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What Do You Want?
It was a good ten or twelve years ago, and I was late for a meeting.
I was rushing through Coconut Grove from my office to meet with my client on the other end of town. It was a typical, beautifully warm Miami day, and I was wearing a suit and tie. So besides being stressed from being late (I HATE being late), I was also a bit too warm thanks to my brisk pace and the clothes I had on.
Coconut Grove’s downtown center has an open-air entertainment center called CocoWalk. And right there, in the center of CocoWalk, there used to be a Starbucks.
As I hurried past the Starbucks, I noticed a guy sitting outside at a table sipping his coffee. He was dressed in shorts, a t-shirt, and running shoes. His bike was leaning against the table, and he was pecking away at his laptop. He seemed about as calm and relaxed as I was stressed and harried.
As I rushed past him, I realized he had exactly what I wanted. He was dressed comfortably, he was enjoying his coffee, he was relaxed, and he was busy writing.
(Although, to be fair, I had no idea what he was doing on his laptop.)
Yes, he might have been writing the next great American novel. But he just as well might have been painstakingly filling out bankruptcy documents. Or he may have been mindlessly surfing the web. I didn’t know what he was doing. All I did know was that in my fantasy, he was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing.
And he was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing, also.
I was so taken by that scene that when I finally made it to my meeting and sat in the client’s conference room, I sketched out what I had just witnessed. That little doodle became one of my guideposts as I worked to figure out what I would do next in my life.
Two or three years later, when my business partner and I had figured out how to sell our advertising agency, and I could move on to the next chapter of my life, I continued to use that sketch to confirm if I was still doing the right things. And every so often, I’d even slide my laptop into my backpack and pedal over to a local coffee shop to sit there, work on my next book, and make sure that this new lifestyle still felt as good as when I fantasized about it back in Coconut Grove.
That little drawing is still in my office and still represents a part of what I want to do.
What Do You Want?
I’m curious to know when you’ve had the type of moment or vision that helped you figure out what you wanted to do and where you wanted to go.
How were you able to visualize it?
How were you able to act on it?
And if you did make a significant change, did the reality of your new life or your new direction square up with the vision you had that caused you to make a switch?
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a career change. It could be a change of venue, a change of personal status, a change of viewpoint, or a change of belief.
But whatever it is, I’d like to know how you identified it, acted on it, and evaluated the results as you looked to answer this question:
What do you want?