In Jon Turteltaub‘s 1993 movie Cool Runnings, John Candy’s character Irv said, “A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” That quote has stuck with me since I first heard it twenty years ago.
I grew up in a modest home and may have missed a meal here and there while I dreamed of being rich. I dreamed of big houses and fancy cars and thought that without these things I would be less of a person. For years, I felt this way and chose to work insane hours naively wearing it as a badge of honour. I gave up relationships, friendships, health, and fun. Ironically, I had thought my quest for wealth would make me happy.
I ended up achieving the things I set out to achieve but, guess what? No happiness. Instead, I was left with a graveyard of broken relationships and family ties, and I was unhealthy and depressed.
Today I am at the happiest I have ever been. I am overjoyed at who I have become, and I continually strive to be better. I work around a normal amount, stepping up when I need to and enjoying every minute with my family and friends when I’m not. I’ve reconnected with those I had lost contact with and am focused on family and personal well-being. I paint, I write, I make art, something I was drawn to do, forcing myself to let go of work. While it worked, the creativity I fostered, in turn, made me more effective at work.
I accomplished these things by first deciding I needed a change and started implementing small, daily changes. From my morning routine to continuous learning through books or courses or documentaries to simply letting go of the anxieties that used to plague me.
The work will always be there as will the challenges, the failures, and the successes, but I will be the one to CHOOSE how I respond to them. I am the one choosing to show up every day in a great mood, choosing to give others credit empowering them to build their careers, choosing to squash any negativity in and around my team and my company. Most of all I am the one choosing my health and family above all else. Stuff is fun, but without it, I am still the human I want to be.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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