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Life . . . By Drift or Design

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I worked with the CEO of a medical research lab who had been putting up with a verbally abusive boss for 4 years. Getting her son through college was the reason that she justified not taking different actions. There’s the HR Director who traveled internationally every month and was considered a superstar at work, year after year exceeding all the milestones, but was starting to wonder if there was more to life than an 80 hour work week with little energy or time left to tend to her own wants and needs outside of work.

You, yourself, may have been saying for some time that you’re going to finish writing that book, or start a new business, or move to a new town, or get back to exercising – but everything else takes precedent. You’ve been unhappy at your current work for a while but everyone is telling you how good you have it made so you stay. You’ve been so busy tending to kids, or to that little voice in your head insisting you work hard so you aren’t found out as an imposter, or to the demands of your boss, spouse or parents, that you’ve ignored your own health, well-being and aspirations.

Let’s face it, we all have been taken by the drift at different times in our lives. I even think the drift can be a healthy space to hang out in for a while – taking the time to more deeply listen to what wants to emerge next in your personal or professional life. It’s just that too many people don’t even know they’re in the drift, don’t know or believe there’s an alternative.

The problem with that is – and that old saying sums it up perfectly – ‘if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.’ You see, the future exists only in the present. Let me say that again in case you missed it. The future exists only in the present. If there isn’t attention on it now then you will be a product of the drift of action, not the author of them. You’ll keep getting more of the same.

So, maybe it’s worth your time to consider this important but undervalued exploration. Ask yourself: Are you living and leading, right now, by drift or by design? Are you conscious and intentional and designing the actions needed to take care of what you most care about? Or, are you too busy reacting to circumstances, events, and what other people want for and from you?

It’s not too late if you answered yes to the latter. It will take awareness, courage and some friendly support. But, in the end, who do you want to say authored your life?


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