell on them and make a conscious effort to be true to myself, I know that I can still live my dream.