I am excited about this series of blog posts called Campbell Rambles. Someone close to me has commented about how she likes the way I ramble on when I am trying to get my thoughts straight around an idea. I’m sure many of you have done the same.

Well, I thought it time to put a ramble or two (or three) into print. These posts are not designed to be the solutions to all your problems, although there will be suggestions along the way. They are merely a collection of thoughts about a particular topic that I have been pondering. My hope is that something in these rambles will generate new thinking and new questions for you.

Disclaimer up front: They won’t be as well structured as other posts, and the grammar will be ‘less than ideal’ to quote a friend of mine. My aim will also be to keep them short so that they are easily digestible. This one will be a bit longer as I introduce the concept.

So, let’s begin.

I saw this quote the other day, and it resonated with me:

I’m sure it’s not a new quote for a lot of people but it was the first time I had seen it, and it’s been present in my thoughts for a few days now. It’s certainly changed my attitude as I go to the gym or for a walk along the beach at home. I am now curious as to what my body can achieve rather than focussing on just “getting fit” (Whatever that looks like).

I don’t know who was the original author of the quote. I’m not sure if they intended any additional meaning behind the message but, if there was some subliminal text it might look something like:

“Celebrate the life that you have. Enjoy it. Don’t beat yourself up for every little mistake.”

What do you think? Am I reading too much into it?

What if we were to apply the quote to our careers? It would then read:

“Your career should be a demonstration of what you can achieve, not something that you do because you have to.”

As I write this, I am aware that many people don’t feel in control of their careers:

  • “My boss is a control freak. I don’t have any autonomy.”
  • “I have a mortgage to pay. I just can’t go and work for myself.”

These are common objections I hear when I am talking to clients about taking control of their lives. These are the people for whom it’s about “going to work because they have to.” They don’t enjoy what they do, and they feel like slaves to the machine.

I say to my clients frequently that many things are simple but not necessarily easy. I also talk about “growing pains” – the discomfort that comes with change. If you want to “celebrate what you can achieve”, some growing pains are necessary.

There are no easy answers. Approaching the controlling boss takes courage. Quitting what you’re doing and doing what you love involves risk. That said there are some small steps to help you get started and build momentum:

  • Engage the services of a coach or seek out a mentor to discuss what your current issues are. You don’t have to make any changes at this point, but another perspective can help;
  • Do the sums on what you need to live. Ryan Holiday, author of “Ego is the Enemy” and “The Obstacle is the Way” says “If you don’t know how much you need, the default quickly becomes ‘more.'” When you know how much you need, you can make more informed decisions about what you can do;
  • Get curious about what others in your situation have done. Perhaps there are some lessons you can learn from others you can apply;
  • Think about where you want to be ten years from now. 20 years. What do you want people to be saying about you when you’re gone? What do you want your legacy to be? Then look at where you are now and figure out what the first small step is that you need to take. Remember, any small step in the right direction is a step in the right direction.

There is another quote that has just come to mind as I write this …

“Freedom is on the other side of fear.”

Get curious about what is holding you back and investigate that. You might find that there is a whole new world that opens up once you can put a name to your fear.

And then celebrate what you can do. If we want to find meaning in our lives, I think we have to get out of survival mode and reflect on what we are capable of achieving. Let’s stop punishing ourselves for the decisions we have made up to this point or the mistakes we might have made. Let’s change the mindset. Let’s show others (and ourselves) what we can do. Let’s start making decisions, that while difficult, may prove rewarding.

I’ve rambled long enough. What do you think?

I hope you enjoyed the first of these Campbell Rambles. At this stage, they won’t be a regular post. I will publish as something I feel important comes to mind. If you don’t want to miss out on them, then head to the Campbell Leadership Solutions web page and sign up as a member of the Campbell Leadership Clan.