People are a Package Deal

There have been folks in my industry that I’ve looked up to. I’ve admired them, and thought, “I’d like to be like them.” They are, or have, something that I want to be or have. Maybe it’s where they’re at in their career. Maybe it’s the respect they have from their peers. Maybe it’s their salary. But I got a wake-up call on that admiration one day.

I was in an “Ask me Anything” session with one of my heroes, and an audience member asked, “given all you do at work, and all you do for our community, especially with all the travel you do, how do you manage to do all that and still be a great parent?”

My hero paused, somewhat uncharacteristically. And then, in a quiet voice, said, “I don’t know that I am.”

The room was quiet for a while before the moderator moved on to the next question.

You see, I’d only been looking at the outside of the package: the things that are visible and obvious to anyone. I’d never considered that the exterior comes with an interior, and that the interior might be a mixed bag. It had never occurred to me what that person had scarified in order to get what they had, and I’d never considered whether I’d be okay making the same sacrifices to get to the same place.

This was a long time ago, but it’s what made me extend The Grind™ to not only include “Define Your Success,” but also to ask you to “Define Your Self.” You need to decide what the inside of the package is going to look like, because that’s you. And then you can decide if the outside of the package – your success – is capable of holding those contents. Decide. Don’t just let it happen to you. Pursuit of success without consideration of self is… well, it’s often fine, but sometimes it’s tragic, and without a decision, you won’t know which you’re headed for.